A modern competitive environment requires that businesses redesign their strategies and approaches for delivering the desired results to sustain and grow in any industry. What’s more, if you are in the e-commerce business, modern software solutions help you to keep your operations running smoothly and efficiently. That’s why the warehouse management system is a necessary solution for your business in the retail industry. Not only does it help you to reduce human errors and increase productivity, but also you can handle a variety of warehouse operations such as inventory receiving and management, labor and supply chain management, and others.
What exactly is a warehouse management system?
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution specifically designed to help you in supporting the daily operations in your business - inventory putaway, picking, and packing support, inventory replenishment, etc. In addition to that, it allows you to deliver better services for your customers by knowing exactly where every product is, when to re-order, or how much to produce. This makes running your business both efficiently and easily.
Types of warehouse management systems
Here we are going to explore the four major types of WMS solutions that help you to determine which type will work best for your business. Let’s keep reading!
- Standalone warehouse management systems: a typical on-premise system deployed on the native hardware and business network.
- Supply chain modules: this type focuses on automating tasks like inventory management, material sourcing, and product cycles; it requires investing in supply chain planning apps that offer warehousing features.
- Integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems: this type includes warehouse management features and offers other ERP functions.
- Cloud-based warehouse management systems: this type is hosted on a segregated/private server, offers higher data security advantages for companies that handle higher-value inventory.
What’s the idea?
Having a vast experience, we, at DDI Development, build and implement a great number of customizable solutions for various business verticals - logistics, e-commerce, recruiting, CRM, e-learning, fintech, etc. That’s why a founder of the retail company came to us with an idea to create a warehouse management system that would help him to control and handle day-to-day inventory, shipping, sorting, and storing warehouse operations. We agreed that the system would include the following features:
- inventory management;
- picking processes and auditing;
- order fulfillment;
- tracking capability;
- backups and integration;
- analytics and reporting, etc.
Having that in mind, we have developed a concept of the warehouse management software that would help to control and monitor warehouse operations, move goods safely, quickly and cost-efficiently and enable the company to operate at the highest levels of efficiency and productivity. Sounds impressive, right? So, let’s find out more details below!
User Roles in WMS
Below we have provided the user customization and their privileges within the warehouse management system that grants access to the features and functionality. There are two user roles - Manager and Administrator. Let’s consider them in details below:
- A manager is a person who has basic permissions and is responsible for creating and sending invoices, scheduling pickups, viewing basic item details, status, statistics, and transaction history; creating, updating or deleting items, etc.
- An administrator is able to perform all operations and manage every aspect of the warehouse management system and has visibility to all features and functionality. Additionally, this person can create or delete users.
Project structure of the warehouse management system
Below you can see the structure of the project and technologies you could apply for development.
This is the home page and the first thing managers see when logging into their accounts. It gives them a clear picture of the workflow. As a Manager, you will find the following options presented in the main menu:
Below you can find more detailed information about each feature. Let’s keep reading!
With that feature, you can find all the detailed information about the customers you deal with. All the information such as name, e-mail, phone numbers, billing and shipping addresses, website information, etc. is saved within warehousing management system so that you can create transactions quickly and do business efficiently. Not only can you send emails and view information about the customer, but also you can easily create sales transactions for the customer. In the page, you can find a table with the following information:
- Full name
By clicking on the field, the information with the following tabs will be displayed:
- General overview
This feature can be easily accessed by clicking on the Items option in your main menu. As you may understand items are considered as the products that you are selling or services you are delivering to the clients and that can be purchased from the vendors in the business. Not only can you view and operate all the items, but also you can analyze them in your WMS solution. In a well-structured table you can find the following information:
- Product code
- Product name
- Special instructions
- Status (in progress, completed)
You can create a new item and enter all the required information by clicking on the Add button on top of the Items page.
You can easily access this feature from the corresponding option in your main menu. In this page, all the detailed information about the sales process - quantity, price and delivery is presented in the table with the following columns:
- Order number
- Customer name
- Status (Draft, Confirmed, Closed, Void, On Hold)
On top of the Order list page, you will find the Add order button that allows you to create a new order and enter important details.
The Packages option can be reached from the corresponding option in your main menu. With that feature, you can choose the customer’s order you want to be shipped and assign package slip numbers to the items. All the information is presented in the table with the following columns:
- Status (not shipped, shipped, delivered)
On the top of the page you can find the Add package button and a filter that allows you to sort packages in terms of the status you need.
The Invoices option can be reached from the corresponding option in your main menu. This option allows you to provide all the information about the sale that includes units of goods, price, shipping details, etc. In the table you can see the following columns:
- Status (sent, paid, overdue, refunded)
By clicking on the user’s name, an invoice with all the information about purchase will be displayed. Also, you can add a new invoice with the Add Invoice button on the top.
You can find the Integration page in your main menu. With that feature, you can connect multiple separate components such as payment gateways, shipping carriers, etc. that will work as one system. Not only does it help you to better analyze business processes, but it enables you to boost up the productivity and improve the workflow of your company. On the top of the page you can find the Add button that allows you to add new integrations.
You can find the Reports page directly in your main menu. With that feature, not only can you professionally optimize your business processes within the company, but also it enabled you to reduce expenses and manage risk. Only by identifying the most profitable item and monitoring purchases and sales, you can make informed data-driven decisions and meet with success.
This feature keeps all users of the warehousing management system up-to-date. Moreover, users can set how they would like to receive notifications and alerts within the warehousing management system. Not only does it help them to be more aware of the news happening in the WMS, but also they will be notified about changes such as shipping, inventory, invoice status, back orders, etc.
This is the home page and the first thing an administrator sees when logging into the account and has a clear picture of how well the company runs - top-selling items, sales and stock summary, recent invoices, the number of orders shipped, etc. An Administrator can access different and important areas of the warehousing management system such as:
Now we’re going to provide an overview of the Settings feature that is not presented in the Manager Dashboard.
This feature can be found in the main menu of the Administrator. On the Settings page, you’ll see the following widgets:
- Inventory Adjustment
- Company Profile
By clicking the Users widget you will be redirected to the Users page. Here you can make some changes such as:
- Buy more users
- Add a new user
- Set up the maximum number of users
By clicking the Company Profile widget you will be redirected to the page where you can edit all the information about your company:
- Company ID
- Company name
- Number of users
- Company billing address
- Company shipping address
In addition to that, you can select a logo for your company and upload it.
Key features of warehouse management systems
Here we have provided some mission-critical features that you will likely consider:
- Bulk, pre-pack, and break-pack: this feature allows you to control your inventory within a system. Not only can you pack and kit goods when they come to you in bulk, but also you can break down packs if there is a need to complete an order.
- Carrier integration: this feature brings the shipping data and fulfillment processes together that speeds up the process of automatical booking, printing shipping labels and managing the tracking numbers.
- Cycle and physical counting: with that feature, you can automate your inventory counting and make it more effective by eliminating manual human errors.
- Directed putaway: this feature supports smart putaway of inventory and allows you to stock goods received based on volume, open locations, product size, and weight, segregation of hazardous materials and other parameters.
- eCommerce integration: this feature allows you to integrate your online carts and order creation features.
- Mobile device support: support a variety of devices all inputting at once. Quick, reliable barcode scanning for in and out of the warehouse is a must.
- Multiple-location support: this feature allows you to provide support for multiple warehouse locations so that orders from different locations will be filled.
- Order consolidation: allows you to bring together all the merchandise of an online order with multiple products into one single shippable package.
- Labeling: this feature allows your suppliers to print their own barcoded labels for shipments received as well as ensures compliance with various labeling standards and requirements.
- EDI support: this type of data usage allows computers/tools to share information that means supporting more order, payment, analytics, and business process optimization tools.
- Real-time data: allows you to best allocate inventory, workforce, and other assets to respond to your business needs.
- Receiving and returns: this feature allows you to plan and simplify the process of receiving and returns by rescanning and putting them back into the inventory.
- Wave picking and distribution: with that feature, the pattern of movement goes in a snake-like pattern that allows you to pick multiple orders at once.
Benefits of warehouse management software
Now, you are aware of the key features and functionality of the WMS solution. But what about the benefits? Here you can reveal the main benefits of warehouse management systems that you can experience when implementing.
- Faster inventory turnover: by improving record accuracy and cutting down inventory movement from receiving to shipping, a WMS solution can help you to decrease lead times and reduce the need for safety stock.
- Tracking: you can easily track every item or parcel in your inventory with serial numbers.
- Real-time synced inventory updates: you can ensure that all your sales channels are up-to-date due to real-time inventory management and automatic updates. Not only does it help you to minimize the risk of overselling, but it also avoids needless data entry.
- Manage orders: you can easily create purchase orders, backorders and drop shipments and handle them faster and more efficiently.
- Improved labor productivity: with WMS solution, you can decrease the number of issues related to outdated or manual processes and improve staff motivation.
- Increase sales: by integrating Amazon, eBay, Shopify or Etsy, accounts you can start selling your merchandise and boost sales.
- Data-driven decisions: you can identify potential inventory issues and make important decisions based on real-time data.
Bottom line: Are you empowered with the warehouse management system?
Undoubtedly, an effective warehouse management system presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the retail company. Not only can you enhance real-time inventory visibility and reduce significant cost, but also you can improve company performance, manage risks and gain better efficiency. Just consider what options are important for your business and best fit for your company. We, at DDI Development, have a vast experience in delivering a variety of solutions and can help you to develop and implement any solutions based on your unique requirements.