Let’s get into what is warehouse management and why it even exists. In order to store your items, you’ll need a storage location. The majority of the time, this is a fulfillment center, distribution facility, or warehouse.
You can acquire real estate, lease a space, hire employees, acquire equipment, and obtain clients to buy from you; but that’s just the beginning. The most important aspect of effective warehousing is good warehouse management.
It won’t matter if your warehouse is the most up-to-date, cutting-edge facility if it isn’t in working order. You’ll be left with underperforming staff, a low profit margin, high operational and logistics expenses, ineffective leadership, and damaged customer relationships.
Inbound and outbound logistics are two of the most difficult functions of running a business, with many moving parts. Learn how warehouse operations impact supply chain management and how to maintain your company’s success.
What Is Warehouse Management?
Warehouse management refers to the oversight of operations in a warehouse. This includes receiving, tracking, and storing inventory, as well as training staff, managing shipping, workload planning, and monitoring the movement of goods.
What Is A Warehouse Management System?
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software program that helps to optimize warehouse operations. A WMS provides complete insight into real-time inventory levels and storage, staff productivity, demand forecasting, and order fulfillment processes in the warehouse by installing it.
Warehouse management systems are crucial since they eliminate manual procedures and guesswork while also streamlining activities that save time and provide a more accurate view of what’s going on inside a warehouse without the need for regular warehouse inspections.
This data aids warehouse managers in determining where things may be improved and following the progression of changes throughout the supply chain, from when goods reach the loading docks to when it is sent on its way.
Warehouse management software provides the capabilities to make strategic long-term changes as well as day-to-day monitoring tools. A picker or packer who uses the system to know what to pick or pack next on the warehouse floor will see things differently than a warehouse manager in charge of big picture improvements.
Depending on the needs of the company it serves, a warehouse management system may include different features (e.g., what a direct-to-consumer ecommerce seller requires is not the same as what a large brick and mortar store chain requires).
5 Essential Warehouse Management Processes
Supply chain management has several functions. It affects retail order fulfillment, storage, inventory management, shipment and distribution. You can now see what’s going on in the warehouse in real time across various areas such as receiving inventory, packing orders, labeling shipments, and other goods movement because to having an all-in-one solution.
1. Inventory tracking
Inventory tracking entails keeping track of stock levels so you know which SKUs you have in your warehouse and the precise locations where they are kept, as well as whether they are in transit from a manufacturer or on route to a store.
Inventory management aids in the tracking of product and enables you to calculate how many items are ready to be dispatched if a client placed an order right now, as well as when you should order more based on predicted sales.
You’ll turn over inventory more rapidly as you expand, branch out, and add new items to your line. This makes keeping track of your inventory and tracking it down even more critical.
2. Picking and packing
Picking and loading are two of the most important warehouse functions. Pick lists should be generated by a warehouse management system in the most efficient way possible for each picker to retrieve products. Zone picking, wave picking, or batch picking may all be utilized.
For each new order, the picker will receive a packing slip with the items purchased and storage locations at the warehouse. The picked products will be collected from their respective spots.
After an order is selected, it is transferred to a packer, who is in charge of safely packing the items into a box or poly mailer and adding any required packing materials.
3. Receiving and stowing
When it comes to warehousing, receiving products or freight from trucks at loading docks is only the beginning. A storage area must be able to receive and store inventory or freight received from trucks at loading docks. Each new box delivered will need to be scanned in with the inventory quantities that are available in a warehouse management system.
Then, it will be taken to a short-term or long-term inventory storage location where it will be scanned once again. Warehouse management systems should include clear instructions for each user so they know how to receive, unpack, retrieve, pick, pack, and ship products.
4. Wearhouse Management Shipping
Orders will be taken from the warehouse and sent to their next destination via one of your delivery options and shipping services. DHL, USPS, FedEx, and UPS are some examples of shipping carriers that may pick up orders from the warehouse and transport them to their final destination.
When you place an order, your warehouse management system should be able to immediately transmit ecommerce order tracking data back to your store so that your consumers may follow their orders.
Out-of-the-box operational and inventory reports should be available across the warehouse. This may include accuracy in fulfilling orders (total mis-picks, mis-packs, etc.), total orders fulfilled by the hour to assess employee efficiency, orders delivered on time, and so on.
There have been numerous stories about individuals’ operations, including inventory planning and forecasting in order to understand labor management and staffing needs. With a warehouse management tracking system, you may quickly discover which employees have completed safety training and which ones possess licenses and certifications to operate specific equipment, as well as other regulatory obligations necessary for safe storage.