Choosing The Right WMS: Streamlining Warehouse Operations

In today’s fast-paced market place, efficiency is paramount. To enhance productivity and reduce costs in 3PL warehousing operations, many businesses turn to Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

WMS software helps ensure inventory is received, stored, picked, packed, shipped in the most efficient way possible. With all these functions occurring simultaneously across different physical locations within the warehouse, it’s easy for processes to become misaligned or data to be lost.  This is where WMS comes in.

This article delves into WMS logistics, exploring its key features and processes. Moreover, how MacMillan SCG can manage your inventory and warehousing operations in real-time using WMS integration with your systems in order to streamline business processes.

What is warehouse management system logistics?

A warehouse management system, or a WMS gives you the tools, processes, automation, and reporting you need to manage your 3PL warehousing operations.

A key component of WMS logistics is inventory management as it allows warehouse managers to accurately track and control inventory levels, ensuring the right products are available at the right time, thereby preventing stockouts and overstock situations. This real-time visibility into inventory levels enables better purchasing, storage, and order fulfillment decisions.

WMS logistics also involves order management. A WMS system automates order processing, reducing errors and delays, and enables accuracy in order picking and packing.

Warehouse space is a valuable asset, and effective space management is essential for maximizing storage capacity and operational efficiency. WMS software uses tools like slotting algorithms to determine the most suited location for each product based on demand, size, and weight. This helps in optimizing space utilization.

What are the processes that make up a WMS?

At its core, a WMS is a software system that automates and streamlines 3PL warehousing, acting as a central hub connecting various aspects of warehouse management. By leveraging real-time data and analytics, a WMS enables businesses to make informed decisions and optimize their warehouse processes.

  • Inventory management: Provides visibility into inventory systems, tracking stock levels, product location and movement.
  • Order management: Efficiently processes and fulfills customer orders, ensuring timely delivery and reducing errors while allowing order tracking.
  • Picking and packing: Optimizes the picking and packing process, suggesting optimized routes and methods to minimize labor and time.
  • Shipping and tracking: Organizing the shipping process by generating shipping labels, coordinating carrier pickups, and providing real-time tracking information to customers.

What are the Key features of a WMS?

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) offers a variety of features designed to streamline 3PL warehousing operations. Key features include:

  • Real-time data: a WMS provides an up-to-date information on inventory levels, orders and shipments
  • Barcode scanning: Utilizing barcode scanning technology, a WMS eliminates manual data entry, reduces errors, and enhances customer satisfaction.
  • RFID integration: A WMS enables automatic identification and tracking of inventory through RFID technology, increasing visibility and control over stock.
  • Automated workflows: A WMS automates repetitive tasks such as order processing and inventory replenishment, freeing up time for more strategic activities.

These key features can enhance 3PL warehousing operations. For instance, implementing a wave picking strategy, where multiple orders are picked simultaneously, can reduce travel time within the warehouse and boost productivity.

Benefit of implementing a WMS in 3PL Warehousing

A WMS can help you build an automated and cost-effective warehouse by optimizing inventory counting, cost cutting, order status and more. Let’s have a closer look at the key advantages:

More accurate inventory counts: When implemented correctly, a Warehouse Management System (WMS) provides real-time visibility into your inventory levels, improving risks of inventory shrinkage. This is achieved through barcode scanning of both incoming inventory and each unit picked for orders. The accurate visibility offered by a WMS at MacMillan SCG helps avoid stockouts by allowing you to track inventory levels accurately. Some WMS solutions also offer auto generated reminders to reorder inventory when a SKU reaches a specific threshold.

Enhanced Order Accuracy: A WMS can integrate with your e-commerce platform to ensure real-time stock updates, reducing the likelihood of customers placing orders for out-of-stock items. This enhanced accuracy in inventory management leads to higher order accuracy rates and faster movement of orders through the supply chain.

For businesses with inventory distributed across multiple warehouses or fulfillment centers, advanced WMS solutions can forward orders to the most strategic location, which can reduce shipping cost and delivery times.

More productive warehouses: Implementing a WMS software can streamline tasks and standardize processes, ensuring that operations are performed correctly the first time, reducing the need for costly rework.

Cost cutting: In the long run, a WMS delivers cost savings by:

  • Minimizing manual errors such as stowing mistakes and mispacks
  • Streamlining complex tasks with templates, reducing need of work
  • Accelerating fulfillment processing, maximizes labor productivity
  • Preventing inventory shrinkage
  • Centralizing 3PL warehousing operations into a single platform, reducing needs for various tools.

2x Shipping: Customers demand faster shipping rates; a study shows that 57% of consumers would hesitate to use a retailer again if their delivery was late. At MacMillan with integrated WMS and proven On-time-Delivery track records we provide higher customer satisfaction.

The future of WMS 

The future of WMS in 3PL warehousing is exciting with new technological advancements and evolving customer expectations which are shaping the industry. Some of the new trends include:

  1. Integration with ecommerce platforms: As ecommerce continues to grow, WMS will integrate with platforms like Shopify and Amazon to streamline order fulfilment processes.
  2. Automation and robotics: These technologies are set to revolutionize 3PL warehousing operations.
  3. Analytics and AI: Advanced analytics and artificial intelligence will enable businesses to extract value from warehouse data.
  4. IoT and real-time tracking: Internet of things will enable tracking of inventory and assets, providing unparalleled visibility and control.

How can MacMillan’s WMS help your business?

MacMillan SCG offers the best-in-class WMS helps you manage inventory in real time, reduce picking, packing, and shipping errors, and scale with ease.

Using an integrated WMS, MacMillan has achieved automated tasks such as carrier selection, label printing, and documentation, which saves time, reduces errors, and improves shipment accuracy. Integration with transportation management systems (TMS) provides an end-to-end visibility and control over the entire supply chain, from the warehouse to the customer.

MacMillan is a 3PL warehousing and fulfillment provider that allows you to outsource your operations entirely. Our 3PL warehousing utilize proprietary WMS, ensuring you have complete visibility into the status of your products stored in our warehouse. Providing scalability and robustness.

You can search orders by tracking numbers, destination country, the number of products it contains and filter by sales channel, warehouse location (Warehouse Canada), as well as get full transparency in performance such as fulfilment speed, order accuracy, error rates which are proven to be >0.1% and much more. To get more details on how MacMillan SCG can benefit your business, get in touch with us.

Key takeaways

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) logistics are essential for optimizing warehouse operations. By utilizing advanced technology and efficient processes, businesses can increase productivity, accuracy, and customer service

Traditional 3PL warehousing challenges, such as lack of visibility, are addressed with a WMS. As technology advances, the future of WMS and logistics offers greater opportunities for businesses to remain competitive in the market.

Selecting the right WMS for your business can unlock the full potential of your warehouse operations, driving efficiency and growth.

FAQs

  1. How many types of vendors are available in the WMS market?
    A dozen of vendors are available in the market, so ecommerce brands have a variety of software options when it comes to optimizing their 3pl warehousing services.
  2. What are the challenges of traditional WMS?
    Traditional warehouses face challenges, including lack of visibility, reliance on manual processes, inaccurate inventory levels, and inefficient space usage.
  3. What is WMS logistics?
    WMS logistics refers to the software and processes used to manage warehouse operations. It involves technology, strategies, and tools designed to support day-to-day warehouse operations.

MacMillan Supply Chain Group Elevate Your Logistics Experience

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Meet the Author:

Jenifer Lee

Jenifer Lee

Jennifer Lee is a prominent expert in the realm of 3PL logistics, known for her strategic acumen in forging strong partnerships, designing efficient logistics networks, and enhancing customer service in supply chain management. Her career path has taken her across various logistics domains, from e-commerce fulfillment to warehouse management systems.
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