Just as important as it is to ask if your company needs a WMS is the necessity to discern what WMS Software options even exist. Not all warehouse operations benefit equally from a WMS but that is not to automatically conclude that there might not be certain functionalities that your company could benefit from. It used to be that buying a WMS software package meant purchasing the software but also the hardware. This involved IT consultants to plan, implement, install, test and operate a new system. It also implied ongoing upkeep and upgrades for the system.
Under the above depiction, a company answer could be no, even with partial benefits being calculated in the mix. Yet, with the advent of online web-based browser delivery systems as an option, that no could easily turn into yes. Since the creation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), WMS software has become far more affordable, reduced to a fraction of the cost of stand-alone WMS programs.
Common claims for WMS programs include inventory reduction, labor cost savings, increased storage capacity, increased accuracy and better customer service. In truth, much of these claims hold solidly. Accuracy, labor reduction and management and customer service in the form of cycle time reductions are easily accomplished with WMS software. Lot sizing, lead times and demand variables, however, may not be as dramatically impacted.
Besides gains in labor efficiencies are the projected enhanced services you can provide your customers with a WMS and, in particular, a web-based WMS SaaS program such as that of 3PL Centrals subscription based option.
Online programs offer levels of sophisticated functionalities that are far less costly because the pricing is spread across multiple users. This allows for enhanced service benefits like first-in-first-out, cross-docking, automated pick replenishment, lot tracking, automated data collection, automated material equipment and yard management, all of which would be far more costly if buying a stand-alone WMS.
In addition, since SaaS is delivered as a scalable service, a company only pays for what they need. This allows a warehouse to provide highly sophisticated inventory management tools and logistics service without having to purchase hardware, IT expertise or upgrades because its all folded into the service itself. Greater or lesser functionality can be implemented as your company needs it without long term contracts. Business expansion and contraction cycles can be managed without debt burden.
Basic WMS software delivered as SaaS manages things like location sequencing, zone logic, random or fixed locations, reserved, nearest locations and the like. Further, SaaS provides automated data collection (ADC) and real time information through electronic data interchange (EDI), all of which ensures greater accuracy and transparency when delivered through online deliveries.
Finally, additional functionality of invoicing and accounting functions built into the WMS software ensures that all relevant billable events are captured when they occur. Plus, all relevant users can see information and data in real time, including tracking shipments, etc.
In short, knowing what WMS software options are available will assist your company in determining whether you can benefit from a WMS program.
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