How to choose the best WMS system for your warehouse

As a logistics professional, you know how challenging it is to manage a warehouse. Handling multiple products, customers, specifications, and requests. You have to ensure that the right goods are delivered at the right time and place, at the lowest cost. Simultaneously, you try to keep a stellar customer service and work according to the highest quality standards. And you have to do all this with limited resources and space. 

So, how do you tackle these challenges and improve your warehouse? One great way is by using a Warehouse Management System (WMS). 

What to consider before purchasing a WMS system?

There are many WMS solutions available in the market, but not all of them are suitable for the specific needs of your operations. To choose the right WMS for your warehouse, you need to consider several factors, such as: 

  • Warehouse size and complexity: How many products, customers, and orders do you handle? How many locations, zones, and bins do you have? How complex are your workflows and rules? 

  • Products type: What are the characteristics, dimensions, and weights of your products? How do you store, handle, and pack them? Do they have any special requirements, such as temperature, humidity, or expiration dates? 

  • Customization and integration: How flexible and adaptable is the WMS to your specific business processes and requirements? How easily can it integrate with your existing systems, such as ERP, CRM, or TMS? 

  • WMS scalability and reliability: How well can the WMS handle your current and future growth and demand? How secure and stable is the WMS and its data? 

  • Cost and return on investment: How much does the WMS cost to purchase, implement, and maintain? How long does it take to see the benefits and savings from using the WMS? 

The essential features of a WMS that you need to know

A warehouse management system helps you manage your warehouse operations. But what specific features does a WMS offer to achieve these advantages? Let's explore some of these key functionalities: 

  • Inventory management: Track and control your inventory levels, locations, and movements. It also helps you optimize your inventory replenishment, cycle counting, and stocktaking processes. Also support special inventory requirements, such as batch, lot, serial number, expiration date, or hazardous material tracking. 

  • Receiving and put-away: Manage and automate the process of receiving goods and materials from your suppliers or vendors, you assign the best storage locations and routes for your products based on various criteria, such as size, weight, type, or demand. 

  • Picking and packing: Optimize and streamline the process of picking and packing orders for your customers or clients. It also helps you reduce errors and improve accuracy by using various technologies, such as barcode scanning, RFID, voice picking, or pick-to-light. 

  • Shipping and delivery: Coordinate and execute the process of shipping and delivering orders to your customers or clients. It also helps you integrate with other systems, such as transportation management systems (TMS), carrier services, or e-commerce platforms, to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery. 

  • Reporting and analytics: Monitor and measure your warehouse performance and efficiency. You can generate and access various reports and dashboards that provide you with valuable insights and data on your inventory, operations and resources. 

How different warehouse operations require different WMS systems

Upon evaluating the crucial factor your company needs and depending on your industry, business model, and operations, you may need different types of WMS systems. Here are some examples of the best ones for different logistics operations: 
E-commerce fulfillment: If you are an online retailer or a third-party logistics provider that handles e-commerce orders, you need a WMS that can support omnichannel fulfillment, fast and accurate picking and packing, and seamless integration with online platforms and carriers. 
 Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud: A cloud-based solution that offers real-time visibility, scalability, and market reactivity. It also enables you to use advanced technologies, such as robotics and augmented reality, to enhance your productivity and customer experience. 

Logiwa WMS: A cloud-based WMS tailored to high volume fulfillment and e-commerce operations. It offers features such as inventory management, order fulfillment, shipping, returns, and integrations with various platforms and marketplaces. 
Manufacturing and distribution:
If you manage a large and diverse product portfolio, you need a WMS that can handle complex inventory management, quality control, and traceability, such as: 
SAP Extended Warehouse Management: A software solution that offers comprehensive functionality and integration with SAP ERP and other systems. It also enables you to optimize your resource utilization and material flows and to comply with industry standards and regulations. 
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management: Provides a comprehensive solution for managing the entire supply chain. It offers features such as demand forecasting, production planning, inventory management, order fulfillment, and transportation management. 
Oracle Fusion Cloud Warehouse Management: A modern and scalable solution for warehouse operations. It offers features such as inventory management, order fulfillment, inbound and outbound logistics, and warehouse automation. 
Tecsys WMS: Designed for the future of various industries, such as healthcare, retail, distribution, and manufacturing. It provides features such as advanced picking, put away, replenishment, cross-docking, labor management, and analytics. 
Aptean WMS: A WMS that helps businesses optimize their warehouse operations and increase efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction. It offers features such as barcode scanning, voice picking, RFID, slotting, kitting, and quality control. 
Infor WMS: A WMS leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to improve warehouse performance and agility. It offers features such as inventory optimization, labor management, task management, and warehouse execution system. 
Luminate Logistics: A WMS that is part of the Blue Yonder Luminate platform, which uses cloud, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to deliver end-to-end supply chain visibility and optimization. It offers features such as warehouse optimization, inventory management, labor management, and fulfillment orchestration 

Critical choices in business success

Selecting the right Warehouse Management System is a crucial decision that will significantly impact your company's operational efficiency and success. By carefully assessing your unique requirements, considering scalability, integration capabilities and user-friendliness, you can make an informed decision.  Remember, the best WMS isn't always the most expensive or feature-rich; it's the one that seamlessly integrates with your existing processes, optimizes workflows, and evolves with your business. Curious about how to efficiently train your team in using a new WMS system in a structured and user-friendly way? Explore helpful tips here.