Warehouse Management

A warehouse management system, or WMS, is a key part of the supply chain and primarily aims to control the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and process the associated transactions, including shipping, receiving, put a way and picking. The systems also direct and optimize stock put a way based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization. A WMS monitors the progress of products through the warehouse. It involves the physical warehouse infrastructure, tracking systems, and communication between product stations.

More precisely, warehouse management involves the receipt, storage and movement of goods, (normally finished goods), to intermediate storage locations or to a final customer. In the multi-echelon model for distribution, there may be multiple levels of warehouses. This includes a central warehouse, A regional warehouses (serviced by the central warehouse) and potentially a retail warehouses (serviced by the regional warehouses).

Warehouse management systems often utilize Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) technology, such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs and potentially Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to efficiently monitor the flow of products. Once data has been collected, there is either a batch synchronization with, or a real-time wireless transmission to a central database. The database can then provide useful reports about the status of goods in the warehouse.

Warehouse design and process design within the warehouse (e.g. Wave Picking) is also part of warehouse management. Warehouse management is part of Logistics and SCM.


Objective

The objective of a warehouse management system is to provide a set of computerized procedures to manage in order to optimize cost and fulfillment times.

This includes

  • The receipt of stock and returns into a warehouse facility,
  • Modeling and managing the logical representation of the physical storage facilities (e.g. racking etc.)
  • Enable a seamless link to order processing and logistics management in order to pick, pack and ship product out of the facility