The decision to implement a warehouse management system can be driven by one or more operational needs. Some of these include:
- Inventory accuracy
- Receiving accuracy or efficiency
- Picking accuracy of efficiency
- Reliance on seasonal help
- Reduction in safety stock
- Lot or date code tracking
In all cases, the need to understand what the return on investment or goals are for the warehouse management system is central to making the correct decision.
We have seen more than once a single problem manifesting itself thought many warehouse operations. It might be prudent to simply address the primarily issue before rolling out an entire warehouse management system. Often it is possible to implement portions of an inventory control solution in phases addressing the most critical need(s) first.
A easy example of this would be an inaccurate or inefficient receiving process. Mistakes or inefficiencies made during the receiving process make it more difficult for every operation that follows.
Correct identification, labeling and locating of inbound receipts is the first step in improving overall operations in the warehouse. This might dictate implementing an automated receiving process or first implementing receiving as part of a warehouse management system rollout.
The same argument could be made for problems with order fulfillment. If that is the primary pain point, focus on improving the accuracy and efficiency of order fulfillment. Consider implementing an automated order fulfillment processes with directed picking and real time validation.