One of the core components of a manufacturing business is the use of warehouse facilities. This place is where completed goods, including parts and whole items, are stocked until they are shipped. While businesses are moving more towards engineered orders that mean products are directly shipped after they are finished, there is still a need to have stockpiles of certain products. This is especially the case for finished goods, in that parts for certain products may need to be kept in stock in case a customer calls and says that something is wrong with the item they purchased. With this in mind, it is essential to have warehouse management systems in place, especially if a factory has an ERP system function in some capacity such as a Dynamics NAV or Navision solution.
Moving and storing
A warehouse management system, as defined by TechTarget, is a management system designed specifically for the placement and accounting of materials and goods in a warehouse. That includes where they are stored and moved as part of an ordering process. The use of a WMS includes directing where items go in a warehouse, whether they are to be shipped or sent elsewhere as part of an inventory restock. The method of tracking this information is usually through automatic data capture by giving goods and parts barcodes that can be scanned to track and confirm their location from within a warehouse.
The process is managed through an ERP system, which sends out orders automatically when they are received through another part of the solution, either as a customer transaction or a completed production of a specific item. This transaction data is then sent back through the ERP system to accounting, which can then record the information in specific reports to confirm work done for a specific day.
Keeping an eye on things
There are many obvious benefits from using a WMS in manufacturing, the most obvious of which was streamlining the process of moving items in, out and around the warehouse. This reduces redundancies that occur with inventory, which cuts down on labor costs and increases customer satisfaction by guaranteeing the location of certain materials. In addition, there is an increase in accuracy when it comes to locating actual products in the warehouse and placing them in the right location. This means that orders won’t go missing, get shipped to the wrong people or take a lot of time to deliver.
Other benefits apply when using a WMS in ERP. Logistics firm Food Logistics explains that items are far more traceable, and thus unlikely to get lost when goods get moved around in a warehouse setting, as they often do. More importantly, it allows manufacturers to better organize the products and parts on hand in a specific order and method. This can reduce the space used in the warehouse, bringing down holding costs and giving companies the chance to stock more items if and when it’s necessary. Finally, the automatic reporting done through an ERP solution mitigates the paperwork required for every order, since the data will be stored in the system.