Warehouse Management Systems: The Costs Vs. The Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Warehouse Management Systems:


Warehouse Management Systems enhance all warehouse operations through advanced technology and operating processes ("Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)," 2004). It combines computer hardware, computer software and external equipment with new operating practices in order to manage inventory, space, labor and equipment in warehouses and distribution centers ("Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)," 2004). This paper will take a look at how a WMS works, as well as the challenges and advantages to having one.

A WMS should at least help the warehouse employees perform their daily duties, but they can also be advanced enough to replace the employees all together (Muehlbauer, 2011). Regardless of how advanced it is, every WMS utilizes at least two key elements -- portable computer terminals and barcodes. The portable computer terminals help the warehouse employees track the work that they perform in real time (Muehlbauer, 2011). The use of barcodes reduces the amount of information that the employees need to enter into their portable computer terminals (Muehlbauer, 2011). The system uses a mix of item, location, quantity, units of measure and order information in order to figure out where everything needs to be stocked, where it needs to be picked from and in what order everything should be done in (Piasecki, 2011).

At the most basic level the Warehouse Management Systems are used to keep track of employee activities (Muehlbauer, 2011). It can receive inventory; locate inventory; help with inventory allocation; pick inventory to satisfy sales, transfer, kitting or production orders; replenish inventory; confirm shipping; help with cycle counting and physical inventory; as well as help with moving around inventory and keeping track of inventory gains and losses (Muehlbauer, 2011). One facility that has a more advanced WMS is a spare parts distribution facility for Toyota in the United Kingdom. The WMS there makes a tag label which tells details of the part as well as where it is located (Anonymous, 2002). The program also creates the documents needed for the shipping of every part, which may include notes of advice and dispatch details (Anonymous, 2002).

The programs for the Warehouse Management Systems can do a lot, but that does not mean that they are in any way easy to deal with or easy to pay for. Warehouse Management Systems are also big and complex, not to mention they require a lot of data so the initial set up takes quite a bit of time and it can be very extensive (Piasecki, 2011). The attributes of each product and location must be recorded, as well as where the product may fit and how many of that product will fit in that location -- data which needs to be constantly updated (Piasecki, 2011). The Warehouse Management Systems also…

Sources Used in Document:


Anonymous. (2002). "WMS drives efficient parts distribution." Modern Materials Handling. 57:12, 55.

Eclipse Systems Pvt. Ltd. (2004) "Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)" Retrieved November 13, 2011 from www.bestwms.com/about_wms.htm .

Muehlbauer, Bill. Distribution Strategies. "What is a Warehouse Management System?"

Retrieved November 13, 2011 from www.distributionstrategies.net/uploads/What_is_a_WMS.pdf .

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