What is a Warehouse Management System & Does Your Business Need One?

For companies who manage their supply chain through distribution warehouses, effective stock management is of paramount importance as this ensures the continued success of the business.
For businesses that deal with large stock volumes, it is vital to have a firm grasp on what stock is being moved, and where it is being moved to.

To do this, many businesses employ a warehouse management system (WMS).

What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

A warehouse management system is an application or software product that helps warehouse operators control and track stock levels, orders and deliveries within a warehouse environment.

As technology has evolved, the process of warehouse management has become drastically easier than it once was, with processes moving away from traditional pen and paper to advanced software offerings.

By automating many of the tasks associated with managing a warehouse, such as tracking stock levels, generating picking lists and vehicle loading, a WMS can help a business improve its overall efficiency and productivity – and all without the risk of human error.

What are the benefits of a Warehouse Management System?

Employing a WMS to manage stock levels is both efficient and reliable. Warehouse management systems now have the ability to use lot, batch and serial numbers as a way of keeping track of stock. This means data can be quickly matched to incoming and outgoing shipments, ensuring stock levels are always accurate.

As well as increased stock traceability, warehouse management systems also boast many other advantages.

Here are 3 further benefits your business could see by employing a WMS:

1. Optimised warehouse space

Warehouse management systems optimise warehouse flow by analysing and reporting on the best use of your available floor space. This provides opportunities for reducing waste – less wasted space and less time wasted locating products. This will also lessen the costs that come from excessive material movement.

By considering the best locations to store products, as well as materials and other equipment, your warehouse will be able to lower its operating expenses.

2. Data-driven planning

Using a WMS provides warehouse staff with an insight into other parts of a business, such as sales and customer service departments.

If your business is focused on quick order fulfilment, a WMS will help your staff more accurately anticipate the demand of certain products based on their sales performance and make decisions accordingly.

3. Heightened employee productivity

By considering workers’ skill levels, their location within the warehouse, and the equipment they have available, a WMS can better assign tasks to the right people at the right time.

Optimisation of travel time within the warehouse is one of the greatest benefits that a warehouse management system can provide to improve labour utilisation.

WMS applications also have the ability to focus labour on the highest impact activities, while finding the most well-suited employee to perform a specific task. Using labour forecasting, warehouse management systems can assign jobs on a day-to-day basis and efficiently design employee schedules. 

What type of warehouse management system should you choose?

When it comes to warehouse management systems, there are several options you can choose from for your business.

1. Standalone WMS

Standalone warehouse management systems provide specific features that enable the efficient day-to-day running of warehouse sites. Businesses use these systems to monitor and control supply chain flow from when goods arrive to when goods leave the warehouse.

Standalone WMS capabilities vary from vendor to vendor, but they typically include stock management and operational features – the 2 main needs for a WMS.

Compared with a WMS that's integrated with a supply chain management system or an ERP system, a standalone WMS can sometimes lack key integration benefits - although standalone systems are usually cheaper to implement due to their relative simplicity.

Standalone warehouse management systems work particularly well for companies that don't manufacture their own goods, such as ecommerce resellers or distribution facilities.

2. WMS module within an ERP system

A WMS module as part of a larger ERP system is another option for warehouse operation automation. Most ERP systems have some sort of warehouse management capability or module.

At Onesys we offer the Sicon Barcoding & Warehousing and module as an add-on for Sage 200 users.

The Sicon Barcoding & Warehousing module helps to streamline areas of a business where stock management, customer orders, stock visibility and warehouse replenishment are involved. This helps to create a seamless and agile process for companies looking for an efficient WMS. 

3. WMS module in supply chain management software 

An integrated supply chain management software system manages all the activities required to create and deliver a product - including stock management, transportation and logistics. A WMS module focuses on the warehouse operations as part of the larger system.

A warehouse management module in supply chain software is generally not as full featured as a standalone WMS, but will integrate with other areas of a business better thanks to the supply chain software already in place.

A WMS module in supply chain management software is best suited to companies that have complex supply chains and are doing some level of manufacturing or final assembly themselves.

Contact us

If you’d like to know more about warehouse management systems, the modules we have an offer, or which WMS would suit your business best, please call us on 01423 330335, or email our team at We’d be happy to help!

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