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WMS: basic concepts of warehouse management systems

Current times require that in an industry the processes are optimized in each of the aspects and processes. It is the only possible way for a company to be profitable in such a competitive market. Thus, modern warehouses experience a greater demand in the supply of products at a good price to a market that expects rapid management from order to delivery. Therefore, in order to compete, warehouse management is required in accordance with the times.

The two main keys in a current supply chain are the immediate availability of the products and that the cost of the same is competitive. Fortunately, the best warehouse management systems take care of both aspects and are designed to integrate all functions into the operation of a warehouse.

What is a warehouse management system

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is nothing more than a software application that supports and optimizes warehouse and distribution center operations through automated management functions. Facilitates daily planning and control of warehouse resources to transport and store each part of an inventory process.

A WMS organizes inventory processes in a way that is beyond the reach of traditional manual systems. A data-driven system optimizes product management in real time and with high precision. In addition, all types of warehouse management systems fulfill the following two tasks.


These are processes that have to do with the movement of products. Intralogistics in warehouse management involves all tasks from receipt to shipment. A proper warehouse management system takes into account all inventory, whether moving or stationary. All logistics information related to warehouse operations is stored, monitored and managed within an integrated software application.


This task involves the internal management of a warehouse facility, such as inventory identification through individual stock keeping units and barcode identification. Likewise, interlogistics also takes into account the efficiency of workers and equipment.

In medium to large scale warehouse operations, maximum efficiency cannot be achieved without a software-based management system. Similarly, the benefits of a WMS convert efficiency into profitability. Today there is no doubt that a WMS improves warehouse operations at all levels. This includes activities such as ordering, receiving, storing or saving, replenishing, sorting, order picking, packing and shipping. A proper warehouse management system significantly improves operational functions and optimizes the bottom line.

Why a WMS

A data-driven software application efficiently replaces warehouse managers’ logistics surveillance and informs them in real-time of what is happening anywhere within the facility and throughout the supply chain. It replaces human management, which of course is prone to errors, managing repetitive and reliable information.

But the advantages of a warehouse management system go beyond providing real-time information. A WMS also tracks and delivers historical information, which can help managers predict future needs that may arise. This database allows inventory management so that current needs are always met and customer service is optimized.

Regardless of the type or size of the WMS, the system must meet business needs. That includes future operations where limited warehouse management systems could impede growth management. The WMS must be integrated with the processes. Part of a concept of the WMS is the integration with the plant ERP system, this integration will be responsible for linking the ERP business processes directly with the warehouse management.

The ERP and its plant model is a key part of selecting and implementing a warehouse management system. It is just as important to fully analyze the big picture of a warehouse as it is to integrate an WMS with frontline operations. Most EMS software vendors include ERP support as part of their package. This consulting service is a fundamental part of acquiring any type of warehouse management system.

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How a WMS works

Regardless of whether the internal workings of a warehouse management system are more or less complex, all WMS offer an essential service. They are able to create a central database that returns useful information about the installation. Key data includes vital information about inventory flow processes.

WMS works by informing facility operators with crucial data on best practices in receiving and shipping products, as well as making the most of the available space in the building. The SGA software also works by dividing this information into the following separate inventory flow processes.

Receiving and shipping

Effective warehouse management systems track and record all aspects of receiving and shipping products. WMS applications do this by managing data points linked to product identifiers such as SKUs, barcodes, or radio frequency identifiers (RFID). A management system continuously knows when goods arrive and when they are destined for delivery.

Stock storage

An WMS controls exactly what products are in a warehouse inventory and where they are located. It is information that takes place in real time and the system works by monitoring storage conditions, including current capacity. WMS software alerts workers when capacity increases or decreases. A fully integrated SGA will automatically compensate for fluctuations in overstock or understock.

Handling and order picking

A well-functioning warehouse management system is an irreplaceable tool for preparing and handling inventory items. Advanced SGA software works on demand to plan handling and preparation tasks that enable workers to achieve the highest efficiency. An effective WMS works across all processes in the facility, including warehousing, production orders, internal movement, outbound activities, and replenishment requests.

WMS also operate on the principle of best practice. This means that the software recognizes and recommends the most efficient and effective way to manage inventory. Within the definition of best practices, efficient means using the least amount of effort and effective refers to obtaining the best result or way of performing a task. For the facility worker, a WMS works by providing results faster, easier, and cheaper.