What is a warehouse management system (WMS)? What are the benefits and downfalls of a WMS in a warehousing operation?
Warehousing operations can be improved by warehouse management systems (WMS) which are software packages that control the movement and storage of materials within an operation. WMS control various activities such as inventory management, product receiving, and determination of storage locations, order selection processes, and order shipping. Presently, about 30 percent of warehousing facilities in the United States have installed a WMS. But there are downfalls also from the implementation of WMS. The software and implementation cost of WMS is quite high and in addition, only 40 percent of WMS installations are completed within budget, and 30 percent of the installations are considered failures. But, there are many benefits also resulting from the implementation of WMS. Data entry errors can be dramatically reduced. Other benefits are reduced operating expenses, less chance of stock outs, better inventory accuracy, and improved service to customers.