Warehouse Management Systems 

No modern warehouse can operate in today’s always-connected environment without some manner of digital accounting of its items, reducing manual tabulation and managing the efficient packing and shipping of products.

Warehouse Management Systems 

No modern warehouse can operate in today’s always-connected environment without some manner of digital accounting of its items, reducing manual tabulation and managing the efficient packing and shipping of products.

Warehouse Digitalization: A Blueprint for Manufacturers and Distributors

In this Warehouse Digitalization eBook, we will explore:
• What Warehouse Digitalization is
• Challenges of Warehouse Digitalization
• Common technologies of Warehouse Digitalization
• Steps your organization should follow to achieve Warehouse Digitalization
• Best practices of Warehouse Digitalization
Warehouse digitalization guide PDF image 1

What Functional Areas Do the Best Warehouse Management Systems Enhance?

  • Quality inspection is done
  • Directed put away and automated transfers
  • Cross-docking
  • Optimized picking
  • Order consolidation
  • Staging and packing

WMS software vendors lead with their technology platforms and ability to configure workflow automation. Companies need applications that are both on-premise and in the cloud, and the cloud systems must have flexible workflows and remain device-agnostic. Cloud based WMS applications must be scalable enough for multi-site and large corporations, in addition to smaller companies with complex processes. 

What Are the Main Capabilities of the Best Warehouse Management Software?

  • Receiving
  • Put-Away transfers
  • Stock Locating
  • Inventory Management
  • Cycle Counting
  • Task Management
  • Interleaving
  • Wave and Dynamic Route Planning
  • Order Management
  • Allocation
  • Picking (Including Voice Picking)
  • Replenishment
  • Packing
  • Packing
  • Shipping Management
  • Labor Management
  • Customer Services
  • Automated Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) Interfaces
  • Slotting
  • Quality Control
  • Yard Management
  • Parcel Manifesting
  • Value-Added Services
  • Light Manufacturing / Kitting
  • Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Billing

How Many Types of Mobile Warehousing Solutions Are There Available In the WMS Market?

The WMS market breaks down into five types of vendors which are:

Application Mega-Suite Vendors

  • Vendors that offer broad portfolios of applications across most application categories.

SCM Suite Vendors

  • Supply Chain Management and Supply Yard Management vendors that offer a holistic warehouse and supply chain management system as a standalone system as well as with two or more applications.

Specialist WMS Suite Vendors

  • Independent software vendors that focus primarily, but not exclusively, on holistic WMS suites.

Independent WMS Component Vendors

  • Rather than a full WMS solution, these vendors specialize in standalone systems and components to supplement a full WMS solution

Material Handling Equipment / Automation Vendors

  • These vendors primarily focus on supporting the electromechanical aspects of large-scale, automated warehouses

How Do WMS Offerings Differ From Each Other?

WMS offerings continue to differ in areas such as usability, adaptability, decision support, scalability, and life cycle. Understanding the exact requirements of your warehouse based on a thorough analysis of current processes versus future needs can help organizations determine which system is right for their operations, helping to reduce operating costs. 

How Does WMS Technology Work?

Warehouse management systems exploit mobile devices along with barcodes, Bluetooth, and radio frequency identification (RFID) scanning / sensing to form the essential foundation of a full supply chain and warehouse automation solution. This enables efficiencies of warehouse operations, visibility of work activities and the delivery of accurate information in real-time.

What Are The Benefits of Warehouse Management System Software?

Warehouse management software, whether offered as a stand-alone service or as part of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or supply chain management (SCM) suite, can significantly enhance processes. For example, most WMS software will help you with:

Warehouse Management Systems 

Optimal Inventory Management

Warehouse inventory management systems provide improved part inventory management, inventory control and inventory accuracy so that when you track inventory, you operate on real-time inventory data. This enables companies to cut costs by avoiding unnecessary inventory purchases to meet customer demand.

Warehouse Management Systems 

Fewer Errors, More Efficiency

Automated WMS systems and processes prove to be very effective in reducing errors in data entry. Additionally, a well-planned warehouse management software and business process improvement plan can streamline picking and put-away, which accumulates savings over the long-term.

Warehouse Management Systems 

Greater Productivity

Optimized picking allows for staff to efficiently walk the aisles while reducing time-to-pick. Warehouse personnel are guided by technology to manage inventory and take the guessing game out of the put-away, pick, pack and ship processes.

Warehouse Management Systems 

Optimized Tasks

Many WMS vendors offer options to reduce human error and speed up common warehouse processes and operations. For example, barcoding or RFID scanning can make sorting, counting, picking, and receiving much simpler.

Warehouse Management Systems 

Less Waste

By incorporating reporting tools such as demand forecasting and vendor-managed inventories, a WMS ensures no inventory goes to waste.

Warehouse Management Systems 

Better Customer Service

One primary benefit of good warehouse management is the improved relationships between suppliers and buyers. Warehouse management software can cut down picking, packaging, and shipping times. This enables customers to receive purchases sooner and results in happier experiences throughout their overall process.

What Are the Competitive Advantages of Using Warehouse Management Software?

With seamless integration and automation of fundamental warehouse operations and supply chain operations, WMS software can give you a competitive edge over other businesses in your market. You can:

Warehouse Management Systems 

Grow Your Business

The bigger your business gets, the more there is to keep track of. With no standardized, easy-to-use tool for managing your warehouse operations, this can become a big problem. The smart choice? Purchase a scalable WMS.

Warehouse Management Systems 

Boost Productivity

By helping you analyze what works for your product and your employees through labor management, warehouse software can save your team time, which saves you money and enhances morale on the warehouse floor.

Warehouse Management Systems 

Increase Transparency

Customizable reporting tools give you a clearer and broader view of your product, helping you plan ahead to meet demands as well as reducing miscommunication between you and your supply chain and customers.

What Sizes of Business Utilize WMS?

Most top warehouse management software vendors price their warehouse software in tiered modules. Besides the option to pay a subscription fee or purchase a perpetual license you’ll need to determine which of the following categories you fall into:

Key Features of WMS

When researching warehouse management software, it’s important to know what features and functionality you can expect. 

Warehouse Design

This enables customization so that users can distribute things like workloads and bin space adequately.

Inventory Tracking

Barcoding or other scanning systems for inventory control cut down on the amount of human error involved in moving or storing products.

Receiving and Putaway

This clearly marks and records where every item is stored so you don’t waste time searching for it when picking

Warehouse Design

This functionality allows users to customize workflow and picking logic to ensure that inventory is allocated to the correct location within each facility. The WMS establishes correct bin slotting to maximize warehouse efficiency and space utilization while taking into account the variance in seasonal inventory levels.

Inventory Tracking

Most WMS offer the ability to use advanced inventory tracking systems, such as auto ID data capture (AIDC), barcode scanners or  radio frequency identification (RFID) to ensure that inventory is correctly logged and easily located when the time comes for it to move.

Receiving and Tracking Inventory Putaway

Once inventory is logged, warehouse management systems assist with tracking inventory putaway for future retrieval. More advanced warehouse management systems also offer pick-to-light (light-picking) and pick-to-voice (voice-picking) technology to aid more sophisticated warehouse environments.


Far and away the most popular feature, pick, pack, and ship has options such as zone picking, wave picking and batch picking to provide managers greater flexibility. This feature cuts down on workload by eliminating extra trips to pick products. Additionally, lot zoning and other task management and interleaving help warehouse workers reduce the number of trips necessary to complete a task.


This automatically generates labels, forms, or assembly instructions to ship along with your products. The various WMS systems can send itemized bills of lading (B/L) ahead of the shipment, generate packing lists and invoices for buyers to reconcile items shipped with items ordered, and even include assembly instructions if needed. Once items have been packed, the warehousing software can send advanced shipment notifications (ASN) to notify multiple warehouses of pending deliveries.


Reporting functionality provides a snapshot of the warehouse floor at any given moment. These dashboards are customizable to enable you to see a wide variety of data, so that you can understand the whole picture or just a part of it.


Advanced reporting features within the software can help managers analyze the key performance indicators of the operation as a whole and find areas for improvement. For example, the system can automatically analyze cycle counts, which track a different subset of inventory each day.

Improved Inventory Management and Supply Chain Visibility

Inventory can be tracked and product located to speed up supply chain visibility, helping order fulfillment and putaways among multiple warehouses while tracking expiration dates to reduce product loss, and viewing real-time stock levels via software dashboards.

Optimized Tasks and Workflows 

Through the use of workflows in top warehouse management software, systems run smoother. This is possible through barcoding hardware, item tracking, automated picking instructions, labor management and other features, resulting in happier employees, grateful suppliers, synthesized third party logistics and logistics providers, streamlined transportation management systems and providers and satisfied customers.

Reduced Waste and Error

Less time is wasted on numerous picking runs to the same bin, with less expired or lost products going to waste on the shelf, and less human error to hold up daily operations.

Happy Customers

Through customer satisfaction methods, transparent product availability and faster shipping and delivery times, your customers will develop loyal, lasting relationships.

What Questions Should I Ask WMS Vendors?

When researching warehouse management software, it’s important to know what features and functionality you can expect. 

How do you get the most out of these demos? Here’s some questions you may want to ask during the demo:

Q: Does this system offer industry-specific reporting for customer service operations?

Support for first in/first out (FIFO) or kitting would be examples of this. If the answer is no, you’ll want to follow up by asking whether or not the system can be configured to meet your market-specific needs.

Q: How is the system deployed?

In general, WMS software is available in one of two ways: through an on-premise deployment or cloud-based software. You’ll want to consider the pros and cons of both to figure out which works best for you. Consider things like pricing models (typically, a one time license fee for on-premise deployment or a subscription-based fee for cloud-based systems) and the amount of hardware and support the system requires.

Q: Can the system grow with our business?

As your company takes on more inventory management and expands operations, you’ll probably want to be able to add features to your existing warehouse software. Cloud based WMS is best for companies anticipating growth. Find out the hidden fees or challenges of a cloud based system before that time comes.

Q: How much support is included post-purchase?

Many vendors include regular maintenance in the initial purchase or subscription price (this is especially true of cloud based systems). Others require you to schedule maintenance and pay extra for those services when needed.

Q: Is this WMS compatible with our legacy systems?

Carefully consider any necessary integrations between a new system and your legacy logistics solutions, such as transportation management systems, order management and order fulfillment systems.

Q: Is your user interface easy to learn?

Training the team to use the new cloud based solution can be a tricky facet of adopting a new system, so you should ask the vendor what kind of experiences other buyers have had learning this system. Ask if the vendor offers training sessions or walkthroughs to help introduce their software to your business.

Q: What are some drawbacks I should watch out for?

While vendors have become more competitive with their pricing, there’s no avoiding the fact that a new warehouse management system will cost you a pretty penny. The good thing? You have options when it comes to choosing the best price and functionality, and the money you save after implementing your new WMS can easily make up for the cost.

Q: What are some drawbacks I should watch out for?

While vendors have become more competitive with their pricing, there’s no avoiding the fact that a new warehouse management system will cost you a pretty penny. The good thing? You have options when it comes to choosing the best price and functionality, and the money you save after implementing your new WMS can easily make up for the cost.

Keep in mind that, though a quality warehouse management system can help solve a lot of problems with supply chains and the warehouse floor, it won’t do any good if users don’t know how to take advantage of every feature it offers. Take the time to learn everything you can about a new system and then make sure your employees are thoroughly trained on how to operate it.

Ultra Consultants

When you are ready to move forward in evaluating the current best practices and latest WMS technology that can take your business to the next level of efficiency and productivity, reach out to us for a free 20-minute consultation. Leverage our decades of experience helping manufacturers and distributors to select the best solutions for their businesses. We look forward to speaking with you.


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