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3 Types of Warehouse Management Systems You Should Consider

December 19, 2022 | Staffing Blog

Managing a warehouse is all about the details. Thanks to the different types of warehouse management systems (WMS) on the market, you can easily access critical features to help run a successful operation.

The key is selecting the right warehouse management system – or systems – that increase efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Finding software that fits your current operating state will help with critical elements such as inventory tracking, order fulfillment, and inventory control.

Which Warehouse Management Systems Are Right For Your Company?

Consider the following types of WMS to deploy and how to maximize their use. This way, you will realize the most benefit from the warehouse technology available to your company.

1. Standalone Warehouse Management Systems

A standalone warehouse management system is a specialized software system designed to manage the supply chain, inventory control, and other aspects of the logistics process.

While there are different standalone warehouse management systems on the market, each works on the same general principle. They rely on the fundamental concepts of warehouse operation and inventory management to maximize productivity within your warehouse.

Using a standalone WMS is a good idea if the warehouse you’re managing is relatively new. The main reason why is the relatively low cost associated with setting up one of these standalone systems.

Additionally, when you’re ready to upgrade your WMS, most standalone systems allow you to easily integrate your existing data into the new system you’re putting into place.

While standalone warehouse management systems are one of the most cost-effective types of warehouse management, they are not always the most efficient option. Since these systems rely on other software programs to run the warehouse, choosing a more intricate system from the beginning can be tempting.

Another concern is that some standalone systems do not provide real-time information, which many warehouse operations managers want when installing a system in their warehouse. Your decision regarding whether or not to use a standalone system should involve an evaluation of the following factors:

  • The maturity of your warehouse operations.
  • The number of clients that you support.
  • The types of orders you handle.
  • The size of your warehouse workforce.

2. Supply Chain or ERP Module Systems

A supply chain module, also referred to as an EPR system or an ERP module system, is an integrated system that allows you to have greater control of the different aspects of your warehouse’s operations. These ERP systems focus on warehouse operations as part of a larger system.

A supply chain module is an excellent investment if your warehouse relies on a complex supply chain. This type of warehouse management system will help you manage your part of a diverse, global supply chain.

For instance, if you manage a warehouse that relies on moving goods from multiple distributors worldwide to different locations, you will probably want to choose this type of warehouse management system.

You can also use a WMS module within a larger ERP to create greater control in cycle counting, inventory management, and workflow.

3. Cloud-Based WMS

A cloud-based WMS relies on a detailed user interface that allows warehouse data to be accessed from any device that is connected to the warehouse’s cloud. A group of external servers is used to gather and store data, and that data is then accessed by anyone in management, regardless of their location.

Obviously, this isn’t the type of software you need if you manage an upstart warehouse that gets all its product from one or two suppliers. However, having cloud-based technology is a great idea if you manage a warehouse with multiple locations and rely on a worldwide network of vendors and suppliers.

Not only are cloud-based WMS systems secure and accessible on multiple devices, but they also provide real-time updates about every aspect of the supply chain.

For instance, when you integrate the technology that your staff uses during the picking process into a cloud-based system, you are able to monitor where every order is in the order fulfillment process. You can also track inventory at each point in the supply chain, monitor productivity, and much more.

Why You Need the Right Systems in Place

Having the right mix of warehouse management systems in place is one of the most important aspects of warehouse management. Most successful warehouse managers realize that having multiple types of systems in place is the best way to ensure that everything is moving along as smoothly as possible.

While it’s easy to assume that you need access to the biggest, fastest, most advanced type of software, that’s not always the case. As we’ve already established, standalone warehouse management systems are great for tracking certain aspects of the supply chain.

For instance, a standalone inventory management system can provide you with the necessary order details:

  • Where products are located.
  • The number of products included in an order.
  • How many products you will need to distribute within the next 30/60/90 days. 

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to have multiple systems in place while growing your warehouse. If you are in the early stages of setting up your warehouse, a complete cloud-based system may not be the best choice for you, as they are expensive to purchase and set up.

The better option is to slowly integrate more advanced systems into your warehouse while relying on more affordable, practical options during the earliest phases.

Even when you’ve grown your warehouse to a larger, more successful level, it’s a good idea to utilize different types of systems that offer the features you need. For example, you’ll want to utilize a software system that supports employee productivity tracking to ensure that your people are performing at a high level to support the warehouse.

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Warehouse Workers?

Allegiance Staffing can help improve the productivity of your warehouse workforce. We’ll analyze your current operating reality, review your current use of warehouse management systems, and identify opportunities to fill important roles in the warehouse.

We provide more than high-quality workers for the warehouse; we offer holistic solutions that fit the needs of each company we support.

Contact Allegiance Staffing today to discuss the opportunity to improve warehouse efficiency and productivity. We understand that having the right processes, systems, and people in place can take your warehouse to the next level.