Warehouse Management Software Development: A Start to Finish Guide
To efficiently manage and control the movement of goods in the warehouse, a reliable warehouse management software solution is a must for businesses today. It can be used as standalone software or as part of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Building such software often seems pretty daunting for businesses as it involves multiple processes and elements.
But, don’t worry, we’ve made warehouse management software development simple with this step-by-step guide, so let’s get started:
What is Warehouse Management System?
A warehouse management system is a comprehensive solution that assists you in optimizing daily warehouse operations - from item picking, packing, dispatch to inventory replenishment, and more. You can deliver better customer services while maintaining proper inventory control with WMS in place.
Types of Warehouse Management Software
Standalone Warehouse Management System: This is traditional enterprise software that’s deployed on-premise on native hardware and network infrastructure. The deployment and maintenance cost is high for such systems.
ERP-integrated Warehouse Management System: Such software offers warehouses management and other ERP features for optimizing entire business processes and workflow.
Cloud-based Warehouse Management System: Cloud-based apps and software for warehouse management are best as they provide remote control, better security, and data management while being cost-effective.
Supply-chain focused WMS System: Such WMS systems primarily focus on optimizing inventory processes, product cycles, and material sourcing for better supply chain management.
Essential Features of Warehouse Management Software (WMS)
Order Management: Optimizing orders and fulfillment is one of the key tasks of WMS. It also assists in ordering high-demand products or parts at the warehouse. It can also integrate with robotics, AI, and machine learning systems to increase efficiency and speed in inventory operations.
Tracking & Analysis: This feature lets you track warehouse items in real-time for maintaining inventory levels and fulfilling demands. Business intelligence integration capabilities of WMS also lets you identify improvement areas.
Integrations And Backups: WMS also offers API integration support for ecommerce, ERP, CRM, and other business systems. A regular data backup feature is also present.
Third-Party Logistics Support: To run warehouse operations at multiple locations, WMS provides support for 3PL integration.
Labour Management: WMS also offers sophisticated labor management modules for traffic warehouse staff schedules, allocating tasks, measuring daily performance, and more.
Labeling: Suppliers can print their own barcode labels for shipments received while staying compliant with various labeling standards and requirements.
EDI support: Sharing critical data like order details, invoices, etc.with supplies, 3PLs, and other supply chain partners is possible using the EDI functionality of WMS.
Real-time data: Allows you to best allocate inventory, workforce, and other assets to respond to your business needs.
Dashboards: An intuitive WMS dashboard offers a holistic view of warehouse activities & operations for better control. Also, you can get custom reports for seeing details about orders, inventory levels, and more.
Benefits of Warehouse Management Software
Some of the key benefits of a warehouse management system that you can take advantage in your business includes:
- Faster inventory turnover
- Faster Asset Tracking
- Real-time inventory updates
- Accurate Forecasting
- Improved labor productivity
- Increase sales
- Data-driven decisions
How to Build A Warehouse Management System
Step 1: Analyze Business Requirements and Create a Development Plan
Before implementing a WMS system, it’s important to understand how your warehouse operates and what its employee’s needs are. Meeting stakeholder’s expectations are vital too. For instance, company directors and logistics managers might expect better ROI, smooth processes, and elimination of bad warehouse practices. Similarly, end-users might expect an easy to use system that alights with their workflow. Hence, after assessing new system risks and expectations, create an execution strategy.
Step 2: Set Up an Implementation Team
Working with expert WMS installation teams with years of experience is a must to reduce the risk associated with new system implementation. Your team should encompass members with prior experience of working with a diverse range of warehousing scenarios. The team should look like a cross-functional one with members from diverse departments, including IT, logistics, finance, human resources, and sales. All of their inputs will be valuable in creating a strong business case, modeling various scenarios, and coordinating with procurement & operations teams to identify associated costs.
The WMS implementation team should ideally confirm:
- Defined scope and scale of proposed WMS
- Summarize business requirements and associated costs & benefits
- Proposed project plan
Step 3: Partner Expert Warehouse Management Software Development Company
Most logistics companies fail to meet the implementation schedule which leads to WMS failure. Common reasons for failure include the absence of realistic, flexible implementation plans, lack of technical expertise, and no prior experience with shipping & logistics software development. Hence, for WMS implementation, it’s vital to select the right dedicated development team.
To complete the project on-time and handle unforeseen events, it's ideal to work with an external warehouse management solution provider. It offers technical expertise, resources, and support for the success of complex projects.
These outsourcing partners can also assist you in designing a custom solution that’s flexible and suits your warehouse workflow. Be tt on-premise deployment or cloud-based software, you can get multiple options with external logistics solution providers which lessens your development headache.
Step 4: System Testing and Deployment
Once the WMS system is developed after considering all design and customization requests, it’s important to test it with real warehouse data and conditions. Different warehousing scenarios must be tested to assess system performance. Your vendor also checks for bugs and functional errors to perform quality testing at this stage. Hire QA experts at this stage for better results. Once testing gets over, your vendor performs on-site or cloud deployment as per agreement.
Step 5: Train Staff and Take Regular Data Backups
It’s important your warehouse staff becomes familiar with the newly implemented WMS system. Provide staff the opportunity to learn, practice, and ask questions by conducting various training sessions, workshops, or demo sessions. This will increase staff productivity and ultimately your project success rate. Apart from training, don’t forget to take data backups while shifting to a new system.
Step 6: Assess WMS Performance For Future Improvements
Last but not least it's time to evaluate your WMS implementation and performance. Perform tasks like
- Revenue gains assessment in warehouse operations post new system implementation
- Productivity improvement assessments on various KPI metrics.
- Client satisfaction rate analysis post new WMS implementation
Once you get data insights based on these tests, you can make further system improvements to stay better prepared for future challenges related to inventory control, warehousing, and forecasting.
Ready to Integrate Warehouse Management Solutions in Your Business?
Undoubtedly, having a quality warehouse management system ensures real-time inventory visibility, improved productivity, and significant cost reduction in warehouse operations. If you don’t have a reliable WMS or if you’re using an outdated one - its team to consider a modern solution. To get custom warehouse management software, connect with us at A3logics.
We have years of experience and expertise in delivering a variety of shipping and logistics solutions for businesses of all kinds.
Drop us a line to know more about our warehouse management solutions/services.