Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

If I have already an inventory management software, do I still need a warehouse management software?


In general, inventory management usually tells warehouse stakeholder the stock quantity or stock value in an entire warehouse or a large location.

Tracking Product up to detail bin location

In a nutshell, Warehouse Management Software (WMS) is a inventory management at micro level. You are often required to register the bin location of a particular product. Most of the time, it is not just the Item or Product code but also other essential information such as production batch number, expiry date, country of origin and etc.

By doing so, you can achieve :-
  1. FIFO/FEFO Picking (or any specific picking by criteria)
  2. Locating product more efficiently. Picking Slip or using handheld device to direct the order picker with picking route.
  3. Cycle counting (daily count by product, without WMS, locating product can be time consuming and less practical to do so)
Compared to using spreadsheet to record such information, a WMS should offer functionality such as producing product movement reports, you can tell exactly which product has been moved by which user with its timestamp. 

Aside from that, most WMS, designed for multi user environment which empower you with security access control which most spreadsheet program cannot offer.

Accuracy

Anyone who run a warehouse would agree that accuracy is high priority if not the top. How to capture information accurately and fast has becoming the key to success. Most WMS work with handheld computer with barcode scanning or RFID reader.

By scanning or reading the ID (whether it is product code, serial number or etc), it is up the business logic and software capability to match with what it suppose to be.

Leveraging on such technology can sometime improve the speed not by certain percentage but number of times.

What is the difference between Warehouse Management System and Inventory Management System

Over the years, I have been explaining to clients the difference between Warehouse Management and Inventory Management. 
I found the following article from Fishbowl Inventory Blog explains it very well.
The content of the following is extracted from Warehouse Management vs. Inventory Management
Similarities
Both warehouse management and inventory management involve:
  • Monitoring product quantities.
  • Cycle counting (checking the quantities of some products, but not all, at one time).
  • Often using barcodes to track parts and products.
  • Picking, packing, and shipping items.
  • Managing multiple locations.
  • Receiving orders into inventory.
Differences
  • Warehouse management divides warehouses into many compartments and bins while inventory management takes a broader approach to tracking inventory by location.
  • Warehouse management allows you to find specific items in a warehouse while inventory management simply informs you that they are somewhere in that warehouse.
  • Warehouse management is often connected to inventory management software, but it’s not a standalone service because of its supportive nature.