Essential WMS Features for Enterprises - Inventory, Automation, Analytics

Essential WMS Features for Enterprises - Inventory, Automation, Analytics

Essential Features of Modern Warehouse Management Systems

As consumers increasingly shop online, they expect faster deliveries. Consumers also demand well-designed returns and support options. With warehouses being the lynchpin of the delivery network, it is critical to evolve with the times. True to this, we are already seeing new warehouse management systems emerge, riding on a global warehouse management system market poised to grow from $4 billion in 2024 to $8.6 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 16.3%.

A warehouse management system (WMS) integrating automation, real-time visibility, comprehensive reporting, and insightful business analytics is now essential. In this article, we take a deep dive into the ideal features of warehouse management systems that must be a part of your research when choosing the right WMS.

Key Features of Warehouse Management Systems

1.    Real-time inventory visibility

When supply chain disruptions hit the market, logistics operations feel the tremors at large. For warehouses, this can mean delayed order fulfillment and lost customer loyalty. Warehouses also stand to lose dollars as inventory takes up precious capacity. This makes real-time inventory visibility a key aspect of modern warehouse management systems.

An ideal WMS must track inventory levels, statuses, and locations within the warehouse. The movement of inventory has to be logged to provide traceability and insight. This starts with goods entering the warehouse, encompasses all movement within the warehouse, and ends with goods outbound.

Aspects like real-time inventory level and status, barcode scanning to maintain stock accuracy, inventory allocation to orders, and replenishments, among other functions, help businesses gain awareness about their inventory allocation. Real-time visibility into inventory levels provides several direct benefits for warehouse operations:

     ● It reduces stockouts and overstocking, minimizing costs associated with excess inventory or lost sales

     ● It helps improve order fulfillment accuracy and speed

     ● It enhances customer satisfaction by ensuring product availability and timely deliveries

     ● It allows for better inventory planning and forecasting

Several technologies powered by AI and ML allow businesses to gain real-time visibility. For example, barcode scanning, RFID tags, and wireless tracking systems can all be installed across inventory. Containers and vehicles can also be tracked this way.

These technologies automate data capture. They provide instant updates to the warehouse management system (WMS) as products move through the facility. For example, retailers like Walmart or Amazon display different fulfillment options for a product on their websites. This is based on the real-time stock availability as seen on the order management system (OMS) of their WMS. As stock status changes, customers also see the latest stock status before purchasing products.

2.    Warehouse Workflow Automation

Warehouses once used manual labor, causing errors and safety problems. Now, WMS systems automate inbound and outbound tasks. Core functions like order management, inbound receipts, and outbound delivery processes are some tasks used for warehouse workflow automation.

Activities like picking and packaging, job creation, and location tracking can also be automated. Automating workflows enhances efficiency and safety in warehousing operations. It has several benefits:      

     ● It minimizes human errors and improves accuracy

     ● It increases productivity and throughput

     ● It enhances worker safety by reducing physically demanding tasks

     ● It provides consistent and standardized processes

Automation technologies include tools like conveyor systems and automated storage and retrieval systems, robot-assisted picking and sorting is also an automated workflow within the WMS to simplify material handling.

An ideal WMS coordinates and controls these automated systems, optimizing workflows based on real-time data. For instance, managers can leverage their WMS to automate the invoice workflow and transform accounting tasks, saving time and money for your organization. Labor management tasks, like scheduling, reporting, and financial management, can be automated in modern WMS systems.

3.    Order Fulfillment Workflow

The order fulfillment workflow is like the backbone of warehouse operations. It ensures the processing of orders correctly and quickly from start to finish. Warehouses without a robust WMS may have longer cycle times. They may also make more mistakes and have unhappy customers without a sound order management system. This can lead to lost sales, upset customers, and higher costs.

A good WMS (Warehouse Management System) can automate much of this. It gives several benefits:

     ● Streamlines the order fulfillment process, reducing cycle times

     ● Improves order accuracy and customer satisfaction

     ● Enables better resource allocation and labor planning

     ● Provides visibility into order status and bottlenecks

A WMS can handle the order fulfillment workflow from beginning to end. This includes getting items and storing them. It also includes picking orders and checking the quality and quantity of items. Finally, packing, shipping, and managing returns are also a part of the order fulfillment process. Tools like barcode scanning and voice-directed picking can hasten these processes further.

Amazon is famous for its excellent order fulfillment workflow. Once the orders are created and assigned, the system reserves inventory, batches similar orders together, and ships them on time. The seamless process shortens the delivery cycle, ensuring high customer retention. In a way, the high-quality fulfillment pushes customers to subscribe to Amazon Prime for faster delivery.

4.    Tracking and Traceability

Tracking and traceability capabilities are two sides of the same coin. A modern WMS system must connect to tracking tools as they provide real-time data on inventory, cargo, rates, and more. This data helps businesses make strategic decisions. Tracking inventory allows managers to maintain visibility and control over inventory movements. This gives businesses a real-time status for their cargo. It also ensures compliance with regulations. Tracking inventory is important for several reasons:

     ● Provides end-to-end visibility of inventory from receipt to shipment

     ● Enables rapid identification and resolution of issues or discrepancies

     ● Supports product recalls and returns processes

     ● Facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements (e.g., lot tracking, expiration dates)

A robust WMS may also have access to a returns management system. Without traceability, warehouses struggle to keep accurate inventory records. This leads to inefficiencies, stock discrepancies, and potential compliance violations.

5.    Easy to Setup

Setting up a warehouse management system? Ease of setup determines the time and resources required for deployment. Setting up can be a resource-intense and complex affair, making it a big barrier to adoption. While companies may need to brace for delays, added costs, and disruptions, choosing a modern SaaS WMS like BB Matrix must make the process more seamless. As a rule of thumb, companies must look for the following while choosing their WMS:

     ● Minimize disruption to ongoing operations during implementation

     ● Reduce the need for extensive training and resources

     ● Enable faster time-to-value and return on investment

     ● Facilitate scalability and future expansions or upgrades

Modern SaaS WMS solutions deploy rapidly. They often use cloud-based architectures and pre-configured templates or wizards to streamline setup. Pre-built connectors and APIs ease integration with existing systems and hardware.

6.    Intuitive UI and design

A poor UI frustrates users and slows down work. It also makes a WMS less effective. The ideal WMS should be easy to use and intuitive. A good UI is quick to learn and speeds up tasks. It offers many benefits:

     ● Boosts user productivity and happiness

     ● Cuts down on training needs

     ● Improves data accuracy

     ● Enhances decision-making with clear reports

Modern WMS systems focus on user-friendly interfaces. They include features like dashboards, touchscreens, and mobile layouts. These are tailored to warehouse tasks, making it easy to access info and tools. They also offer business intelligence for insights into operations.

7.    Proactive support team

SaaS-based WMS systems are usually easy to use and have friendly interfaces. However, they can still have bugs. Users, especially non-tech managers and newcomers, often need guidance. A responsive support team is critical to ensure smooth operations. It also:

     ● Solves issues quickly, reducing downtime

     ● Provides tips for system improvement and upgrades

     ● Supports ongoing learning and best practices

     ● Ensures compliance with changes and updates

Top WMS vendors have expert support teams. They offer 24/7 hotlines, remote help, on-site visits, training, and system checks.

8.    Integration with other systems

Operating in silos with fragmented systems severely limits supply chain agility. It also limits optimization opportunities. Manual interventions for data sharing amplify inefficiencies and errors.

An ideal WMS can easily connect with existing systems. These systems include order management or transportation management. With this connection, a WMS offers visibility, inventory tracking, and data-driven insights. A WMS that integrates with other enterprise systems offers several benefits:

     ● Eliminates manual data re-entry and associated errors

     ● Provides a single source of truth for inventory and order data

     ● Enables real-time visibility and coordinated decision-making across functions

     ● Facilitates automating processes that span multiple systems

A robust WMS integrates out-of-the-box with top ERP, OMS, TMS, and other SC systems. It does this via APIs, EDI, and standard/proprietary connectors. Its Integration Manager tool can simplify integration set-up, testing, and maintenance.

Businesses can handle orders from various sources in one WMS. Data from platforms like Magento or Shopify will flow in. Thanks to APIs or integrations, data from marketplaces like Amazon or eBay will also flow into the WMS. Most WMSs are cloud-based, allowing for order creation on the go, even at sales meetings or trade shows, using a mobile device.

9.    Real-time analytics and reporting

Large datasets from various workflows, processes, and systems can improve operations. This is possible through supply chain data analytics. A strong Warehouse Management System (WMS) allows real-time analytics and on-demand reports. It offers several benefits:

     ● Insights into workforce productivity, space use, and process limits

     ● Identifying optimization opportunities

     ● Supporting data-driven network modeling and "what-if" scenarios

     ● Providing visibility to corporate supply chain and operations teams

The best WMS systems are cloud-based. They offer easy self-service reporting and data visualization. Additionally, they include pre-built models, KPIs, and dashboards. These are tailored for different sectors like industrial, retail, and e-commerce.

10.    Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Management

Supply chains are getting more complex. Some companies now use fewer assets. This shift requires shippers to monitor their third-party logistics (3PL) partners closely. Doing so is crucial for top-quality service, as, without it, they face problems. These include poor coordination, excess stock, missed deadlines, incorrect bills, and governance issues. A robust Warehouse Management System (WMS) is essential, offering several benefits:

     ● Provides a single platform to track inventory and orders across 3PLs

     ● Ensures 3PLs meet agreed-upon service levels for billing, performance, and reporting

     ● Supports collaboration in forecasting, planning, and capacity management

     ● Simplifies the process of adding new 3PLs through standard connections

Shippers can use SaaS based WMS to manage 3PLs. This includes controlling their access to facilities and data. They can also oversee activities like receiving, storing, and counting.


As the supply chain continues to evolve, the role of a robust warehouse management system has become increasingly important for businesses to remain competitive By using WMS solutions from Tata BB Matrix , you get a powerful tool to streamline workflow, improve space utilization and achieve better inventory management. This translates into increased productivity, lower costs, and ultimately a greater competitive edge in delivering a better customer experience. WMS capabilities, combined with its data-driven insights, provide all the supply chain management that forward-thinking organizations need to thrive in the digital age contact Tata BB Matrix today to learn how our WMS solution can transform your warehouse into a well-oiled engine of your business success.

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