What is a Warehouse Management System

Warehouse Management System (WMS) is discussed in the APICS CLTD 2017 Learning System (4-134) and is referenced in the CSCP Learning System. From the APICS Dictionary, 15th edition, a WMS is:

‘a computer application system designed to manage and optimize workflows and the storage or goods within a warehouse. WMS often interfaces with automated data capture and enterprise resources planning systems.’

The APICS CLTD 2017 Learning System goes on to outline WMS as essentially a planning tool with a database including:

  • Product profiles (i.e .SKUS, characteristics, bar codes, target inventory levels, hazmat restrictions)
  • Slot locations
  • Labor standards used to plan warehouse activities
  • Information about shippers and customers

With this data a WMS manages orders and inventory, organizes warehouse work and tracks and analyzes inventory and performance.

As the ‘warehouse guru’ I frequently have an opportunity to discuss WMS with end users, consultants and academia. Regardless of their perspective we boil down the key value proposition points to:

  1. Improved Efficiencies around inventory utilization, labor productivity and space utilization.
  2. Improved Customer Service Levels in the form of on time and accurate deliveries and being able to satisfy changing customer requirements
  3. And Real Time Access to Information to allow leadership to proactively manage operations.

I refer to this as the WMS elevator pitch you can use when you find yourself with a captive audience for a short period.

If you are interested in taking a bit of a deeper dive into the value a WMS can provide to your business I encourage you to check the webinar on 1/12 3P, “Selecting the Right WMS for Today’s Dynamic Market by HighJump”.