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My First WMS (Warehouse Management System)

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In order to prepare for your first implementation of a Warehouse Management System (WMS), it is important to ground yourself in an understanding of these 7 key WMS concepts.

1.  WMS - Software designed specifically for managing the movement and storage of materials throughout the warehouse.  WMS functionality is generally broken into the following three operations:  Put-away, Replenishment, and Picking.  The key to these systems is the logic to direct these operations to specific locations based on user defined criteria.  WMS are set up to integrate with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Systems such as the Microsoft Dynamics Platforms:  Axapta (AX), Navision (NAV), Great Plains (GP) and Solomon (SL).

2.  Inventory Management – the direction and control of activities with the purpose of getting the right inventory in the right place at the right time in the right quantity in the right form at the right cost!

3.  Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) – from the Japanese “Kai” change and “Zen” good (for better).  Applied to a company. Kaizen is an approach of encouraging participation of all employees, whatever their hierarchical level, for the maintenance of work standards and for their progressive and continuous improvement.  WMS requires cross functional input from at least 4 disciplines:  Operations, Finance, IT, and Warehouse (distribution/manufacturing).

4.  Traceability – ability to track a product from the development stage to its end of life.  Supporting government regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

               Traceability includes:

               a.  Tracking: real-time location of the entity in the Supply Chain.

               b.  Trace:  possibility of obtaining information in non-real time from data recorded about the flow (flow memory).

5.  Allocation – allocations in inventory management refer to actual demand created by sales orders or work orders against a specific item.  A standard allocation is an aggregate quantity of demand against a specific item in a specific facility.    Standard allocations can be referred to as normal allocations, soft allocations, soft commitments, regular allocations.  Standard allocations do not specify that specific units will go to specific orders.  A firm allocation is an allocation against a specific unit within a facility, such as an allocation against a specific location, lot or serial number.  Firm allocations are also referred to as specific allocations, frozen allocations, hard allocations, hard commitments, holds, reserved inventory.

6.  Just-in-Time – LEAN manufacturing model developed initially by the engineer Taiichi Ohno at Toyota which consists of monitoring and controlling the production system to eliminate all sources of waste, in particular related to intermediate stocks and poor quality.  Production is thus equal to demand at all stages of the process.

7.  Replenishment – approach to determining the order quantity and order date of stocks.  There are 4 traditional replenishment policies:  Date Managed Inventory, Replenishment method, Order Point method and Replenishment of variable quantities at variable dates.  Data managed inventory is often enabled through Lot or Serial tracking and allows for rotation of stock in a FIFO (First-In-First-Out) or FEFO (First-Expired-First-Out) manner.


Warehouse Management Systems range from the very complex to the very base implementations.  Regardless of your short and long term goals, Appolis – The Art of Inventory, can assist you in a phased approach to taking on My First WMS projects.  We assist you in the design of a system that matches industry best practices with your environment and processes.   Our Appolis WithoutWire™ WoW Warehouse Management System will yield a Return on your Investment today, and provide an operational foundation using proven Microsoft based technology that will scale with you into your future! 

By Steve Dwyer, Vice President, Appolis          


One Response to “My First WMS (Warehouse Management System)”

  1. Corey D says:

    Great article, this strengthens the quality and repertoire of WMS, Warehouse Management Systems allowing Warehouse owners to understand the importance. I found that these people were great in terms of a supplier to this solution, Systems Logic, . They provided great customers service unlike other software providers, they ensure to maintain the quality of your warehouse and improve all processes.

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