Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a valuable tool for warehouse management, providing visibility, automation and intelligent insights throughout every business department. ERP alone can't handle all the nuances of warehouse management, however. To fully realize value, efficiencies and maximum productivity, warehouses need to deploy an integrated warehouse management system (WMS).
A comprehensive WMS solution provides insights and granular control of inventory and resources throughout the supply chain. It offers visibility and management of assets in the warehouse, distribution center and beyond. While WMS may be deployed as a standalone solution, an offering that easily integrates with an ERP system will provide maximum value and benefits.
The Nuts and Bolts of Integrated WMS
The demands of the modern supply chain are vigorous and challenging. ERP systems provide a strong backbone for managing the major components of warehouse management. But advanced functionality is required to handle and optimize the nuances of warehouse management, and that's where an integrated WMS solution comes into play.
WMS solutions are specifically designed to streamline warehouse operations by increasing efficiencies and productivity. They handle the specifics of managing workers, inventory stock and resource balancing across the warehouse and distribution center. A comprehensive WMS solution will also offer automation and intelligence.
Many ERP systems provide WMS "modules" that offer some of that management functionality. Standalone WMS solutions are generally more comprehensive and powerful, but may be difficult to integrate with an existing ERP system without a slew of custom integrations. A powerful WMS solution like Loxodo that is purpose-built to integrate with ERP platforms, is an ideal choice for warehouses interesting in deriving maximum value from their ERP and WMS investments.
"As the size and complexity of a distribution center (DC) increases, there is a need for more labor optimization and far more flexibility to manage operations," Marc Wulfraat, president and founder of supply chain consulting firm MWPVL International, told Modern Materials Handling magazine recently. "And, with e-commerce causing operations to be drowning in one-line orders, many DCs are utilizing more automation. Once you start marching down that path, the WMS functionality provided by some ERP vendors may lack the needed capabilities.”
A solution like Loxodo offers the best of both worlds. It is both a full-fledged WMS offering, and it was developed specifically to work with the SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign ERP platforms. Warehouses will benefit from efficiency and transparency that extends well into the supply chain, without needing to worry about complicated and potentially costly integrations.
Integrated WMS Extends ERP Value
A purpose-built offering like Loxodo WMS is designed specifically to extend ERP functionality through to all aspects of the warehouse. It aims to help manufacturers and distributors organize and streamline processes while gaining visibility into all components of warehouse operations.
Features include a cloud-based, multi-tenant platform, logistics handling, a choice of multiple picking strategies, shipping integration, embedded label printing and out-of-the-box performance analytics.
At its core, an integrated WMS solution takes the benefits of automation, planning and reporting found in an ERP solution and extends them deep into the warehouse. By carefully monitoring and analyzing all activity, a WMS is able to optimize processes and tasks, helping warehouse managers save time and money while realizing new efficiencies and productivity increases.
The result is reduced operating expenditures on space, labor and inventory movement as well as waste reduction. A WMS can also contribute to improved relationships with suppliers and customers, who will benefit from smoother and more efficient communications as well as reception and delivery processes.
Additional benefits will include improved balance of inventory, since businesses can keep appropriate items in stock without danger of overstocking and wasting other items. Optimized processes throughout the warehouse and supply chain will ensure inventory flows smoothly and efficiently.
Businesses can also benefit from a flexible range of mobility and device options, since a comprehensive WMS offering will support RFID, bar codes, smart scales and more for input and tracking. Businesses will also ultimately realize improved safety and security measures because of optimized inventory and labor movement throughout the warehouse. This careful, automated system of planning will help reduce accidents and injury, while also eliminating opportunities for theft and inventory shrinkage.
Visibility and transparency throughout all facets and departments of an organization are critical for success and profitability, and ERP provides those benefits and more. To gain true visibility and control of warehouse processes and inventory movement, a modern WMS solution is necessary.
Choosing an offering with all the features and functionality of a powerful standalone WMS solution will give warehouses the power and visibility they need to properly manage systems and processes throughout the supply chain. A WMS offering that is purpose-built to integrate with ERP solutions, without requiring time-consuming and costly custom integrations, is a desirable choice.
The combination of a modern, cloud-based ERP system with a powerful, fully integrated WMS solution provides the visibility, automation and efficiencies needed to ensure warehouses remain competitive, streamlined and successful.
For more information about how to optimize your warehouse operations, download our free guide, Understanding Warehouse Optimization.