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9 Functions of a Highly Configurable WMS

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Life without a highly configurable WMS comes at a high cost. How many times have you seen an order selector go up and down warehouse aisles to pick an order one at a time, only to build a partial shipping pallet? When repeated daily, this process is a compounded inefficiency.

What if the same order selector could cluster pick multiple stops for the same route to a single pallet and consolidate partial pallets on the dock to maximize truck space? The time and money saved would begin with the first warehouse pass.

RF and voice-enabled devices are still important peripherals to a well-functioning WMS, but now more is needed from your system. Not only must it be highly configurable to support your current business rules, it must be adaptable for when those rules change or when operations become more diverse.

A highly configurable WMS is a robust system that configures rules based on your operation and thinks one-step ahead to direct operators to the best possible choice. It uses advanced business rules and additional factors when building pick assignments to maximize operator productivity while achieving customer requirements such as:

1. For customers requiring the use of their own pallets, the WMS builds pick assignments for those customers by order while combining other customers on warehouse pallets to maximize the pallet cube.

2. For combined customers, the WMS breaks assignments based on the pallet cube, while minimizing the number of driver stops.

3. It matches assignments to a selector’s equipment by giving one assignment for a single pallet jack and two assignments for a double pallet jack.

4. It supersedes previous rules to bulk pick specific items for all orders across the route, from controlled environments like a freezer or high-security area.

5. It supports different operational scenarios to create savings via reduced travel and pallet consolidation time for the driver.

A configurable WMS also supports rules for system-directed putaway based on product types, suppliers, owners, status, or pick area. The system calculates the product and location dimensions to determine the best use of the warehouse space including:

6. Date rotation to determine if a product can go the primary pick before overflow as well as selecting overflow closest to the pick.

7. Storing inventory in both assigned dedicated and non-dedicated pick locations.

8. Based on location type, determine inventory replenishment needs for dedicated and non-dedicated picks from overflow.

9. Allow operators to perform exceptions provided the putaway is in the same zone as the pick.

With highly configurable putaway and replenishment rules, a WMS maximizes space to free up warehouse locations and ensures inventory in the pick slot. The system also helps save time with operators manually determining where to store product, reducing errors with product misplaced or lost in the warehouse, finding product and reducing travel between overflow and the pick.