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Getting started with WMS? Think about your metrics first

Author: Andrew Lencsak, Solution Delivery Manager, Arbela Technologies

On the surface, the definition of a warehouse management system (WMS) is simple: a business application that automates and manages warehouse processes. But… have you ever been in a warehouse? There are some containing literal miles of space, billions of items, and endless technical processes and manual procedures for accurately itemizing inventory, ensuring security, and keeping this critical hub in the supply chain operating at maximum efficiency.

Succinctly put, a WMS application has its hands full all day, every day.

Fortunately for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain customers, warehouse management is fully addressed via its Warehouse management module, which simplifies and consolidates management of a wide range or processes, including (but not remotely limited to):

  • Control of location stocking limits and location volumetrics
  • Batch and serial item support
  • Picking strategies
  • Label printing and label routing
  • Manual and automatic movement of inventory
  • Manual packing and automatic containerization support

Obviously, with the aforementioned miles of storage space and countless items and process, it can be hard to know where to begin in managing and automating warehouse process. Which is where the metrics come in.

The WMS metrics that matter

Frankly, which WMS metrics matter most depends on the type of warehouse and on the strategic goals of the business running it and using it. But there are a few success metrics consistent across most warehouse owners and operators.

  • Accuracy: Order picking accuracy may be one of the biggest cost centers in a warehouse—and improving accuracy is often one of the easiest ways to reduce cost, too. How are you capturing this data? Can you see how a minor improvement in order picking accuracy can deliver major lifts in productivity? Dynamics can help you capture and act on this data in real-time.
  • Capacity: While it’s true for most business processes that “time is money,” in the warehousing market, space is money. And the objective is to ensure each warehouse has a little unused space as possible. Are you able to automatically assess available space across each warehouse in your supply chain, and ensure you’re always at, or more realistically, near maximum capacity? Dynamics gives you the tools to rapidly manage capacity across multiple warehouses concurrently.
  • Time: A warehouse should never be a “final resting place.” It’s designed for throughput, and the more quickly you’re able to move inventory through a warehouse, the more quickly you can recognize the revenue associated with that inventory. Consumers don’t like to wait and be told, “We don’t have that in stock—let me check the warehouse.” Dynamics can help you keep you moving inventory quickly without sacrificing accuracy.

Want to know more about WMS metrics, Dynamics, and the supply chain? Watch the webinar:
Advanced Warehouse Management: Leveraging Key Metrics to Increase Efficiencies and Resiliency