Warehouse Management Processes
The success of any warehouse management system lies in its ability to reduce operating costs by streamlining basic processes. The six basic warehouse management processes are:
On any given day, your WMS must be able to track inventory in real time, taking into account the ways that all of these processes are affecting your supply of goods. Let’s look at these processes in detail.
Receiving is the first warehouse management process and, by far, the most important piece of the puzzle. A proper receiving process involves receiving the right product at the right time, checking the condition of the product, and ensuring that you’ve received the right quantity from the supplier.
During the receiving process, your supplier’s responsibility for the goods ends, so any damage to them will end up costing your company. To make sure damage doesn’t occur, you’ll need to provide adequate space and a clear plan for properly offloading the goods from the loading dock.
Putaway is an intermediate process in which you transfer the goods from the receiving area to their allotted storage units. An efficient warehouse management system steps in here, helping you identify the most optimal storage place for each item. A good putaway process can increase the entire system’s productivity, allow you to move goods in a fast and efficient manner, and ensure the streamlined arrival and disposal of the next batches of items you receive.
To learn more about optimizing your putaway process, check out our guide.
Storage is the process of placing goods in appropriate locations in your warehouse. The ultimate aim of the storage process is to ensure that the items can be easily found, tracked, and retrieved. A sophisticated warehouse management system can help you find the best storage places for different items based on your warehouse KPIs and historical data. By making the most of your floor plan and spaces, you can maximize your storage and your control over your inventory.
According to a report by Grand View Research, order picking accounts for 50-55% of total warehouse operating costs. Picking is the process of collecting items from the storage space to fulfill customer orders, and it can either be done manually or automated based on the needs and size of the warehouse. If you’re using a WMS, it can generate picklists for each picker, allowing them to retrieve items from different locations in the warehouse in a coordinated order.
Read more about the picking process.
Once the picker picks the items for an order, the packing process gets underway. Packing is an extension of the picking process in which items are packed based on size, quantity, value, and material type to ensure minimal loss in transit. A WMS can be used to determine the best type and arrangement for packing items.
Learn more about packing and its importance.
The final warehouse process is shipping. Shipping refers to the part of the order process in which packed items move from your warehouse to customers' locations. The goal in shipping is to ensure that the customer receives the product in the stipulated time without compromising the quality of the items. Shipping is the only warehouse management process where customers are directly involved.
A WMS plays a crucial role in helping you streamline transition of different packages by integrating different shipping carriers, fetching shipping rates, scheduling pickups, and sending real-time shipment updates to customers. Also, you enjoy the flexibility of finding the cheapest carrier for each package and sending customers updates on when their orders are arriving.
All of these different warehouse management processes are closely related to one another, and handling each one well sets up the next process for success. A warehouse management system can help you ensure that all of these processes run without any hassle, making business growth a lot easier and less stressful.