In 2015, Oracle NetSuite began offering a native all-encompassing Warehouse Management System (WMS). Until then, users had to utilize a package of Inventory Management tools and extender products integrated with NetSuite to reap the benefits of a WMS.
Thankfully, those dark ages are over and done! You can now rely on and bask in the glory of an all-inclusive NetSuite Warehouse Management System. Read on to learn more about the powerful beast that is the WMS – and why you should care.
- What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?
- What Are the Differences Between Warehouse Management and Inventory Management?
- What Does a Warehouse Management System Do?
- How NetSuite WMS Helps to Increase Warehouse Productivity
- The Benefits of a Warehouse Management System
- How Much Does NetSuite Warehouse Management Cost?
What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?
Industrial, manufacturing and e-commerce businesses producing, selling, or distributing goods frequently need to receive/store/pick up/ship goods in and out of warehouses. Imagine receiving hundreds of orders and handling thousands of SKUs daily via spreadsheets, duplicating the data between your warehouse and finance department.
The good news is that a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can increase business efficiency by optimizing day-to-day warehouse operations and cutting down on manual processes. WMS can be used as standalone applications or be part of an ERP, as is the case with NetSuite. A significant benefit of NetSuite’s built-in WMS is that manufacturers and distributors don’t have to worry about integration or data synchronization.
WMS programs enable centralized task management, such as real-time visibility of inventory levels and stock locations. The end result? – a much more structured, efficient, and profitable warehouse.
What Are the Differences Between Warehouse Management and Inventory Management?
Warehouse management is all the processes and tasks revolving around your warehouse’s inventory, including storing, picking up, boxing, packing, and shipping goods.
Inventory management is much broader and involves supply chain and purchasing tasks like forecasting seasonal or local trends, projecting future sales, and automating the purchase of materials and parts past a certain inventory threshold.
That said, inventory management and warehouse management also share many similarities. Both involve:
- Monitoring product quantities
- Cycle counting
- Using barcodes to track parts and products
- Picking, packing, and shipping items
- Managing multiple locations
- Receiving orders into inventory
A WMS incorporates all these inventory management basics and utilizes technology and best practices to optimize all warehouse operations – such as inventory, space, equipment, and labor.
What Does a Warehouse Management System Do?
A Warehouse Management System will track for you all product inventory, including materials or parts that come in and out of your warehouse. It will help you streamline your day-to-day warehouse operations, from production to distribution to retail.
Think of the many steps needed from production to delivery of manufactured goods.
- First, raw materials are received from suppliers, unloaded from trucks and put away in the warehouse.
- The warehouse workers are given a task. They need to get the materials to their work table, make the product and pack it into boxes.
- The lift worker puts away the pallet of boxes and gets them ready for shipment and order fulfillment accuracy.
A WMS will facilitate and coordinate this (time-consuming) process for you.
How NetSuite WMS Helps to Increase Warehouse Productivity
Demand planning, inventory and warehouse management, purchasing and supplier management, as well as shipping and fulfillment capabilities, are all included in NetSuite’s inventory management capabilities.
NetSuite WMS will increase your warehouse’s flexibility and productivity by helping you optimize all warehouse processes, from A to Z. The system has the ability to suggest optimized task sequences and put away procedures.
With market-leading features for warehouses of any size and complexity, including mobile RF barcode scanning, wave planning, kitting, and space management, NetSuite WMS boosts productivity, enhances operational excellence, improves customer satisfaction, and decreases costs.
What’s more, the inventory information will be presented in an intuitive dashboard like the one below:
Our experts at Big Bang know the industry’s best practices in and out, and can help you optimize the inventory data needed for YOUR business’ specific needs. Contact us to learn more.
Mobile Device Processing
Now that’s convenient – through NetSuite WMS, warehouse workers can manage tasks directly on their mobile devices. At a glance, they can see where to ship, pick up, and put away inventory. As barcodes are scanned, and items processed in the warehouse, NetSuite WMS streamlines important information in real-time – including transactions, orders fulfillment, and returns. All teams (finance, managers, warehouse workers, etc.) have access to and can work with the same data. The end result? – the reduction of human errors and a much more structured, efficient, and profitable warehouse.
Here are some of the data all stakeholders have access to via a Warehouse Management System:
- Inventory level
- Color and size of raw materials or finished product
- Expiration of shelf life (for consumable goods)
- Box weight and size
- Quantity of boxes on a pallet
- Where it is located in the warehouse
- If the goods are ready for shipment, or if they should be put back into stock
- When will the stock be picked up, and at which dock door
- All product orders (PO)
Image from Oracle NetSuite’s Warehouse Fufillment
Why Should You Care?
The Benefits of a Warehouse Management System
A WMS becomes a must-have for organizations who want to cut costs, reduce human error and boost accuracy across various facets of the business.
These are just some of the benefits of a WMS implementation:
- Supports growth within the organization without increasing staff or square footage
- Reduces the errors caused by human-dependent processes
- Results in faster order turnaround times – same-day/next-day shipping & delivery
- Allows omni-channel fulfillment
- Ensures compliance requirements are met
- Increases inventory accuracy
- Optimizes warehouse space
- Reduces labor costs
- Meet your customer expectations
- Increase visibility on the floor and throughout all business units
How Much Does NetSuite Warehouse Management Cost?
As you can imagine, different factors will influence the cost of a Warehouse Management System. NetSuite is a subscription-based software (SaaS) and sells modules through bundles called editions. If you already use NetSuite ERP for your finances, adding the WMS module won’t break the bank.
A NetSuite subscription is typically renewed annually, with quarterly or annual payments. When the time comes for renewal, bring down your costs by bundling your NetSuite ERP together with WMS and your other modules.
Cost of Implementation
Your implementation partner, like Big Bang, should know your industry’s best practices as well as the ins and outs of the WMS functionalities. They will quote you on time and material, or through a fixed bid. The costs will vary depending on the complexity of your company’s requirements. In order to evaluate their current reality as well as their future needs, most partners will conduct a business analysis before diving into the implementation project.
Here are a few keys points to keep in mind prior to implementation:
Our experts are here to help you navigate this part of the process and identify your needs before building your custom solution.
The Final Word
The NetSuite WMS platform itself is packed with value and key features like bar code scanning, dynamic forward picks replenishment, cycle counting, lot/batch number with FFO & FEFO, expiration tracking, serial number tracking, kitting, and much more built-in.
If you’re running a warehouse without a WMS, you’re missing out on the opportunity for your organization to reach its full potential.
As you can see, there are many variables to consider when assessing which WMS is right for you. The experts at Big Bang know the industry’s best practices in and out, and can provide a customized solution tailored to YOUR specific needs.
Contact us today to learn more about how implementing NetSuite WMS can increase efficiency and help you reach operational excellence.