Let’s first look at the things that will matter, which will help to decide which is the “best” to manage the warehouse, fulfill orders, track packages and manage inventory. As always the best warehouse management software will be determined by YOUR needs.
The best for you largely depends on the size of your business. If you have a large business with multiple warehouses scattered around the country, you may be looking at an enterprise ERP system to handle everything. If you are dealing with a single warehouse, you may be able to get by with Quickbooks or Fishbowl. In this case, the best warehouse management software will be the one that provides more of the financial, reporting, and hr functionality.
If, on the other hand, you are a small or medium sized business with maybe a single or a few warehouses, you need a solution that has both the WMS, as well as a mobile app for warehouse workers. You’ll also want to consider the distribution side of things, as in loading inventory into trucks and routing those trucks to the final destination. Best warehouse management software here is one that is cost-effective and integrates with your eCommerce system.
In any of these cases there are different requirements. Some of the big items to be on the lookout for:
Vendor Management & Product Check-In – When a vendor comes to your warehouse with the product, you’ll want a smooth mobile app for your warehouse workers to instantly apply and check inventory quantities against the purchase order quantities purchased (PO). It should automatically alert a central admin account of any differences and generate a new PO for the product missing which you can reconcile with the vendor.
In addition to checking in the inventory, the best warehouse management software should organize the warehouse for you. It should tell your workers where this product should be allocated in the warehouse again right within the app as soon as the product barcode is scanned.
Simple check-in, picking, editing and allocation of inventory – getdhub.com
Warehouse Management and Organization – This involves a few different aspects, one of which is know where to find any individual good and how many of each quantity is available. It should be able to reallocate product to specified picking bins to make picking your most popular items a breeze. It should also be able to track inventory across multiple warehouses so your orders can automatically be fulfilled at the easiest location. Another thing to look for is the inclusion of Google maps to help with address accuracy and automatically sorting the distances between the order destination and the warehouse. Beyond this, it is very helpful to have a visual warehouse, which allows you to actually see the warehouse, zoom in on a bay and select a product to take actions (such as moving it to a new bay, cross-docking it or creating a manual sale).
Product Management – You’ll want to be able to track items, spoilage, returns, and beyond. Additionally, you’ll likely want a way to create the relationship between pallets, cases, packs, and individual units, so that as cases are used, a pallet is only partial. You will also want to be able to track inventory according to the sales volume, while also being able to automatically generate and send PO for items that reach the minimum order quantity while automatically calculating the lead time required so that as inventory = minimum allowed quantity the new inventory is showing up.
Admin Settings – In many WMSs you can set the access level to particular areas of the software. This is important for managing the business. You’ll also want to set things like preferred locations or warehouses to pick from, in addition to the picking style and logic behind when POs should be placed, as well as things like how to handle back-stock, credit terms and limits for large customers etc.
Order Fulfillment and Picking – When a new order comes in, you want to get that order out as fast as possible. In order to do this, you’ll want the guys in the warehouse to immediately see the orders incoming, and have the mobile app guide them in the most efficient route around the warehouse (wave picking). If shipments are going out at different times, you should have these staged appropriately. Same thing goes for if you are actually distributing the product, the last products on the delivery route are loaded first, this should be taken into account.
Package Tracking – In order to get your packages out in a timely manner it’s likely you’ll integrate with the major carriers, or it could be directly through a platform like Easypost or Shipstation, or Shippo etc. Any which one you choose, make sure the WMS provider can make the integration simple enough so that when the order is picked the label can immediately be printed right through the mobile app to reduce redundancy. When the order is checked into the carrier’s system, the tracking number is automatically uploaded to the order # and it should alert the customer of the order being shipped.
Distribution – If you are actually handling the distribution of orders, you will want to take into account things like the order delivery, delivery time windows, as well as capacity planning for how much the truck can handle. These things should all be taken into account directly through the system so the warehouse guys can simply follow the instructions of the application, reducing errors.
There are may things involved here, but as others have said it really comes down to what you are looking to accomplish, how complex your product set it, and what functionality requirements you have.
I’d encourage you to give a look at the dHUB system (I’m involved here) which has everything listed here and more, but is built in a very dynamic way so you can plug and play with what you will need to accomplish your goals and solve issues. Visit Mobile Warehousing, Distribution & Last-Mile Delivery Management to find out more or reach out to a firstname.lastname@example.org so we can set up a time to discuss your situation in detail.