You’re shopping for a SUV… something affordable, reliable, versatile, fun to drive and easily maintained, and adaptable to changing road conditions. Unfortunately the salesman keeps pushing that new Range Rover on you. Welcome to the world of many distributors searching for a WMS.
Designed and priced for large enterprises, Tier 1 Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) typically contain a number of added features well beyond what’s needed by Tier 2 and smaller companies. For example, Labor Management and similar features add unneeded functionality and cost. At the same time Tier 1 WMS providers are generally staffed to handle large complex Tier 1 accounts. Consequently these systems are generally out of reach for most small to mid-size organizations.
A common theme among mid and small-size companies is the need for a WMS offering basic Tier 1 functionality at a comfortable price-point. While these companies face many of the same challenges as much larger organizations, they typically have neither the needs nor the budget for a large Tier 1 WMS.
Integrating a WMS with a Transportation Management Solution (TMS) is where many companies can see some really big savings. (To the tune of $500,000 each year for this FASCOR customer.)
Savings are typically correlated to the type and amount of shipping that a company does. For example, companies doing a lot of pick-pack or single item boxes can see some pretty significant savings. But while this is a sliding variable for every distributor, everyone will see measurable and sustained improvement by implementing a more efficient process. A good rule of thumb is that distributors shipping a lot of small parcels or multi-box orders will benefit greatly from an integrated WMS/TMS solution.
Regardless of the size of the company warehousing and distribution processes are basically the same. Efficiency, accuracy and cost-savings are all common keys to profitability. But Warehouse Management Systems are not interchangeable. Large Tier 1 companies have added requirements and larger budgets than their small to mid-size counterparts.
The key for smaller companies is to find the right fit and to leverage these systems as fully as possible. Teaming WMS and TMS can introduce breakthrough levels of efficiency, cost-savings and profitability.