Early innovators long ago established which WMS components hold the most transformative potential.

With the market for warehouse management systems continuing to grow, prospective adopters are likely to encounter numerous vendors as they navigate the opening stages of implementation, each one offering a unique platform equipped with supposedly must-have features. In reality, there are few proprietary offerings that are critical to operational success. Early innovators long ago established which WMS components hold the most transformative potential. Here are some of those essential WMS features:

Mission-critical modules
Most modern WMS platforms share core operational modules, including inventory management, order processing and tracking features, according to IT Toolbox. These tools are essential to WMS deployment success, as they help users perform basic shipping and receiving functions. Organizations looking to adopts WMS technology must stick with systems that include such components. Of course, they should also evaluate the efficacy if these features, especially in real-world scenarios. In this case, requesting client references from vendors is the best strategy for achieving this goal, as these past adopters can speak directly to the product as it functions in working warehouse environments.

In addition to these core solution features, companies on the road to WMS adoption should also focus on other primary components such as enterprise resource planning and automation integration tools. WMS elements that fall into the latter category are growing increasingly important as industrial automation adoption rates grow. The market for industrial automation technology is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of more than 6 percent and is expected reach $352 billion by 2024, according to projections from Transparency Market Research. With this trend in play, WMS adopters must target systems with automation integration capabilities to keep pace with modernization-minded competitors.

Warehouse manager holds tablet.
Effective WMS come equipped with key components, such as order processing and product tracking tools.

Reverse logistics components
Unfortunately, not all packaged-and-shipped items end up in the hands of consumers, as most enterprises are well aware. In fact, every year, stateside consumers return roughly 8 percent of the goods they purchase from brick-and-mortar establishments, accounting for around $260 billion, according to research from the National Retail Federation. These products inevitably end up back at the shipping facilities from whence they originated. In this case, businesses are tasked with launching reverse logistics systems in order to turn these items around, Explore WMS reported.

Companies in the process of vetting WMS software should pinpoint platforms that not only ease reverse logistics processes but also facilitate the standardization of these workflows. As customer demands diversify, businesses will have to contend with larger and larger volumes of returned merchandise. Last-second workarounds are no longer a viable option here, meaning operational teams must have access to the digital tools needed to implement and maintain sustainable reverse logistics systems.

Customer service and maintenance
While the aforementioned software features can effectively power backend operations and catalyze efficiency in the warehouse, they can not do so in isolation. Consistent updates and maintenance are required to keep these features running smoothly. For this reason, prospective WMS adopters should search for software providers who can not only meet their technical needs but also offer robust maintenance and support options, according to IT Toolbox. Without these essential services, even the best WMS systems can devolve into nonfunctioning money pits.     

Is your organization prepared to navigate the WMS implementation journey? Connect with F&A Data Systems today. We work with world-class technology partners such as Dell, Microsoft, Oracle and Rockwell Automation to design and deploy customized WMS solutions that can meet the needs of organizations across myriad industries. Contact us to learn more about how we can transform the warehousing operations at your business.