A major component of some businesses’ success and survival is supplying exceptional distribution services to consumers or other businesses through third-party (3PL) logistics companies.

The opinion of a certain product or business can be greatly influenced by all players within a supply chain, including the third-party logistics company. This has created competition within the logistics, trucking, and warehousing industry to offer solutions that are extremely effective, well-managed, and customized to the client’s requirements.

To manage complex tasks within the supply chain, logistic companies have implemented internal systems called Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), which is a highly-configurable and functional system allowing companies to take control of their product and manage every aspect of storage, shipment, and distribution. 

Warehouse Management System Features

When looking for a Warehousing and Logistics Company to trust with your product, there are certain features that should be provided through the logistic companies’ chosen WMS system.

Key WMS Features/Functions Include:

✓ Internet Enabled

To provide accessibility and control of your product the WMS system should be accessible through standard web browsers. Employees and customers should have immediate access to critical information such as receipt information, new orders, inventory levels, reports, and distribution activities in cloud-based software.

Cloud-based Warehouse Management System Benefits

Ensuring that your WMS acts as a connected solution helps you in more than one way – effective inventory management through 24/7 inventory visibility, improved warehouse operations through real-time data on daily operations.

✓ Real-time Capabilities

An advanced WMS system is necessary, but it is becoming increasingly more important to receive information in real-time. Through integrated hardware and software programs, products can be integrated to enable real-time inventory processing.

Why It Matters

For example, modern customer expectations demand real-time tracking of packages, which requires a level of inventory accuracy and supply chain inventory tracking only available with warehouse management system. 

✓ Packaging Options

A modern 3PL logistic company can take your bulk goods and package them for your end customer thus saving you space and the hassles of running a packaging department. 

Flexible Warehouse Space Promotes Efficiency 

This is especially useful if you sell the same product to different customers under their private label brand. The product can be stored in bulk and then only the amount needed to fill your customer’s demand is packaged.

✓ Kitting / De-Kitting

Based on customer requirements, BR Williams has been providing kitting functions by creating work orders that direct warehouse associates to combine several items to form a new item… or convert an item into a new item.

Optimize Warehouse Productivity

“De-kitting” can also process returned kitted merchandise and place salvageable kit components back into inventory, saving costs on replacing entire orders. Example: BR Williams provides automotive kitting services.

✓ Stock Rotation Methods

A strong WMS system will support a variety of stock rotation requirements, including FIFO, LIFO, lot number, receipt date, manufacture date, expiration date, and support for serial number tracking.

Simplify Inventory Movement 

Orders can identify specific serial numbers of items to be picked, or perform serial number capture during the outbound process.

Download our free eBook How to Win at Logistics for a complete guide on Logistics, including an in-depth look at the use and importance of a Warehouse Management System (WMS).

✓ Inventory History Transaction Logs

It’s important that the inventory software system log all activity related to inventory inboundoutbound, internal warehouse movement, and even inter-warehouse transfers. An effective WMS should offer complete inventory visibility, and provide a complete audit trail of activity affecting your entire inventory operations.

Promotes Accurate Inventory

Knowing in detail inventory data through cloud-based systems allows for a higher degree of inventory control and accuracy. It goes without saying that warehouse managers and business owners depend on accurate inventory to make business decisions and warehouse process choices.

✓ Returned Goods & Backorder Processing

Logistic Companies that only ship a product from point A to point B has been left behind. Now, routes are complex and deliveries are unique to the consumer. Another part of the supply chain process is dealing with returned goods and backorder processing.

Managed Backorder Processing

With an effective WMS system, it is possible to know of a shipment or delivery issue the minute that it happens. It also allows for more control of the returned product, helping businesses manage re-inspection, quality control, rework, repackaging, re-inventory, salvage, destruction or “return to vendor” status. These systems should also allow for backorder rules to be set at both the customer and item level, providing automatic backorder generation and management.

✓ Customized Reporting / Compliance Labeling

While standard reports are crucial and used throughout the entire supply chain process, your WMS should allow for customized reports to be saved and used, as well as sorted, stored and distributed electronically. Shipping documents should also be customized based on consumer needs and available electronically.

Business Intelligence 

For your customers that require compliance labeling, the 3PL should have the ability to create and manage this process so you don’t have to worry about software and systems to meet those customer demands and requirements.

✓ …and more:

The core functions of a powerful WMS system should also include:

  • General Inventory Maintenance
  • Inventory Adjustments
  • Placing Products on Hold
  • Kitting and Product Conversion
  • Stock Rotation Methods
  • Cycle Counting
  • Physical Inventories
  • Inventory Reporting
  • Inventory History Transaction Logs
  • System Security

Additional Warehouse Management System Features

These features are just a few of the basic warehouse management system requirements that a logistics company should provide to its clientele through a WMS.

But, they should also provide:

  • Consistent communication
  • Management updates
  • Product/shipment updates throughout the supply chain process.

What We Use

BR Williams (an Alabama-based trucking, warehousing, and logistics company) proudly uses the Synapse WMS system.

The Synapse system offers these capabilities to customers, including many more, to ensure that each client’s unique supply chain process runs seamlessly.

The Synapse System Major Features and Capabilities Used by BR Williams Include:

  • Internet Enabled
  • Real-time RF Technology
  • Barcode Technology
  • Pick & Pack Options
  • Automated Material Handling System Integration
  • Returned Goods Processing
  • Backorder Processing
  • Item Substitution
  • Inventory Cost Tracking
  • Retail Price Tracking
  • Activity and Performance Monitoring
  • Automated Knitting and Assembly
  • Automated QC and Product Inspection
  • Compliance Label and Document Generation
  • Shipping Documents Capabilities
  • EDI / Electronic data transfer
  • Customized Reporting and Electronic Distribution

Why Should This Matter?

Understanding why logistics companies invest in best-in-class WMS systems to power your supply chain needs is important because if you don’t have a strong need to outsource distribution services TODAY…you may after only one strong year of new sales.

Be sure, when choosing warehousing, trucking, and logistics solutions company to find one that will suit your needs, big or small, and will allow the opportunity for your business to grow or expand. Contact BR Williams to find out how a WMS can benefit your business.

>>> Click to Read the 7 Benefits of Choosing a Warehouse with a Digital Warehouse Management System

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a WMS do?

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) manages complex tasks within the supply chain. Each is highly-configurable based on the needs of the fulfillment center it’s assigned. This allows companies to take control of their product and manage every aspect of storage, shipment, and distribution.

What kind of features should a modern WMS possess?

The Synapse system offers these capabilities to customers, including many more, to ensure that each client’s unique supply chain process runs seamlessly.

Major Features and Capabilities Used by BR Williams Include:

  • Internet Enabled
  • Real-time RF Technology
  • Barcode Technology
  • Pick & Pack Options
  • Automated Material Handling System Integration
  • Returned Goods Processing
  • Backorder Processing
  • Item Substitution
  • Inventory Cost Tracking
  • Retail Price Tracking
  • Activity and Performance Monitoring
  • Automated Knitting and Assembly
  • Automated QC and Product Inspection
  • Compliance Label and Document Generation
  • Shipping Documents Capabilities
  • EDI / Electronic data transfer

About BR Williams Trucking & Logistics

BR Williams,  a  family-owned Trucking, Warehousing, Fulfillment & Logistics Company has been serving customers since 1958. We specialize in removing the supply chain frustrations our customers have by developing custom-made solutions. We offer nationwide transportation services through our fleet and logistics division. Our multiple fulfillment and distribution warehouses in Alabama including the Port of Mobile span over 1.7 million square feet. Our core values are Honesty,  Integrity, Service. We still serve our first customer that was established in 1958.

To discuss your supply chain needs, please contact us online or call (800) 523-7963

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