How do I Choose the Best Warehouse Management Software?

Jeremy Laukkonen

In order to choose the best warehouse management software, you will need to examine your needs and compare them to the available feature sets. The first thing you might want to do is to create a list of your requirements and then rank potential software based on what it provides. It can be helpful to determine how each warehouse management software option handles inventory, picking and packing, invoicing, and shipping controls. Specific options, such as electronic data interchange (EDI), can also be important if you deal with large retailers, or you may be interested in enterprise resource planning (ERP) functionality to incorporate your back-office operations with your warehousing. It can also be helpful to locate a quality reseller to help you find the best software to match your needs.

It's a good a idea to compile a list of the functions the optimal software should provide.
It's a good a idea to compile a list of the functions the optimal software should provide.

When installing or upgrading warehouse management software, it is usually a good idea to create a list of functionality you need the system to provide. Some general productivity features that may interest you include paperless check-in, efficient handling for items that are special order or non-stocking, and the ability to make new stock available for picking immediately. Other features, such as discrepancy reports, bar code verification, and cross referencing between supplier part numbers can reduce loss and fraud. You will typically want to look at these and other features to determine which warehouse management software will be the best fit for your operation.

Keeping track of inventory in a warehouse with a barcode scanner.
Keeping track of inventory in a warehouse with a barcode scanner.

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More specific features may be required depending on your situation. If you deal with a lot of large retailers, then your warehouse management software will usually need to have good EDI integration. Since a lot of large retailers make use of EDI, you may end up suffering where your margins are concerned if you do not. If you deal with retailers that use different systems or have other requirements, then you may need to ensure that your new warehouse management software will help you to remain in compliance.

If you are moving to new management software due to a warehouse remodel or change in location, it is often a good idea to take that into account. Moving locations or building a new warehouse structure can be an excellent time to pick management software that fits well with your new layout. You may also find that such a move is a good time to implement software that includes enterprise resource planning. This type of functionality can allow you to manage your warehouse operations in real time from your back-office and better integrate the two systems.

Some industries may require more specific functions.
Some industries may require more specific functions.

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