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Commerce has changed since the beginning. However, there are certain things that have remained constant, including inventory and the need to manage it. While there have been great strides made in inventory management technologies, it can still be difficult to choose the right one for you. Not every warehouse management system (WMS) is designed to operate between multiple locations or warehouses, which can greatly hinder growth.

That is why you are going to be introduced to multi-warehouse management, as well as why you need it, and which capabilities to look for in a multi-warehouse WMS. Let’s get started.


What is Multi-Warehouse Management?

Some businesses have one fulfillment center or one location, but for those SMEs who have recently expanded, you have multiple things happening at one time. That is where multi-warehouse management comes in. The term defines the practice of organizing the operations, including staff, shipping, storage, inventory, and movement, across several locations at one time.

Multi-warehouse management is necessary for a variety of industries, including eCommerce, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.


Challenges SMBs Face Without a Multi-Warehouse WMS

Without an appropriate system in place, your business will face numerous issues in a number of key areas, including transparency, traceability, velocity, and communication. Let’s take a look at some of the common struggles:

1. Cross-Warehouse Communication Issues

One of the reasons a multi-warehouse WMS is necessary is communication. Multiple locations mean that you have many different teams working. Separate warehouses may function differently, causing dissonance when it comes to inventory locations, stock transfers, quality assurance, item tracking, and more. If an unexpected issue arises, you need to be able to communicate with each warehouse.

A multi-warehouse WMS eliminates communication issues by streamlining information gathering and reporting. Since all information is stored and shared from a single database, each warehouse has the same data available.

2. Zero Oversight Into Inventory

Without accurate insight into inventory movement and stock levels, the chance of out-of-stock situations, delays, and fulfillment challenges increases. For instance, if an item is stored incorrectly or has been given the wrong identification, the entire warehouse is disrupted. A multi-warehouse WMS like Agility automates inventory counts. You can also set up strategies for pick-and-pack and update order and shipment information on the go. These updates are then sent to every other location when necessary.


What Capabilities Should a Multi-Warehouse WMS Have?

Here are three important functionalities to look for in your multi-warehouse WMS:

1. Real-Time Data Support

There is no denying that the logistics of operating out of multiple warehouses are intricate. More warehouses mean more chances for mistakes. Having the right software means you can manage every warehouse from one location. A multi-warehouse WMS provides a limitless amount of insight into every facet of your warehouses.

Being able to receive real-time reports and notifications about inventory, as well as cross-referencing locations, setting up picking strategies to minimize losses, and tracing items from their origin are all indispensable. Choose a multi-warehouse WMS that gives you all these tools, so you can organize and manage each location for the best results.

2. Able to Integrate With an ERP

Are you already using SAP Business One or another ERP to enhance your business? ERPs are powerful, but they have limitations that can be exacerbated by outdated warehouse management practices. Furthermore, while many ERP systems have warehouse management functions built-in, it is not a core function. In short, you are going to need a warehouse management system that integrates seamlessly into your chosen ERP.

Take the Agility WMS from WiSys, which consolidates all of its information with SAP Business One easily. Whenever you scan a new shipment or receive an order from an online customer, SAP Business One and Agility WMS simultaneously update and communicate with one another. This ensures that you can utilize the real-time data gathered from the WMS in the forecasting and planning modules of the ERP.

While a multi-warehouse WMS works as a standalone solution, having one that integrates with an ERP opens up much broader opportunities.

3. Picking and Packing Support

When you are running multiple warehouses, the goal of your business and workforce changes. You may be able to change certain practices among the employees, but if the entire system isn’t upgraded, your productivity and efficiency will suffer. A multi-warehouse WMS can support the movement of every warehouse from which you operate easily by mapping pick-and-pack routes, updating inventory levels automatically, and assisting employees with customer data.

If you find that you need to move inventory from one warehouse to another, the tracking capabilities of a multi-warehouse WMS simplify this process. Your employees will be able to verify everything with a quick scan, cutting out the need for redundant paperwork and data entry. Even cross-docking is accelerated.


Enhance Your Validation, Visibility, and Velocity With WiSys

When you begin using multiple warehouses, there are a lot of things to consider. Whether you are in eCommerce or another industry, keeping on top of inventory is important. Any merchant would be well advised to employ a WMS like the Agility suite from WiSys as part of their growth strategy. Having a multi-warehouse WMS guarantees increased visibility, traceability, and productivity in every facet of your business. If you are interested in integrating the WiSys WMS into your ERP or have it as a standalone solution, give us a call today at 770-955-3530.