Definition – WMS – The Warehouse Management System
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The Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an indispensable software for the control and administration of stocks (see also Inventory Management) and storage locations within closed operations (e.g. distribution centers or manufacturing plants). It forms the interface between the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and, if materials handling technology is available, the materials flow computer (MFR).
Interfaces to warehouse management
Since the WMS covers an explicit sub-area within the value chain, there are inevitably several interfaces to the system. Starting from the top, the ERP system transfers customer orders to the distribution center’swarehouse management system. The warehouse management system, which controls the warehouse management architecture and the coordination of the throughput, sets the material flow computer in motion, which triggers concrete instructions for the transport of the respective piece goods from station to station. If no MFC is required, the WMS forms the interface to the rest of the technology, which would otherwise connect to the MFC in a modular principle (e.g. picking or handover to the CEP service provider).
The interlocking of warehouse management system and facility architecture
If a warehouse management system is to be introduced, the individual requirements (such as warehouse topology and throughput) must be considered. Thus, the WMS and the plant architecture within a distribution center are indispensably interlocked
From an economic point of view, when choosing a WMS, care should be taken to ensure that it is tailored precisely to the respective procedures and processes. The scope of the system should also not be larger than required, as unnecessarily complex software can have a negative impact on the response time.
The requirements that a warehouse management system must fulfill are defined in the guidelines of the Association of German Engineers (VDI).
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