In Guideline 3601 – “Warehouse Management Systems”, the Association of German Engineers (VDI) describes which requirements a Warehouse Management System (WMS) should fulfill. The VDI thus answers a question that has been around for years: When are the functionalities of a WMS solution sufficient for it to be considered a WMS? According to the Association of German Engineers, the main reasons for investing in a WMS are to reduce the error rate, increase productivity and improve delivery readiness.

Perspectives considered in VDI Guideline 3601

Since October 2011, the guideline “Warehouse Management Systems” has been continuously and purposefully developed in a working group consisting of approx. 90 people. In this way, different perspectives were taken into account. These include:

  • Vendor perspective with focus on WMS or logistics suites
  • Supplier perspective with focus on automation
  • Vendor perspective with focus on SAP and/or business suites
  • User’s perspective
  • Consultant’s perspective
  • Scientific perspective

The following experts from industry and research, among others, contributed:

The guideline defines the tasks and performance areas of an IT system used as a warehouse management system. These include the following aspects:

  • Definition of terms
  • Definition of abbreviations
  • Description of the administrative framework
  • Description of the functional environment
  • Integration of the WMS into the system landscape
  • Methods and means of controlling system states
  • Operating and optimization strategies
  • Elementary functions of a warehouse management system, such as materials handling control

According to VDI 3601, the task of a warehouse management system is to manage and optimize internal warehouse systems.

For more information, see Basics of Modeling an Information System.

Presentation at the LogiMAT 2014 (German)

The following video shows a presentation by Dipl.-Ing. Günther Pfisterer at the LogiMAT 2014.
As part of a series of presentations, he highlighted the WMS from a process and functional perspective. He also showed ways to use Guideline 3601 as a checklist when implementing a WMS.

Image license: CC BY-SA 3.0, Author: Johann H. Addicks

Also available in Deutsch (German)