How to Choose the Best Warehouse Management System
Warehouse managers face an uphill battle with multiple workflows, large spaces, and workforces. Keeping the facility safe and secure is difficult enough, but they must also find ways to maintain efficiency and accuracy. The right warehouse management system is an absolute necessity for managers to rise to the challenge.
While many of the frustrations and headaches of managing warehouses are similar across the world, each facility has different needs. Similarly, different management systems have their own separate benefits and use cases. You need to find the best warehouse management software to meet the unique challenges of your facility.
We take a look at six factors to consider when choosing the best warehouse management system:
6 Must-Have Warehouse Management Software Features
1. All-In-OneEven where there is no one-size-fits-all solution, you want a solution that fits all needs into one. Relying on multiple separate platforms results in inefficiency. There is more burden on IT personnel, worse communication, and less intuitive use.
Employing an all-in-one warehouse management system streamlines all related tasks into one easy-to-use dashboard. Managers quickly review actionable data and can rely on their software to work together.
The demands on software may expand beyond the capabilities of some systems. But platforms with strong integration capabilities offer powerful solutions in complex work environments. Some capabilities and integrations commonly desired in warehouse management systems include:
- Safety & Security
- Visitor Monitoring
- Employee Tracking
- Access Control
- Mustering & Emergency Notifications
- Receiving Deliveries
- Contractor and Visitor Pre-registration
2. Warehouse Security Measures
Integrating a warehouse security system into a larger platform keeps your platform ahead of the curve. For example, your sign-in kiosk automatically creates a digital paper trail of every individual who enters your building, when they entered, and any other details requested at induction. This makes it easy to flag threats and recall data later if an event occurs.
A few standard security features that the best warehouse management systems use include:
Employee and visitor screening ranges from best practices to mandatory processes depending on the nature of your warehouse and industry. Screening is an ITAR compliance checklist requirement for warehouses exporting defense and military technologies. Failure to comply can result in penalties up to $1m and ten years imprisonment.
A warehouse management system can automatically screen visitors against official watch lists. If someone on the list attempts to enter a record is created, the visitor is flagged, and personnel receive a notification.
You can also create custom denied party lists outside government watch lists. While most official lists focus on specifics like criminal history, no-fly lists, sex offenders, and certain nations, your custom list can include people for any reason. For example, you may flag a disgruntled former employee to prevent undesirable events.
Real-Time Monitoring & Tracking
Give your security officer a live view of who is in your warehouse. This is an especially valuable way to provide oversight when managing multiple locations. In addition to detecting threats and automatically creating audit-ready reports, this tool is invaluable in emergencies.
Live visitor and employee monitoring establishes an accurate headcount. Pair this information with mustering software, and security officers can send out emergency messages to all parties in the warehouse with one click. Mustering notifications can include important details like:
- Escape routes
- Muster point
- Emergency type
- Emergency status
Your warehouse safety system can include two-way communication in mustering notifications. Prompt visitors and employees to confirm their status – identifying if they are safe or trapped somewhere in the building. This is important information for first responders and helps to ensure a positive outcome.
Integrating warehouse management software into existing access controls further streamlines entries while enhancing security. Instead of manually processing individuals, sign-in kiosks automate registration. Once the kiosk vets a person, it can automatically grant entry through the door, turnstile, or gate via its access control integration.
Custom-configure entry conditions based on your warehouse access control policy and procedures.
3. Employee Tracking
Large volumes of personnel make workforce tracking and capacity management solutions a high priority in many warehouses. Employee attendance tracking helps manage personnel, enforce safety, and handle emergencies.
Another great feature is staff tracking apps for contractors and temporary workers. Quickly gather and validate important documentation, certifications, and e-signatures. This helps track the status and compliance of jobs and personnel in your warehouse.
4. Warehouse Delivery
If your facility receives ten or more daily deliveries, you need a solution to receive them. A warehouse delivery system makes sure you never miss a package.
The receiver scans in with the integrated delivery management app when a delivery comes in. The app automatically sends a notification to the individual the package is addressed to. They continue to receive daily reminders until they pick up the package. Prevent packages from stacking up and improve the accuracy of deliveries.
Learn more about warehouse delivery processes: 5 Best Practices for Mailroom Management
5. Enforce Warehouse Visitor Safety Rules
In a large warehouse, safety rules for visitors can be very involved. Machinery, PPE, hazards, and policies are essential to keep everyone safe. The best way to manage warehouse visitor safety rules is during registration.
The sign-in process can force visitors to complete specified questionnaires, watch safety videos, and e-sign policies before printing their visitor badges. This protects your organization, proving you've done your due diligence. It also ensures the guest understands safety protocols and how to follow them.
You can expedite completing lengthy visitor safety policies with pre-registration. Visitors receive a pre-registration link to complete all safety requirements from their phones. Upon completion, they receive a QR code they can scan on arrival. Once scanned, visitor badges are printed, and they are admitted.
Each industry, sector, and building has unique requirements to create its best warehouse management system. Customization is a must to meet these needs.
Custom features, add-ons, and integrations allow you to get the most out of your warehouse management software. They also help reduce how many other systems and tools you need to employ. Custom settings keep everything running smoothly and efficiently, streamlining processes instead of creating headaches.
Get Your Free Warehouse Management Software Demo
iLobby's white glove service has made us the global leader in enterprise facility management. Our turnkey warehouse management system includes all the hardware and software required to get you up and running. A customer-first approach, iLobby helps you customize the product to your specific requirements.
Schedule your demo today and discover the iLobby difference.