The Past, Present, and Future of Warehouse Management System

By May 10, 2022 No Comments

The Past, Present, and Future of Warehouse Management System-3PLNext Blog

Source: multichannelmerchant.com

A warehouse management system (WMS)  is a software solution that helps streamline the warehouse’s daily operations. From early civilisation till the twentieth century, warehousing practices are almost the same with no notable change. But it remained part and parcel of human life from the very beginning. Later with the impeccable advancement of science and technology, it evolved into a very organised form called WMS.

WMS allows managers to manage and track inventory from a centralised solution. It ranges from simple to very complex forms. A WMS is the backbone of the industry’s supply chain, without which companies cannot achieve an efficient fulfilment process. According to statics, about 83% of warehousing and logistics providers reported using a WMS.

With the fast-paced technological advancement and invention of new technologies like AI and IoT, there is an unparalleled modification in current WMS systems. We have to dive deep into the WMS system’s past, present, and future to understand its impacts on businesses.

This article will surely help you clarify how WMS will revolutionise the modern supply chains resulting in unprecedented growth and efficiency.

This article contains the following information:

Introduction to the WMS

A Tour to the Past

Why Do You Need Warehouse Management Systems

Present WMS practices

Benefits of WMS for Businesses Today

Types of Warehouse Management Systems

  • Traditional WMS
  • Cloud-based WMS

Future of Warehouse Management Systems

Latest Trends in WMS

  • Automation
  • Integration
  • Cloud-based solutions
  • Mobile apps
  • Big data

How to Choose The Right WMS For Your Business Needs

  • Scalability
  • Functionality
  • Integration
  • Support
  • Cost
  • Read Reviews
  • Think about implementation


Introduction to the WMS

A warehouse management system (WMS) consists of software and processes that most efficiently and cost-effectively manage and move materials and goods through the warehouse. It handles multiple operations from inventory tacking to picking and receiving to put away. In detail, its functions are:

  • WMS tracks and allocates specific locations to store prods and goods.
  • Schedule product moves, record inbound receipts and put them away.
  • Plan routes and outbound orders of products and also manage inventory counts.
  • Mange works on assignments and plans tasks and areas.
  • Allocate labour to specific tasks by activity and area.
  • Monitor performance of labour and equipment conditions.

There are very few businesses that apply full-fledged and dedicated WMS. Others rely on the order management department, ERP, and routine accounting software (RAS). These systems have limited warehousing and inventory tracking capabilities. Their capabilities are sometimes supplemented by add-on modules like product tracking, standard work tools, and workforce planning.

A Tour to the Past

Source: control.com

Although inventory management and warehousing had been around for thousands of years in their very basic form, the Industrial Revolution improved these systems at an astonishing rate. In the 19th and 20th centuries, long-distance trade increased with the advent of the railway, telegraph, and other facilities. Goods could be transported from one part of the country to the other in weeks instead of months. Production and innovation time decreased while efficiency increased.

For businesses to stay on top, process time should be cut as low as possible to reduce wait times. When materials and goods started to get soft, warehouses sent telegraphs to factories, mines, and other resource suppliers to keep the input flow running without any shutdown. In 1925 introduction of vertical pallet racks further multiplied the optimisation of storage capacity. Also, in the following year idea of a forklift was introduced to move these racks—this further increased efficiency.

1967 brought the computerised information system to manage order entries, translation details, and warehouse management. In 1971 Walmart opened distribution centres, further creating space for new additions for the supply chain management. Further moving ahead, in 1974, UPC barcodes were used in Wrigley’s chewing gum. These codes changed the way products were stored previously. Now there was no need to remember attributes of products to remember their storage number and space. This barcode contained all information in itself.

In 1988, Walmart again introduced cross doc scheduling to mitigate inefficiencies of scheduling, storage, and reduction of put-away time. It significantly reduced distribution costs. The 1990s marked the tremendous growth of logistics management after introducing enterprise-resource planning (ERP). This software introduced better planning and integration among different components of logistics. Now the 21st century is a cloud-based paperless warehousing and management century.

Why Do You Need Warehouse Management Systems?

Warehouse management systems (WMS) help businesses keep track of inventory levels, locations, and other vital information. In the past, this was all done manually with paper records. But as companies have grown, the need for a more efficient way to manage warehouses has become apparent. WMS software provides real-time visibility into inventory and helps businesses optimise their operations.

There are many benefits of using a warehouse management system. Perhaps the most important is that it can help businesses save time and money. By automating tasks like order picking and inventory tracking, companies can free up employees to do other jobs. WMS can also help businesses avoid stock-outs and lost sales by providing accurate information about inventory levels.

WMS can help businesses comply with government regulations. Many WMS software packages include lot tracking and expiration date management to help companies meet regulatory requirements.

Despite these benefits, some challenges are associated with implementing a warehouse management system. One challenge is the cost of the software and hardware required to run the system. Additionally, WMS can be complex to set up and configure, and it may require special training for employees who will be using the system. Finally, because WMS relies on accurate data, warehouses must have good data quality practices to ensure that the system is working correctly.

Despite the challenges you may encounter, warehouse management systems can be a valuable tool for businesses that need to improve their inventory management. When choosing a WMS, companies should consider the cost of the software and hardware, the complexity of the system, and the data quality practices of the warehouse. With careful planning and implementation, a warehouse management system can help businesses streamline their operations and improve their bottom line.

Present WMS Practices

Source: techtarget.com

All the above-discussed systems are outdated now. Though we still use forklifts, pallets, and racks, the techniques are much more advanced and efficient. Today’s WMS connects warehouse inventory to all areas of the supply chain. One can access it online or through the cloud. 3PL Central Built a 3PL  warehouse manager who was the first WMS and has served as a leader in the industry ever since.

It operates by providing a central location to store all the information so multiple people can access it online. It reduces tracking and recording time by ten folds, thus saving thousands of labour hours annually. The most important attributes of modern warehouse management systems are their efficiency, fast processing, and accuracy.

More importantly, modern WMS provides an all-in-one solution to access all the software and platforms. The changes in technology and how businesses operate have significantly impacted warehouse management practices. Today’s warehouses are often highly automated and designed to meet the needs of a global market. These changes have made warehouse management more complex and challenging, and more important than ever before.

Benefits of WMS for Businesses Today


Source: wmsengine.com

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software application that helps warehouses and distribution centres to manage their inventory, track shipments, and optimise their overall operations. A WMS can be used to improve the efficiency of your warehouse by reducing labour costs, improving accuracy, and increasing visibility into your inventory levels.

There are many benefits of using a WMS in your warehouse or distribution centre. Perhaps the most crucial advantage is that a WMS can help to improve your overall operations by reducing lalabourosts, improving accuracy, and increasing visibility into your inventory levels. You can save money on your general operating expenses by lowering labour costs.

In addition, by improving accuracy, you can eliminate the need for manual data entry and reduce the chances of errors. Finally, by increasing visibility into your inventory levels, you can better manage your stock levels and ensure that you have the right products in stock.

In short, a warehouse management system can help you run your warehouse or distribution centre more efficiently and effectively. If you are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your operation, a WMS may be the right solution for you.

Types of Warehouse Management Systems Today

There are two main types of warehouse management systems (WMS) in use today: traditional and cloud-based. Traditional WMS is installed on a company’s servers, while a third-party provider hosts cloud-based WMS. Cloud-based WMS offer many advantages over conventional systems, including lower upfront costs, scalability, and easier maintenance.

Traditional WMS can be complex and expensive to implement and maintain. They often require dedicated hardware and software and can be challenging to integrate with other business systems. Cloud-based WMS are typically much simpler to set up and manage and can be easily integrated with other cloud-based applications.

Cloud-based WMS also offer the advantage of being scalable, so they can grow as your business needs change. Traditional WMS can be difficult to scale as they require the purchase of additional hardware and software licenses. Cloud-based WMS can be quickly and easily scaled up or down to meet changing needs.

Finally, cloud-based WMS offer significant advantages in terms of maintenance and support. Because a third-party provider hosts them, it handles all software updates and security patches. This frees up your IT staff to focus on other tasks and ensures that your system is constantly updated.

Future of Warehouse Management Systems

Source: openPR.com

As technology evolves, warehouse management systems (WMS) will help businesses keep track of their inventory and fulfil orders. In the future, these systems will only become more sophisticated and user-friendly, incorporating features that make them even easier to use and more efficient.

One such feature that we can expect to see in future WMS solutions is the ability to reorder items when they reach a certain low level automatically. This would take away the need for human intervention and help to ensure that stock levels are always kept at optimum levels, reducing the risk of running out of items.

Another exciting development that we may see in future WMS solutions is the ability to integrate with other business systems, such as accounting and CRM software. This would provide businesses with a complete overview of their operations, making it easier to make informed decisions about how to run their warehouse.

Ultimately, the future of warehouse management systems is looking very bright indeed. We can expect to see even more powerful and user-friendly solutions that help businesses streamline their operations and improve their bottom line with continued advances in technology.

Latest Trends in WMS

The latest trends in warehouse management systems are all about increasing efficiency and productivity. By automating tasks and integrating with other business systems, warehouses can run more smoothly and effectively. Here are some of the top trends to watch out for:

  1. Automation

As robots become more sophisticated, they are increasingly used in warehouses to automate tasks such as picking and packing orders. This saves time and labour and reduces errors, and increases accuracy.

  1. Integration

Warehouse management systems are now integrated with other business systems such as accounting and inventory management. This allows for better data sharing and coordination between different departments.

  1. Cloud-based solutions

Cloud-based warehouse management systems are becoming more popular as they offer flexibility and scalability. This means that businesses can easily add or remove users and functionality as needed without investing in expensive hardware.

  1. Mobile apps

Mobile apps are being used more and more to manage warehouses. They offer a convenient way to track inventory, place orders, and view real-time data.

  1. Big data

Warehouses generate large amounts of data from various sources such as sensors, barcodes, and RFID tags. By analysing data, businesses can gain insights into their operations and make improvements accordingly.

How to Choose The Right WMS For Your Business Needs

It’s no secret that a well-run warehouse is essential to the success of any business. But with so many different warehouse management systems (WMS) on the market, how do you choose the right one for your needs? Here are a few things to consider when selecting a WMS:

  1. Scalability

As your business grows, you’ll need a WMS that can scale to meet your increasing demands. Make sure to choose a system that can grow with you.

  1. Functionality

There are many different features to consider when it comes to warehouse management systems. Make sure to choose a plan with all the features you need and none that you don’t.

  1. Integration

Your WMS should be able to integrate with your other business systems, such as your accounting and inventory management systems. This will make your life much easier and save you time and money in the long run.

  1. Support

When something goes wrong with your WMS, you’ll want to ensure you have access to quality support. Choose a system that comes with 24/7 support to get help when you need it.

  1. Cost

Of course, the cost is always a factor to consider when choosing any business system. But don’t let price be the only deciding factor. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. Make sure to select a system that’s both affordable and meets all your other needs.

  1. Read Reviews

Don’t forget to read the reviews before you make your decision. There are a lot of warehouse management systems out there – and not all of them are created equal. Check out what other businesses have to say about the different options before making your final choice.

  1. Think about implementation

Another essential thing to keep in mind is implementation. How easy will it be to get your new WMS up and to run? Will you need to train your staff on how to use it? The last thing you want is a WMS that’s so complicated that no one can figure out how to use it. Make sure you choose a user-friendly system that won’t take forever to implement.



Warehouse management systems are evolving to meet the needs of modern businesses. As technology advances, so does the functionality and capability of warehouse management systems. The warehouse management’s past, present, and future look promising for small and large businesses alike. If you are in the market for a new warehouse management system or looking to upgrade your current system, consider the latest advancements to stay ahead of the competition.

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