Tier 3 warehouse management systems form the baseline for true WMS systems. Tier 3 WMS products combine the features of a standard inventory management system (IMS) with functions such as wave picking, zone picking, cross-docking, and directed put-away. Tier 3 applications may also offer serial number tracking, lot number tracking, or pallet tracking. Many Tier 3 systems allow warehouse personnel to create work orders, identify finished goods, and print shipping labels. Inventory valuation methods include first in, first out (FIFO) and last in, last out (LIFO). They are more robust than IMS systems, and offer scalability into larger systems as a company’s needs grow. Typically, a Tier 3 WMS will have all the features of an Inventory Management System (IMS) plus these additional features:
Tier 3 WMS Features:
- Serial Number Tracking
- Lot Number Tracking
- FIFO (First In, First Out)
- LIFO (Last In, First Out)
- Directed Put-Away: The WMS has rules to determine where received product must go
- Wave Picking: Typically used where trucks are loaded by stops. The last stop is picked first, next to last stop picked second, etc.
- Zone Picking: order picking method where a warehouse is divided into several pick zones, order pickers are assigned to a specific zone and only pick the items in that zone, orders are moved from one zone to the next (usually on conveyor systems) as they are picked (also known as “pick-and-pass”).
- LP (License Plating): Each pallet has a unique ID and the WMS understands what product is on that pallet.
- BOM (Bill Of Material): – allows for a single part number to represent multiple parts that make up a Kit.
- Work Order: used in manufacturing environments where inventory is pulled to be moved into manufacturing. Typically parts that are pulled into manufacturing are referred to as “Raw Goods”. Products that are manufactured and then moved back into a WMS are usually referred to as “Finished Goods”. For example, a BOM can define the Raw Goods required to build a Finished Good.
- Cross Docking: Product is received and then immediately shipped. The product is never actually Put Away into the WMS.
- Pallet Tracking: Related to LP
- Compliance Shipping Labels
- Multiple Units of Measure: – Used when product can be handled by different UOM. For example, product may be received in by the Case, but picked and shipped by the Each. Traditional UOM is three levels for most products:
- Case or Carton
- Each or Piece
A Tier 3 solution also typically includes some level of integration into an existing Accounting or ERP system.
DecisionPoint provides supply chain software products and consulting services to businesses in a range of industries. Contact DecisionPoint Systems, Inc. to learn more about WMS products.