Introduction to Warehouse Management


A warehouse management system (WMS) is a key part of the supply chain and primarily aims to control the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and process the associated transactions, including shipping, receiving, putaway and picking.

More precisely, warehouse management involves the receipt, storage and movement of goods, (normally finished goods), to intermediate storage locations or to a final customer. In the multi-echelon model for distribution, there may be multiple levels of warehouses. This includes a central warehouse, a regional warehouses (serviced by the central warehouse) and potentially retail warehouses (serviced by the regional warehouses)


Pick and pack is a part of a complete supply chain management process that is commonly used in the retail distribution of goods. It entails processing small to large quantities of product, often truck or train loads and disassembling them, picking the relevant product for each destination and re-packaging with shipping label affixed and invoice included. Usual service includes obtaining a fair rate of shipping from common as well as expediting truck carriers.
Pick and Pack services are offered by many businesses that specialize in supply chain management solutions.
Case picking is the gathering of full cartons or boxes of product. This is often done on a pallet. In the consumer products industry, case picking large quantities of cartons is often an entry level employee's task. There is, however, significant skill required to make a good pallet load of product. Key requirements are that cartons not be damaged, they make good use of the available cube (space) and be quick to assemble.
Warehouse management system products create pick paths to minimize the travel distance of an order selector, but often neglect the need to maximize the use of cube, segregate products that should not touch or minimize damage.

Wave picking

Wave picking is a term for a process used in a warehouse management system to describe a process to support managing the work of a warehouse or distribution center. Wave picking is an application of short interval scheduling, to assign the workload into intervals (waves) to allow management to coordinate the several parallel and sequential activities to complete the work. 

There are two basic planning elements and benefits of wave picking.[1]
  1. To organize the sequence of orders and assignment to waves, consistent with routing, loading and planned departure times of shipping vehicles or production requirements, etc., to reduce the space required for shipping dock handling to assemble orders and load; and
  2. To assign staff to each wave and function within a wave, with the expectation that all the work assigned to each wave will be completed within the wave period, providing management with the ability to monitor and manage performance throughout the day, and respond in a timely way to problems that occur, and more effectively utilize the staffing throughout the shift.

Additional benefits of wave picking include the improved ability to
  1. measure productivity within a function;
  2. budget labor;
  3. estimate the throughput capacity based on staffing levels;
  4. evaluate the impact of changes in methods and equipment by function;
  5. provide feedback regarding performance; and
  6. better understand the nature of the workload as it changes seasonally, as a consequence of demand, and as a consequence of sales efforts and marketing campaigns.

Oracle WMS.

Oracle Warehouse Management System (WMS) is an advanced inventory module with lot of efficient, unique and enhanced features that improves productivity of distribution centers, manufacturing and inventory handing processes. It supports manual data entry, data entry through barcode scanning and through RFID too.

It enables organizations to maximize their utilization of labor, space and equipment investments by coordinating and optimizing resource usage and material flows across a global supply chain on a single platform.

Key Business Processes supported by Oracle WMS are:

  • Inbound Logistics (Receiving from Supplier, Returns, Corrections)
  • Outbound Logistics (Picking, Packing, Shipping)
  • Reverse Logistics (Customer Returns)
  • Stocking and Internal Inventory Movements
  • WIP JOB Assembly completion, Component issues