Warehouse management is the process, control, and optimization of warehouse operations from the entry of inventory into a warehouse — or multiple warehouses — until items are moved, sold, or consumed.
In the most general sense, these operations revolve around receiving and shipping.
Poorly-managed warehouses run into a host of problems, all of which impact profitability:
None of this is good for business. If warehouse operations aren’t in order, it becomes near-impossible to serve customers, vendors, and your own organization. Smart warehouse management, particularly the right warehouse management software (WMS), lets you do more while working less.
In saving time, money, and energy, you can reinvest these resources into spurring your business to further growth. Throughout this guide, we’ll take a close look at everything that goes into effective warehouse management. Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, let’s spell out some of the basics first.
What’s the difference between inventory management and warehouse management? While the two terms overlap, there are key differences between inventory management and warehouse management.
Inventory management is focused solely on the actual items being held within a warehouse. As a part of your supply chain, inventory management includes aspects such as controlling and overseeing purchases — from suppliers as well as customers — maintaining the storage of stock, controlling the amount of product for sale, and order fulfillment.
Warehouse management, in contrast, is more concerned with the “journey” of individual items as they flow through the warehouse from receipt to shipment.
Here, we’re looking at the people, equipment, and other resources being used at different stages — and how they all come together.