Implementing a warehouse management system (WMS) is the first step to improving the efficiency of any distribution processes. However, according to a recent study by Software Advice, 35% of businesses still rely on manual methods to manage their warehouse operations. If you need to justify getting a WMS for your company, here are four good points to bring up.
1. You must adapt to our ‘need it now’ culture in order to stay competitive
There’s no two ways about it - the role that the warehouse plays in any industry is changing rapidly. Consumer expectations have been ramped up by a 'need it now' culture, setting high standards for logistics companies to live up to.
Customers are also less loyal than ever before, and most will be prepared to take their business elsewhere if they experience less-than-ideal order fulfilment. In order to perform in such a competitive environment, all modern warehouses must be responsive and reliable. The right WMS can help to make this happen.
2. There’s been a SKU Explosion
According to Supply & Demand Chain Executive, the average warehouse has gone from having only hundreds of stock-keeping units (SKUs) to several thousands within the past few years. Companies must now source small batches with a huge number of different products - and customers want them all delivered fast. As a result, efficient receipting, put away and picking is much more difficult, and warehouses need much tighter inventory control.
Just as the explosion of SKUs adds complexity, a WMS can strip complexity away. This software naturally ensures accuracy and precision, and tracks inventory as it moves through the warehouse. The result of this is greater operational efficiency for warehouse managers, who gain situational awareness and control over their working environment.
3. The right software can support warehouse technologies
Not all our customers have automated warehouses, but those that do can face unique challenges when it comes to implementing supply chain technology.
Jack Allen, senior director of logistics and manufacturing solutions for Cisco, recently explained: “I walk through a lot of warehouses where people are enamoured with the mechanical technology. But… it’s not about mechanical automation: It’s about software.”
However much investment you make into the latest warehouse technologies, you won’t be able to reap the rewards unless you find the right WMS which can fully support this advanced functionality.
4. Make sure your WMS can reach outside your four walls
In the event that you already have a WMS in place, there are often still improvements that can be made. Any existing WMS should be able to integrate with other supply chain software, outside of the 4 walls of the physical warehouse. For example:
- Can you get electronic Advanced Shipping Notices from suppliers to speed up receipting?
- Can you import customer orders electronically, rather than entering them by hand?
- Can you link electronically to your couriers or even your own transport fleet?
- If you operate a bonded warehouse, are your HMRC returns electronic?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you are probably doing two things - falling behind the competition and wasting money. There are other ways to justify getting a modern WMS, but these four are good for starters. If you'd like to learn more, our expert consultants would be more than happy to help.