Whether a business is in the retail, warehousing or distribution sector, adequate warehouse management becomes necessary at a certain point. As your business grows and keeps growing, your warehouse and company will face many different challenges:
- Losing money and time running on-demand stock counts and checks
- Wrong quantities or even wrong products sent to customers
- Customers that want “live” visibility
- Constantly having to sort through boxes of papers and spreadsheets to find a history of movements
- Losing time for calculating charges for your customer invoices
A good warehouse management system can help you resolve these and many other issues, as well as bring various other benefits for your organization. As a business grows, both horizontally and vertically, warehouse organization becomes wider and more complex and hence, more difficult to manage.
Your warehouse is an integral component of your customers’ buying experience. Ensuring that products which have been ordered are in stock and customers get what they want is important for providing good customer service. When businesses grow, they tend to focus more on finding new customers instead of retaining existing ones and improving their experience – a costly mistake in the long-run.WMS also make organizing and tracking shipments easier through automation. Shipment routes, worker assignments, and paths are all more easily managed and tracked. This automation of information and real-time tracking all leads to increased accuracy and a lower number of customer service calls.
Deciding which to use
Before you choose a warehouse management system (WMS), you will need to determine what is crucial for your growing company and its clients, as well as find the key business issues that should be resolved by moving to a warehouse management system. For example, some of those issues are:
- How fast should a transition to the new WMS be?
- How big is your budget?
- Do you operate in different environments such as a cool store, ambient, racked and bulk storage, small bin, or stock split over multiple warehouses?
Not all warehouse management systems solve the same problems – for instance, companies like CartonCloud offer WMS’s for streamlining the workflow. It is always difficult to find a system that resolves all your issues while still being within your budget or available time.
Improving warehouse appearance and supplier confidence
As your business grows, your warehouse will become messier and more disorganized, leaving a bad impression on potential clients and suppliers. Some companies implemented a WMS precisely because they want their future partners to be more willing to work with them. Worry about having an organized-looking warehouse might seem counterintuitive, but it can go a long way toward impressing your suppliers and maintaining a healthy relationship with them. If a supplier walks around your warehouse and the only thing they see is a cluttered mess, they likely won’t trust that you will represent their product well, get orders out of the door accurately and in the right time, or meet any of their requirements.
Improved inventory visibility
Inventoryvisibility is one of the first things you will have problems with as your business starts to expand. Warehouse management solutions provide “live” data on your inventory through serial numbers, barcoding and RFID tagging. All of these processes allow you to document each item as it comes into the warehouse, all of its movement inside it, as well as its movement during transportation from one location to the next.This kind of visibility is needed for building demand forecasts, which give you insights into which products are more popular with customers during particular times of the year. This, in turn, will enable you to determine which products to invest in and which are losing their share of the market. Moreover, increased traceability of your inventory is also helpful in the case of a recall.
These are just some of the examples of how a warehouse management system can bring discipline and efficiency to a growing business. If you’re already facing some of the issues mentioned here, it may be high time to consider a warehouse management system or an upgrade of your own.