There are many benefits a warehouse management system (WMS) can bring to your business as it has the ability to integrate with your inventory management, returns, order fulfillment and accounting to ensure you have a more efficient way of working. This ensures you see cost savings, reduced errors and improved customer service within your business, whilst increasing transparency across your supply chain.
Read on to discover the main benefits of warehouse management systems.
#1. Efficient Inventory Counts
Completing inventory counts using a barcode scanner to scan a location, and all the products within that location, results in a completed list that can then be reviewed, accepted, or rejected before updating your core inventory levels.
But there is also the opportunity to improve your processes even further with cycle counts, which are more focused lists of batches of inventory that need counting. Some of the best cycle counts to use are high risk, high value and the ABC method.
#2. Reduced Mispicks
Scanning barcodes to pick, pack, and ship goods reduces the risk of mispicks occurring within your business, as staff won’t be required to manually enter barcode numbers or SKUs and other product identifiers.
Furthermore, by using a fully fledged warehouse management system, your staff will be notified immediately if they do scan the wrong item, enabling them to correct their mistake as it happens, as opposed to later on down the line, or worse, after the item has already been shipped to the customer.
#3. Efficient Goods-in
The ability to scan products by barcode also enables an efficient goods-in process within your business.
Each time you scan a product, this will be synchronized with your purchase orders, speeding up your put away time. It also means that your staff won’t have to waste time on double data entry.
#4. Quick Returns Processing
Did you know that, on average, it takes 7 employees to touch a returned order before it’s completed? That’s too much time and resource spent on an activity that doesn’t promote increased revenue.
As mentioned earlier, most warehouse management systems will allow your staff to be able to scan goods into the warehouse using barcode scanners. But an integrated WMS is also linked to your sales order management system as well as your accounts data, ensuring your inventory, financials, and orders are all updated in real-time.
#5. Faster Product Delivery
In today’s competitive climate, more and more customers expect retailers to provide them with quick and accurate shipping. In fact, a recent study by Internet Retailer, found that 45 percent of customers reported that “fast shipping” to them means delivery within just 2 to 4 days.
A robust WMS can easily help you cut your business’s shipping times as it has the ability to integrate with order fulfillment, shipping and carrier management systems.
Furthermore, by automating all of this, you’ll get the quickest process and conserve time that would otherwise be spent updating and exchanging information across systems. Ultimately, this provides your customers with the fast product delivery that they’ve become conditioned to expect.
#6. Reduced Processing Costs
If it takes less time to process orders and receive deliveries, thanks to barcode scanning and robust integrations, then it’s inevitable that staff will spend less time on unnecessary admin, products will be picked and packed quicker, and productivity levels will be significantly increased - meaning your processing costs will be drastically reduced.
By calculating how much it’s currently costing you to ship orders out of the door (aka your processing cost per order), you will be able to estimate just how much return on investment you could receive from implementing a warehouse management system.
#7. Improved Customer Satisfaction
With all of your data and systems in one place, you’ll greatly improve customer satisfaction. The customer-facing teams within your business, who may very well be in another part of the building, or on a completely different site, will be able to quickly see exactly where an order or return is in your workflow, ensuring they can answer customer questions quickly and accurately.
Furthermore, as a result of your employees wasting less time dealing with operational glitches and human error, you’ll be able to save money that would otherwise be spent on unnecessary staff costs.
Decreasing the rate of operational errors also means less lost customers, and with less shipping anomalies happening, customer service issues can be more immediately addressed.
#8. Improved Auditing & Accountability
Although nobody wants to believe that their staff could be responsible for lost inventory, if this does happen, you need to be able to see who is responsible and how to prevent it from happening again.
Implementing a WMS gives each staff member their own individual login, which enables greater accountability as audit trails link to specific users.
This doesn’t just help to avoid security inventory theft, but it can also highlight process and training issues, which, in turn, gives you the opportunity to address and improve best practice and compliance among all of your employees.
#9. Continuous Process Optimization
Currently, how do you know you’re making the best use of your warehouse space and staff time? Without a WMS in place, knowing this and deciding where and how to make improvements can often be tricky and time consuming.
Most warehouse software enables you to select from multiple picking method algorithms, so you can test which one gives you optimal results, whether it’s by wave, discrete, zone or batch. And by analyzing which method works best for you and your business, you can also establish how best to optimize the layout of your warehouse.
#10. Data-Driven Decisions
The most powerful warehouse management systems can integrate with your inventory availability and sales channels ensuring all of your data is in real-time.
This enables you to quickly identify potential inventory issues, as well as allowing you to effectively report on your warehouse team’s productivity. Your decisions can then be both data-driven and responsive, promoting efficiency and scalability at every turn.
The advice found in this blog has been adapted from our recent guide ‘How to choose the right warehouse management system’.
The guide provides you with a detailed overview of everything you’ll need to consider when choosing, purchasing and implementing a warehouse management system within your business, including:
- When you should consider purchasing a warehouse management system
- The benefits you’ll see from implementing one
- The warehouse management features you should look out for
- The questions you should ask prospective WMS vendors
- What you need to know before implementing a WMS
- What kind of costs are associated with a new system
- Additional fulfillment and warehousing apps you’ll find useful
Download the guide today and find out how to choose the right warehouse management system for your retail or wholesale business.