How much visibility do you have into your inventory levels, operational efficiency and staff habits?
Do you have a sneaking suspicion that you could be cutting costs and improving customer service but not sure how?
Of course, all of your warehouse management stakeholders will be reporting and analyzing each step of their processes but this can be time-consuming and leave lags in your ability to act on issues that arise or even to identify areas for improvement. Implementing a robust WMS (Warehouse Management System) can save you time and money so that you can invest both in other areas of the business, keep your supply chain healthy, staff happy and customers loyal.
1. Improved auditing and accountability
Nobody wants to imagine that their staff could be responsible for inventory disappearing but if it does, you need to know who is responsible and how to stop it. Implementing a WMS that gives each user an individual login allows for greater accountability as audit trails link to specific users. This doesn't just help avoid security stock theft. 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 employees.
2. Ensures Just in Time inventory is not ‘Just too Late’
Just in Time inventory management can be a tricky process. The risk of inventory not being delivered when it should can strike fear into the hearts of many an organization. However, when it works, the benefits are minimized waste, obsolescence, warehousing costs and improved cash flow thanks to inventory investments being a steady trickle rather than large batch buys.
One of the most common reasons that Just in Time fails is down to inaccurate planning and demand forecasting. Implementing the right WMS improves trend data collation and analysis so that your inventory is ordered and delivered right when you need it.
Unfortunately, there can always be instances which all of your best planning, analytics and buying cycle insights will not prepare you for. Has a supplier suddenly gone out of business? Has an unusual weather event upset your otherwise perfect logistics? Real-time data from your WMS software can help your employees react appropriately and inform your customers when events beyond your control are impeding your otherwise flawless processes.
Similar benefits ring true for your supplier relationships as dock-to-dock delays on your end can also create an alert so that suppliers are not tapping their feet while waiting for you to meet for collections. Giving great customer service and nurturing supplier relationships is so much easier when you can give accurate information in a timely manner.
3. Continuous process optimization
Do you know if you are making the best use of your warehouse space and labor? Most WMS software allows you to select from multiple picking method algorithms so you can test which gives you optimal results, whether it is wave, discrete, zone or batch.
Enabling staff to carry out their work in the most efficient way can only ever improve morale as targets are met and their time is recognized as giving the best possible value to the business. Warehouse layout and item locations can also be optimized more effectively with fast-moving perishables being placed in the easiest access points and waste is minimized.
Manual tracking and recording on the warehouse floor can be a laborious process. For years, barcodes and RFIDs have been used to feed data into WMS. With new IoT technology, a flexible WMS can integrate with other devices (such as smart scales) to improve warehouse management and free up warehouse staff to focus on picking, loading and keeping your orders being fulfilled in a customer-centric flow.
Each of these improvements help keep your customers, suppliers, staff and board room happy. Reduced costs, customer retention and the potential to win new business from slower, less efficient competitors will give you the edge and a healthy bottom line.
To read more about the benefits WMS can bring, read our latest expert guide!