Picture this: you’ve got hundreds, maybe even thousands, of SKUs stored across multiple warehouse locations. As your business grows, new products are added to your inventory. So far, so good.
Until your warehouse processes start quickly becoming disorganized. You don’t have a warehouse management system so you start losing valuable time and money because your manual processes have led to order fulfillment mistakes
Sound like a nightmare?
Unfortunately, this is the reality for many companies struggling to manage their warehouse operations. What’s the point of storing inventory in a warehouse if the items can’t be found when it’s time to fill a customer’s order?
Updating Out-of-Date Warehouse Processes
Today’s connected consumers want to buy from anywhere, fulfill anywhere, and return anywhere. This ultimately affects every single aspect of your supply chain.
Luckily, technology is reinventing all the traditional warehouse practices, to ensure they align with modern purchasing methods. As industries continue to evolve, businesses need the ability to respond quickly with a Warehouse Management System (WMS) that optimizes order management and order fulfillment.
This blog post lays out everything you need to know about warehouse management systems so you can decide if this is the solution your business has been missing.
The 5 W’s of Warehouse Management Systems
What is a WMS?
A software solution that:
- offers visibility into a business’ entire global supply chain,
- optimizes day-to-day warehouse operations, and
- maximizes return on labor, space, and equipment investments.
Who benefits from a WMS?
Warehouse management software is commonly used to track inventory in the Manufacturing and Retail industries. But WMS solutions are designed to optimize supply chains across a variety of industries, ranging from Aerospace and Automotive to Government, Education, and Healthcare. See your business grow faster than ever by pairing advanced picking, packing and shipping processes with the ability to integrate with unlimited shipping partners and clients.
Thanks to Clear Spider, Fidelitone increased their sales and revenue by improving their client relations and retention and decreasing their inventory costs. Read more about this case study to see how Clear Spider makes it possible to achieve total visibility of your entire supply chain.
Where do traditional warehouse practices fall short?
Insufficient Item Visibility within the Warehouse
Poor visibility and improper inventory management go hand in hand. Together these challenges lead to a series of common inefficiencies: damaged and misplaced inventory, overstocked items eating up valuable warehouse space, and stockouts of items leading to lost sales. Ensure there is no lag in your inventory data by tracking inventory in real-time, rather than relying on end-of-day or mid-day data updates.
Inefficient Use of Warehouse Space
The biggest challenge businesses face with warehouse management is space utilization. Optimizing your warehouse layout can save you the cost of buying additional warehouses and also reduce your labor costs. A WMS will identify your fastest-selling inventory so you can create a “golden zone” near the loading station for your most in-demand products. Additionally, your WMS will assign and track batch numbers for groups of similar items stored together, making picking and packing processes more efficient.
Inefficient Manual Processes
Eliminating manual processes is the first step to running an efficient warehouse because accurate data is at the center of all effective warehouse operations. A WMS alters how you collect and analyze data, by automating processes to reduce costly human errors. Stay up-to-date on order fulfillment performance measures like total mis-picks, mis-packs, number of orders filled per hour, orders shipped on time, etc.
Inefficient warehouse processes prevent you from meeting your customers’ expectations. Without a WMS, inaccurate order fulfillment and shipping delays force customers to turn to competitors for better service. With strategies like efficient pick paths, multi-order picking, and dispatching orders from the warehouse located closest to the customer, you’ll see an increase in both order fulfillment rates and accuracy, as well as customer loyalty.
Why is a WMS worth the investment?
Many companies quickly discover that warehouse management systems pay for themselves when used effectively. How well you manage your warehouse affects how smoothly the rest of your supply chain runs. WMS solutions deliver rapid business value by developing strategic warehouse processes that maximize customer value, increase sales, and ultimately improve your bottom line.
Cost-Saving Benefits of Warehouse Management Systems:
- boosted warehouse productivity through an optimized layout
- faster order fulfillment making it possible to handle larger volumes of orders
- higher order accuracy rate improving brand loyalty
- efficient picking and packing processes decreasing delivery times
- automating key warehouse processes to reduce labor costs
When will you see the results of your WMS?
A number of key features make it possible for a WMS to provide real-time visibility, scalability, and market reactivity, almost immediately. Connected consumers have challenging demands. Cloud-based warehouse management systems meet those demands with a connected fulfillment solution.
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WMS Key Features
Cloud-based systems are configured to match your business’s workflow and require no software or hardware installations. Roll-out happens quickly so you can ramp up your supply chain management without much delay.
Cloud-based systems don’t need to be maintained by IT specialists. With the lower maintenance and implementation costs, a WMS has a lower total cost of ownership, preserving your profit margins.
Today’s global market demands speed. This need can’t be met with time-consuming manual processes. Instead, the WMS will automate warehouse processes like tracking inventory and cycle counting, create more efficient pick-and-pack paths, and streamline order fulfillment processes with scanning technology.
Technology is paving the way for industries to become highly competitive. To succeed, your supply chain will have to be as well. When you choose the Clear Spider Warehouse Management System, your inventory management and tracking abilities will extend beyond the warehouse to drive efficient operations at every step of your supply chain. Customers have higher expectations than ever, so it’s essential that you get ahead of any potential problems.