Modern technology is continually being introduced into the Logistics Industry to keep businesses on top of consumer demands and drive growth. As this technology continues to develop, ecommerce booms, facilitating a higher frequency of small online orders, which subsequently requires warehouse management technology to provide improved, efficient, and accurate strategies for order picking and despatching.
Whilst some companies may still rely on paper based operational systems; for companies selling products online, a warehouse management system (WMS) – preferably integrated to the front-end ordering system on the website – is now essential. With higher transaction volumes and greater customer expectations, the productivity and efficiency of a facility can be improved significantly. Without the right system, preventable and costly errors can occur.
The core functionality of a WMS is to support warehouse staff to accurately guide inventory through receiving, put-away, picking, packing and shipping; and as such, the primary decider for choosing a WMS should be based on the objective of delivery to the end customer, improved accuracy, and right first time, to ultimately improve internal efficiencies.
Whether you are sourcing software to automate your warehouse operations for the first time, or to upgrade to a more robust warehousing system; adequate research should be conducted, prior to selecting the most suitable WMS solution to fit your environment. To be successful, a good piece of software should not only accommodate your company’s present activity, but also address scalability to accommodate future business growth.
So just what are the benefits of a WMS?
There are many variations of WMS software available; however, sometimes simple is better. Choosing an intuitive system, can work to boost staff’s adoption of the new software. A WMS which enables employees to experience efficient task allocation, can boost employee autonomy, and present better accuracy in their work; which in turn can works to increase productivity and overall optimisation within the warehouse. Additionally, a good WMS should not only support staff, but also be able to support multiple picking methods. For example, introducing new or improved automation management technology to your warehouse such as carousels, conveyors, or reach trucks, can be a powerful tool for increasing competitiveness in a challenging market. A good WMS will effectively integrate these islands of technology – maximising total warehouse efficiency; make sure your investment is used wisely.
Improved Supplier and Customer interaction
Versatility and accessibility should be key considerations when selecting a WMS. A piece of software which is widely accepted and accessible by both your customers and suppliers – for example a browser-based interface – will ensure that connectivity and productivity are continuously supported, which will in turn improve process efficiency, and facility performance. Different modules may include complete back-office integration with Order Entry, inventory control, and purchase orders.
Demand Planning and Advanced Reporting
Priority should be given to WMS’s which enable your facility to achieve best warehouse practice, including provision of comprehensive performance reports, and real-time inventory updates, to distinguish increased productivity, from processes which still require improvement. Not only can this benefit the dayto- day running of your facility, but can be especially useful in peak seasonality periods, which require a high-degree inventory management.
Safe and Secure
The pros of a software-based system to manage your facility, can outweigh the cons of paper-based operations management. Not only in terms of data back-up, but also when considering support for eCommerce capability (including web store integration). An ideal WMS solution will support electronic data interchange (EDI) integration and be able to automatically transmit order information into the warehouse system or the accounting database, facilitating integration with vendor and supplier systems, to run a consistent and connected operation.
So which is most suitable for your facility? Rapid and continual implementation of an infinite amount of futuristic developments including but not limited to warehouse automation, robotic picking, and fully automated warehouses, all mean that smaller regional warehouses are at risk of soon being replaced by the warehouse of the future.
Gideon Hillman Consulting pride themselves on always endeavouring to undertake the widest review possible to ensure elements of your warehouse, picking and despatch processes are not ‘sub-optimised’. All our analysis and solutions are specific to your requirements, costed, tested and presented with clear and concise rationale. Whether you are looking for a warehouse review, and WMS support, or just advice on the best WMS for your company, the GH Consulting team look forward to helping you succeed in choosing the best warehouse management system for your organisation.
GIDEON HILLMAN CONSULTING
Tel: 01926 430 883