Every business that sells goods needs a proper warehouse management system in place to organize and control goods. Companies that handle a large volume of stock often need a fulfillment center, distribution center, or a warehouse to store the goods before they can be moved to their final destinations. Effective warehouse management not only helps your business grow multi-folds but also builds customer loyalty.
According to BigCommerce's report, 80% of respondents consider shipping cost and speed to be the most persuasive factor while shopping.
Hence a business needs to have proper Warehouse Management that ensures that costs are reduced significantly and human errors are minimized. Effective warehouse management also ensures that supply chain and logistics function smoothly and delivery times are optimized.
But before we discuss further, let us understand in detail:
Supply chain management ensures an interrupted flow of goods that includes the collection of raw materials, manufacture, and the distribution of the final goods.
Proper warehousing helps in streamlining the entire supply chain management cycle and ensures uninterrupted activities.
Thus, warehouse management is the process of managing and controlling every operation that takes place in a warehouse. These operations include:
Thus, a business needs to have effective warehouse management to ship goods quickly and reduce the turnaround time.
Managing and controlling the movement of stocks in a warehouse is a tedious process that requires a lot of paperwork and manual intervention. Organizations need systems that control and administer warehouse operations when the goods or stock enter a warehouse until they move out.
A Warehouse Management System is software that streamlines the visibility, operations, and management of all the processes that take place inside your warehouse. The fundamental warehouse processes comprise receiving, put-away, storage, picking, packing, and shipping. Optimizing these processes results in a significant cost reduction and reduces many manual errors that used to creep in.
Let's discuss the warehouse management processes in detail:
Receiving is the first process in managing a warehouse and is considered one of the essential processes. To perform receiving properly, the warehouse should verify that the right amount of goods have entered the warehouse, in the correct quantity, and in a suitable condition.
A warehouse must also receive the inventory/freight from trucks at loading points and then store them in a proper location. That means there is also a transfer of responsibility that happens at this stage. The goods must be maintained until they are shipped.
Put-away is the second step that occurs while managing the warehouse and involves moving products from the receiving point to the most optimal warehouse location. Businesses need to allocate a proper place to shift the goods, failing, resulting in productivity losses and increased chances of errors.
An ideal warehouse management software will display a note to the put-away staff about the stock waiting to be transported to an optimal storage location. There are several benefits of having a put-away system in place, which are:
Warehouse management software can deploy spacing and space management systems that automatically assign optimal space for each cargo. Having warehouse management software in place ensures maximum utilization of space and complete streamline of processes.
Storage refers to the warehouse management process where goods/products/stocks are placed in the most optimal space. The main objective of your business should be to utilize the storage space and increase labor efficiency fully.
Having software that correctly calculates the storage utilization space and tracks the optimal storage KPI's can significantly reduce the space wastage that goes around. Slotting optimization systems can help you analyze and determine the best storage location for cargo.
Picking refers to the warehouse process that collects the warehouse products to perform customer delivery. It is the most expensive process in the entire warehouse management cycle and accounts for up to 55% of the total operating expenditure. Thus, optimizing the "picking" process can help your business save a significant amount of cost and increase your warehouse's efficiency.
The use of the right technology can help you optimize the picking process. Mobiles and wearables allow your picking staff to view the picking list wirelessly and enable them to access the data in real-time.
Other ways of optimizing the picking process include ABC Analysis that focuses on improving the warehouse layout and selecting the correct picking methodology.
Packing refers to the process that consolidates all the picked goods in a specific order (sales order) and prepares them for shipment. At this stage, it is essential to take note that damages are as minimized as possible, and all the orders are in place.
Also, the weight of the packages should be less to comply with the packaging costs. Warehouse management software can be used to optimize the packing process. Management software has the necessary data like dimensions, the weight that can be used to calculate the space required to keep the goods safe, and costs low.
Shipping is the last step of warehouse management from where the goods are dispatched for delivery. Successful shipping means that the correct order is sorted and loaded and is sent to the right customer.
A warehouse management software can help you streamline the shipping process by allocating optimum resources for the process while ensuring over and under allocation.
A shipping mobile application lets you access real-time data and can be used to make informed decisions.
Warehouses play a vital role in the logistics support for any business and especially for e-commerce stores. With unprecedented growth in the number of orders, you should efficiently manage your warehouse to increase demand.
A warehouse management system enhances all your warehouse operations with greater accuracy and productivity.
Here are the five ways growing e-commerce stores rely on warehouse management systems:
1. Better inventory management
As your e-commerce store starts getting more and more orders each day, your warehouse should use the right tools and technology to ship more orders each hour.
A good warehouse management system should provide accurate real-time data such as:
Moreover, your warehouse management system should update the correct stock data to marketplaces and shopping carts to avoid overselling.
2. Focus on what's most important - business growth
Warehouse management systems make e-commerce operations faster and more efficient so that you only have to focus on increasing your business by closing more sales.
Your WMS should offer a hassle-free environment by putting automation at your disposal by leveraging the latest technologies. From ensuring maximum operations in your warehouse to forecast future demands from customers, the right WMS tool can do wonders for your e-commerce business.
3. Improved accuracy
When your warehouse handles multiple order queries simultaneously, the system's overall accuracy should be up to the industry standards to avoid the business loss because of inefficiency.
From scanning the products to ensure correct entry of the products in the inventory to sending the automated updates of the package delivery to the customers, a sound warehouse management system should be accurate and agile while handling concurrent requests.
4. Automated workflows
Automation comes at the core of warehouse management. With an excellent warehouse management system, you can configure automated tasks, wave picking, dynamic put-away, cycle counting, etc., for leveraging the true power of automation to increase the overall throughput of your warehouse by manifolds.
5. Multi-Warehouse Order Routing
Today's WMS should work in a muti-warehouse environment for optimized order deliveries to enhance the overall customer experience. Most warehouse management software nowadays automatically picks up the right warehouse for order delivery based on the address provided by the customer. Thus, reducing the total number of days required to ship the order.
1. Connects to all of your stores
Your warehouse management system should connect to your stores so that everything is streamlined and it is easier for your employees to track everything from shipping to business analytics.
Apart from that, one of the main benefits is that it ensures a smooth workflow. Your customers will stay up to date with order details, and your employees can analyze sales trends.
Additionally, it should prioritize orders based on a first-come, first-serve basis or customers who have explicitly requested expedited shipping.
2. Tracks ROI Comprehensively
For every business, tracking ROI is critical for continued growth, and the same goes for your warehouse management system. It should include all the features using which it can demonstrate the ROI of your warehouse.
WMS should be able to track the following details:
3. Compatibility with your warehouse management
Every warehouse is set up based on various factors, and there are chances that warehouse management isn't compatible with yours because of the different hardware at your warehouse.
A sound warehouse management system should harmonize with standard warehouse equipment such as printers, terminals, inventory scanners, or any physical or hand-held devices that you use exclusively.
To get the right WMS, you can connect with their support team and ask for a demo at your warehouse. If they can provide an on-site demo of their WMS, then they can test the software and its compatibility with your hardware.