Does your organisation need a warehouse management system (WMS)? Well – does your organisation have a warehouse? If so, then it is undoubtedly something you should consider.
A WMS does what it says on the tin – it is a software application which manages core warehouse and distribution centre functions. Many of these functions centre on inventory management – keeping track of stock levels and locations, generating ID labels, handling picking sequences and so on. Other functions are likely to relate to planning daily and weekly activity, organising schedules and allocating resource, assigning staff to work functions and areas and ensuring core processes for audit and compliance are completed and documented.
However, to understand how a warehouse management system can add real value to your business – even with a relatively small warehouse – these functions need to be translated into tangible business benefits. Here are some of the areas to consider.
Warehouse management systems increase warehouse productivity over both the short term and the long term. In the short term, they ensure the most efficient possibly picking sequences and inventory management, generating faster turnarounds and effective allocation of staff. Over time, the data and insights that such systems generate enable more proactive steps to reduce regular bottlenecks and optimise both processes and the use of space within the warehouse. A warehouse with an automated WMS is a more productive warehouse.
Enhanced inventory management
From ensuring that levels of stock are kept at the most appropriate levels in line with order volumes and (where relevant) shelf life, to enabling real-time drill-downs into every individual unit, the right WMS will allow you granular detail and control of your warehouse inventory.
Reduced reliance on paper
A WMS can be a key step on the journey to fully digitising a warehouse’s (and the wider business’s) processes, with a raft of associated benefits. Reduced reliance on paper can mean greater accuracy, more centralised and streamlined information management and faster processes.
Optimised customer service
Achieving the highest levels of customer service depends in no small part on being able to fulfil customer orders quickly and accurately. It also depends on being able to rapidly get to the bottom of any problems with an order, by pulling up the precise picking and packing sequence. And if returns and queries are dealt with in the same warehouse, then quality customer service depends on being able to manage those efficiently too. Warehouse management systems support all this, automatically.
Improved staff management
Warehouse management systems don’t just track the movement of inventory around your warehouse – they can also track staff activity. From measuring the productivity of individual staff members, to proactively allocating staff t different areas of the warehouse according to demand, the right software can ensure that your warehouse team is truly optimised, always. These metrics can also empower staff members to feel validated, knowing that their managers are assessing them on the basis of real information, rather than hearsay or assumption. And on a related note, automatic inventory management reduces unfortunate incidents of employee theft too, and prevents unfounded accusations being made.
A competitive edge
All of these factors can add up to giving your organisation a behind-the-scenes advantage over your competition. A smooth, slick warehouse operation keeps customers happy and reduces unnecessary operational costs – and it is remarkably easy to set up.
If you'd like to discuss how SAP Business One can improve your warehousing system then get in touch with APH.