Let’s face it – managing a warehouse or distribution center is hard work. Every day you are faced with unique challenges common to the warehouse environment, such as delivery and scheduling challenges, product shortages, supplier issues, and equipment malfunctions. How you respond to these challenges can determine your company’s longevity in your market, so it’s important to invest in technology that will not only ease these challenges but also prevent them. Warehouse management software (WMS) is one of those tools.
If your distribution or manufacturing company is not currently using warehouse management software to manage your operation, it’s time to start considering it. WMS will streamline your operations, give your executives greater visibility into the warehouse, and allow you to solve complex challenges unique to your warehouse or distribution center. Take a look at the following ways WMS can ease the five most common warehouse challenges:
Challenge: Inventory Accuracy
Despite the availability of technology, many warehouses are still operating under a paper and pen-based system. Manufacturers and distributors who rely on paper to track their inventory are at a disadvantage. Without some kind of automated system, they have no way of knowing what is truly in stock at any given moment. This can lead to inventory inaccuracies, resulting in product excess or shortages.
With WMS, manufacturers and distributors have real-time information on their inventory levels. This allows them to properly plan for their inventory needs and helps them more accurately forecast for the future. Excess inventory can lead to cash flow issues, create warehouse space concerns, and increase maintenance expenses while inventory shortages can lead to unfulfilled orders and unhappy customers. Both are detrimental to the warehouse, and both can be solved through the implementation of a warehouse management system.
Challenge: Space Utilization
The layout of your warehouse matters greatly. If you are not optimizing storage systems, racks and pallet patterns, you are wasting valuable space. Research shows that inefficient warehouse layouts directly impact labor. Because the space is not utilized properly, your employees have to put forth more effort than necessary to complete everyday tasks. This can lead to low productivity levels and reduced order efficiency.
Warehouse management software can help you utilize your space more efficiently. With unique mapping capabilities, WMS can help you create the perfect layout for your warehouse operation. WMS also provides you with the capability to track inventory using a barcoding system so you know exactly where your products are located in the warehouse at any given moment.
Challenge: Inventory Location
Finding the inventory you need to fulfill an order can be challenging even if your warehouse is laid out properly. Lack of inventory visibility can lead to a buildup of inefficiencies in the warehouse that can slow down operations and increase costs. Without the adequate insight, your pickers will take longer to find items that need to be shipped, which in turn slows down the entire fulfillment process.
With WMS, you have real-time visibility. Managers and pickers can look up product locations instantly and be directed to the proper location in the warehouse.
Challenge: Manual and/or Redundant Processes
If you’re not using an automated warehouse management system, you are probably wasting valuable time performing tasks manually. With today’s technology, there is no reason you shouldn’t be using a fully automated system. When paired with barcoding technology, warehouse management software can automate your processes so you can spend more time focusing on the tasks that matter.
Challenge: Picking Optimization
As we mentioned above, performing tasks manually can drain your productivity and efficiency. If you are still relying on manual processes then you are most liking suffering from picking inefficiencies as well. With WMS, you can automate the picking and putaway process and save valuable time (and energy).
The cost of not using a warehouse management solution to manage your warehouse or distribution center is high. Don’t make the mistake of doing nothing; invest in WMS today to see how an automated system can ease your challenges. We offer several warehouse management products, including Accellos WMS and Sage WMS, to help you create a fully functional warehouse. Contact our warehouse management experts today to learn more about the benefits of using WMS to streamline your warehouse operation.