Should You Invest in a Warehouse Management System?

Should You Invest in a Warehouse Management System

Margins are shrinking in the warehousing industry. Customers expect to have their orders fulfilled around the clock, and an Australian warehouse management system is the best way to keep up with that demand.

The warehouse management software you use can play a major role in optimising your workflow, reducing overheads and managing the business. The only challenge is choosing software that supports your needs and improves the way you work.

We recommend doing your research and booking demonstrations for each of the systems you are interested in. Pay attention to how the system works and look for a piece of software that can offer the benefits we’ll be discussing below!

What is Warehouse Management Software?

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a type of software that allows you to keep track of everything going on in your business. Basic systems are used to track orders, inventory and picking, but more advanced software includes additional data, such as profit and loss, payroll, customers, staff and more.

How Warehouse Management Systems Can Benefit Your Business

1. Reduced Overheads

The most important part of a WMS is that it can reduce your overhead expenses. Warehousing is a highly competitive industry. Uptime and productivity are critical, and minutes can be the difference between making a profit and operating at a loss. Investing in a WMS can help reduce your overheads by:

  • Reducing errors in picking
  • Improving picking times
  • Optimising picking order
  • Optimising inventory management and storage
  • Providing real-time inventory management to reduce stock on hand
  • Giving all staff the information they need at a glance
  • Providing flexible reporting that grants new insights into the business

Your WMS can provide incremental improvements that add up to large-scale savings. This allows you to maintain your competitive edge and meet growing customer demand for high-speed, high-efficiency warehousing services.

2. Rapid Order Fulfilment

Picking and packing is a time consuming process. When you have hundreds or thousands of orders to fulfil, it’s important to give staff the information they need to work smarter.

By integrating data about orders, inventory and customers, a WMS can optimise picking routes. This not only saves time on picking individual orders, it allows workers to pick multiple orders at once.

An advanced WMS can also integrate information from multiple locations. If you operate several warehouse locations, your WMS can assign orders to locations based on the rules you set. For instance, you could optimise delivery time by assigning orders based on proximity to the customer. Alternatively, orders could be assigned to locations with all the required stock on hand, reducing overall shipping costs.

Whatever you’d like to do, your WMS can process orders and design picking instructions automatically, allowing you to improve the way you work.

3. Optimised Stock Management

Keeping track of thousands of stocked items from multiple customers is a mammoth task. It becomes more complex when you need to manage best before dates, perishable inventory and stock ordering.

Happily, your WMS can handle this. The picking runs generated by the software can be configured to incorporate best-before and stock age. That means picking runs will draw from the oldest stock first, improving freshness and reducing waste.

And, as inventory levels decrease, you can set up automatic ordering. Automatically replenishing stock helps to reduce total stock on hand, minimise your costs and improves the way perishable goods are handled.

4. Detailed Reporting Metrics

Staying on top of your business is a challenge at the best of times. When you have to manage stock, pricing, staff, customers and clients, it’s even more difficult. Luckily, a good WMS can integrate data from all of these sources, and provide detailed reports that show anything you want to know.

The ideal WMS is one that allows you to design your own reporting systems. These software packages typically support custom queries that can return information from any part of the database. That gives you minute-to-minute oversight of profit and loss, as well as full accountability for each staff member, customer, client and order.

5. Single Point of Truth

There are hundreds of software packages that can support the way your warehouse works. It’s now possible to find individual software products that handle tasks such as inventory management, automated ordering, picking runs, cash flow reporting and more. While these products are effective, operating multiple software systems introduces double handling and duplication of data, which can create an issue in optimising your business.

Opting for an integrated warehouse management system creates a single point of truth that contains all the business’ critical information. This system can then be accessed by relevant personnel, ensuring all staff are seeing the same data. This is the single most important part of boosting productivity, reducing costs and maintaining your competitive edge.

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