Incorporating an efficient warehouse management system is an essential part of any company’s operations. Successfully managing packages at every point of the journey takes a cohesive system that involves many parts.
But before any kind of warehouse management system can be implemented, a company must be aware of its needs. There is no blanket system that can fit all businesses. Each company has its own challenges and opportunities, and an effective management system will identify both.
Choosing the right system is important, and there are ways to ensure you decide on a system that will enhance your business operations.
Function and Simplicity
As we mentioned, the most important aspect of any warehouse management system is how it will function for your business. Will your operations be made more efficient and processes more streamlined? These are among the first set of questions you need to ask. It’s also important that your system eases the manual workload. Tasks should be made less difficult for employees and automation needs to factor into play whenever possible.
Sometimes it is a surprise to small businesses just how dynamic fulfillment services can be. From the various means of placing an order to inventory, to then actually shipping the product to a customer, ensuring this process runs smoothly takes continuous monitoring. Your system must be able to manage this entire process from end to end, including foreseeing potential issues and reacting quickly to problems that do arise.
Flexibility is actually more important than people realize, particularly for small businesses. The management system put in place must be able to grow with the company. If the system is not scalable, you will be forced to adopt a new system as opposed to updating that system every time your business expands.
Customers Come First
The customer service portion of an effective warehouse management system can’t be overlooked. They are the ones receiving the product and if the system in place is doing its job, customers should have no reason to complain. And if they do, the system should have a strategy for that as well.
Returns on Investment
Weighing all these factors into your decision is crucial, but always keep in mind that at the end of the day, your business needs to be profitable. If your warehouse management system isn’t positively contributing to your bottom line, then you need to rethink and restructure that system.
Qualities of Good Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Working with the right warehouse management system means your business can be more productive with time, money, products, and employees while enhancing customer satisfaction. On the other hand, choosing the wrong system can impair the success of those areas. What are the qualities of a good warehouse management system? There are several characteristics that make a good warehouse management system, and they include accuracy, integration features, ease of use, minimized paperwork, cost efficiency, and focus on warehousing and logistics.
A system running on the latest technologies will be able to improve on-time shipments, increase the accuracy of your inventory, and reduce the risk of errors. For the best management of your supply chain, choosing the right warehouse management system is absolutely essential. Be sure to choose a warehouse management system that gives you details on products, employees, transactions, and more each step of the way. Steps such as receiving, putting away received goods, order picking, shipping, inventory audits, and item movement should all be tracked. If you are up to date on everything going on in your warehouse, you will have a much easier time managing your staff and products.
Choosing a warehouse management system that is compatible with major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems will be of great benefit to your business. This software allows your business to use integrated applications to manage and automate many office technology services and human resources functions.
Ease of Use
A straightforward warehouse management system will significantly reduce the amount of time you would traditionally need to dedicate to training employees on all levels. A good system also makes it easier to set up, monitor daily operations, and adapt to new requirements. An easy-to-use system will have user-friendly menus and help screens. A dashboard view, which updates in real-time, is also a great tool that provides users a one-stop shop for their most important data.
Implementing a real-time warehouse management system will significantly decrease the amount of inventory paperwork typically associated with operations. Paperwork such as receiving reports, pick tickets, packing lists, and moving tickets can be maintained electronically.
When choosing a warehouse management system, choose one that has the functionality, flexibility, scalability, integration, and customer support. A lower upfront cost might be attractive, but in the long run, you may miss out on productivity and ease. Additionally, warehouses use equipment that is expensive, so optimizing your warehouse management system can help you maintain that equipment and require fewer staff. Ask for a quote from your potential third-party logistics company, including the prices for licenses, professional services, development costs, and support costs.
Focus on Warehousing and Logistics
Be sure to choose a supplier that is primarily focused on warehousing and logistics, rather than more generalist companies. You can gauge their commitment by keeping track of how often, consistently, and in-depth they are upgrading their system. Do they focus on customer feedback? Do they jump to take advantage of market changes? Do they provide complimentary upgrades and updates? They should certainly be adept at the core operations of your warehouse, as well as comprehensive solutions. Another good way to tell how well a warehouse management system works is to check out customer reviews. You can either ask for a list of customer references or do your research online.
APS Fulfillment, Inc. is a Miami-based specialist in e-commerce product fulfillment, direct-mail marketing, and product warehousing. We’re stored, sorted, and delivered products of all shapes and sizes for all kinds of companies, and we are more than prepared for the exciting challenges waiting in the new year. Contact us by phone at 954-582-7450 or by email at [email protected] for more ways third-party warehousing and fulfillment services can support and grow your business.