Challenges Your Growing Business Can Overcome With a WMS
If your business is growing, you will be looking for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency. A warehouse management system (WMS) is a great way to use technology to do this.
Here are some challenges that a WMS (warehouse management solution) can help overcome:
Challenge 1 – Inventory control, management and real-time visibility
As any supply chain manager will tell you, inventory control and space management are major ongoing issues.
You can use a WMS to easily keep track of your inventory and manage your warehouse space via real-time access to data. Inventory accuracy is essential to business success, so knowing where your stock is located at all times and being able to predict when you’ll have enough on hand or need more is key.
WMSs also facilitate compliance with industry and government regulations regarding safety, security and overall best practices.
Challenge 2 – Order management accuracy and compliance
If you cannot manage your orders effectively, or cannot see the status of each order as it works its way through the pipeline, you risk losing sales.
The ability to plan, monitor and track orders is critical if you want to ensure that your customers are happy and your products consistently meet their needs.
Moreover, many businesses in certain industries must comply with legal regulations that require products to come with specific markings (e.g., lot numbers for pharmaceuticals).
Without a WMS that automatically tracks the history and whereabouts of each product during every step of the process, meeting these requirements is impossible.
A good WMS solution can help you avoid mistakes by enforcing accurate picking and packing processes (i.e., so no one will accidentally fill an order with the wrong item or pack too many/few units per box) and ensuring accountability across teams (i.e., no one can make changes without being logged in under their own account, so there’s no confusion about who made what edit).
A customizable interface—one that allows users to easily add fields for special features like lot codes—means all relevant information will remain right at employees’ fingertips at all times.
Challenge 3 – Scalability
Scalability is one of the key challenges facing growing businesses. Specifically, it’s the ability to expand your operations as demand grows without needing to add more IT staff or custom solutions.
WMS systems offer scalability by providing a range of software and hardware that can be easily configured for your specific needs. Your WMS system makes it easy for you to add users, warehouses and stores as you grow.
This results in easier management, increased productivity and lower IT costs—allowing you to focus on growing your business instead of tinkering with your technology.
Challenge 4 – Growth spurts
Your business is not just growing, but also experiencing dramatic growth spurts. To keep up with the demand, you need to make sure your warehouse operations can scale quickly and smoothly.
Warehouse management software allows you to scale up easily by allowing you to adapt quickly to changing demands on the warehouse. You can also add new employees within minutes and provide them with all the training they need immediately.
With an automated process, you can reduce errors and delays which means that when your business grows, your warehouse will be able to keep pace.
Challenge 5 – New products
You want to introduce new products or services but want to ensure that you don’t jeopardize the quality of your existing services or products.
When introducing a new product line or service, it helps if there are no changes in the staff’s workflow.
A warehouse management system can help ensure that new additions do not interrupt their workflow and allow them to stay focused on providing the same level of service they have been providing for the existing products.
Challenge 6 – Multiple sites
If you have multiple warehouses, keeping track of inventory can be time-consuming and difficult.
A WMS will allow you to keep track of all orders across all sites in real time, which helps avoid duplicating orders or losing track of them completely.
Challenge 7 – Growing fulfilment costs
With a good WMS, you can reduce the need to hire more people by automating processes like picking and packing, which can save on labour costs while increasing your productivity.
This will also allow you to expand into new markets without needing as much infrastructure.
Challenge 8 – Customer service issues
The top reason for customer dissatisfaction is lack of communication. Customers want to know when their order will arrive, and when their order has been shipped.
Using a WMS allows you to communicate with customers about delivery dates, tracking numbers, and other details about their orders.
A WMS also makes it possible for customers to track their own orders online with no effort from you or your staff.
This improves their customer satisfaction and reduces the amount of calls coming into your customer service department.
Challenge 9 – Increased labour costs
WMS software can also help reduce labour costs by eliminating the need for manual data entry.
Data can be entered into the system using barcode scanners, RFID chips, or other technologies that allow you to enter information without human intervention.
This reduces errors and increases productivity of your employees by allowing them to focus on tasks that require their attention rather than spending time entering data into spreadsheets or other systems manually which can lead to mistakes being made leading those resources being wasted on fixing those mistakes.
Increased warehouse productivity, efficiency, and accuracy
By automating your warehouse processes, you can achieve faster order fulfilment and improve accuracy.
Automation reduces labour costs by eliminating the need for staff to manually pick and process orders.
Automated warehouses also reduce picking errors because they rely on barcoding technology that ensures the right item is picked at the right time.
An automated warehouse may not be feasible for every company, so manual picking, or “zone picking,” is still a viable option for many.
Zone picking involves assigning each employee to a specific part of a warehouse.
This eliminates the need for employees to walk long distances throughout the day and reduces fatigue. Employees are also more focused on their task because they are not constantly moving around the warehouse.
If you have adequate space, you can assign different types of products to different areas of your warehouse so employees can be closer to them when it comes time to pick and pack orders.
For example, smaller items could be assigned one area while larger items reside in another area.
This eliminates the need for employees to walk long distances while picking orders and increases productivity.
This is probably the most important area for increased productivity. Inaccuracy in picking results in time wasted, incorrect orders being shipped, and inventory not being properly accounted for.
There are numerous ways to improve picking accuracy so workers don’t have to go back and search for wrong items or missing items. This includes labelling everything properly and using a pick-to-light system.
The most productive pickers are those who are comfortable with their surroundings. Ideally you would have a large warehouse with high ceilings, but this is not always possible.
If you must choose between making your workers comfortable and more productive or saving money on rent by having a smaller facility, look at it from a long-term perspective.
A WMS can help you deal with the problems you face as your business grows
With a WMS, you can keep up with your business’s growth and improve on the things that are most important to you.
A WMS can help you avoid the problems with which most businesses run into as they grow: data entry errors and lack of information.
Some of these benefits are obvious: WMSs give you a great way to keep track of employee records, inventory, and products. When it comes to order accuracy, there is no such thing as perfect when it comes to paperwork management.
But mistakes happen all the time in any business—and if they’re not caught right away, they can lead to big problems down the road. For instance, they could cause issues with your tax return or payroll processing if something isn’t filed properly or updated when needed.
And because a FIFO inventory system relies on having accurate records of everything you have in stock, mistakes here can be especially costly.
While it’s true that a WMS won’t solve every problem—you still need to run your business effectively—it can certainly help.
In fact, with the right WMS, growing your business might even feel easier. So take a deep breath, remember why you started in the first place, and dive back in to take your business to the next level.
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