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Our team of Fulfilment Consultants share warehouse management best practice and advice.

When is the right time for a WMS system?

Scaling Your Warehouse

WRITTEN BY Paul Mullin /

12 December 2016

Digital technology is a major building block for most businesses as they look to modernise their enterprise. Almost every organisation will have some mix of digital technology platforms, whether they deal with customer experience, analytics, intelligence or the entire business ecosystem.

Technology will continue to be a key focus for companies in 2017 and beyond. Now is the time for businesses to identify how industry specific technology can help evolve their business. In the warehouse space, the most obvious of these is a Warehouse Management System (WMS).

Have you noticed a difference this holiday season?

As we are in the midst of the busiest shopping holiday of the year, you should be able to see if this has impacted your operations. You could have noticed a slight delay in getting orders out or your staff being overloaded.

Or perhaps you’ve noticed these problems have been popping up throughout the year, in which case your operation may need a change, maybe more staff or new technology to help the operation run smoother.

Whether you are an e-commerce operation or a multi-channel retailer, it is worth considering what a WMS can do for you.

What can a WMS mean for my business?

There is always room for improvement with your warehouse operations, that could be in sales, stock management, fulfilment or the supply chain operations to name but a few. Improvements in these areas all play a part in improving your customer experience.

Having the ability to action refunds and returns quickly will increase customer loyalty - crucial when you consider that it costs companies five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.

Keeping inventory up to date can be problematic for many warehouses, but with the right WMS in place you will be able to show what’s really in stock in real time. This gives the customer peace of mind, removes the arduous paper trail and gives the flexibility to accept orders later and meet next day delivery.

It’s not only your customers that benefit from this technology either.  Some warehouses rely on one or two individuals to know every detail of the warehouse inside out and that’s just not feasible, especially as you begin to scale.  A WMS is able to distribute knowledge, data, and even skills across your entire business. This helps your Warehouse Manager work more efficiently and can transform your warehouse culture. It helps your entire warehouse team become more productive, more engaged, and most importantly, happier at work.

Will it affect my existing systems?

Most warehouses will have existing software that deals with the bulk of the workload. So any changes to your warehouse technology will need to align with what you already have. It’s important to select a WMS that integrates with your existing third party software so that it can work together with your existing tech. Different WMS can integrate with different third party systems, some more so than others, so it’s important to choose the right one for your business.

Linking this technology together will enhance your operations with little or no disruption to your existing workflow, as these systems can usually be implemented off-site in as little to six to ten weeks.

Summary

By mapping out your existing systems and processes and through consulting with your entire warehouse staff you will be in a position to know whether a WMS is the system you need now or one you may need in the future.

For a wider view of things to consider before implementing a WMS, download our free e-book ’11 things to consider before you implement an e-commerce Warehouse Management System (WMS)’ here:

 

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