If you run a warehouse or work in a warehouse operation then you will most likely be familiar with a Warehouse Management System (WMS). You may have a decade’s old one that is still serving you well, you may have just installed the latest state-of-the-art model with promises to take your operation to a different level, or you could be a small start-up that is doing things manually but feels it may be time to get a helping hand from technology.
Whatever the reason, we give you the top five signs that you need to buy a WMS.
1. Wear and tear
If you have an existing WMS you will be able to notice when your system starts to creak and hurt. This could be for several reasons;it could be an outdated Warehouse Management System unable to withstand the demands of the modern day warehouse or it could be that you have scaled and your WMS is simply unable to keep up with your demand. Whatever the reason, once you notice the increased strain it’s time to think about a new WMS.
2. Online ratings
According to a survey by BrightLocal, 88% of people who buy online trust online reviews. This is why online ratings from the likes of Trustpilot or Capterra are important for your business. Whether you are in e-commerce or multi-channel, if you have a below par rating online it will affect your entire business.
For example, if you find yourself above a 9.6 or above on Trustpilot you are likely alright for a WMS, but sometimes this rating is masked by having intensive quality control. In that case you should look at what your productivity per person is going out of the warehouse i.e. are you getting 1,000 orders per shift out the door?
On the other hand, If you found yourself significantly lower, like an 8.9 then you likely have a problem and you should look at your end to end ecosystem and investigate how a Warehouse Management System can help improve each piece of your operation.
Most companies find that when they get a certain amount of numbers per day that they can’t keep up if they have manual processes in place or if they have an outdated WMS. When people get to 300-400 orders per day (that’s despatch plus returns) that is normally the turning point when they feel they need to get a system in place. When people get to 300/400 orders per day that’s dispatch plus returns – that’s normally when they start to feel we need to get a system in place here and that’s normally the best time as you’re putting it in before you need it and will help you grow more quickly.
4. The bottom line
It may sound simple, because it is, but by looking at your bottom line you’ll be able to see quite quickly if a WMS is likely to change that. You need to look at how much your current operation is costing you. It’s a good idea to go down to a cost per parcel and fully load all costs into each parcel despatched. If you see the existing cost differ negatively with the cost as you grow and scale then it’s time to invest in a WMS.
5. Knowledge distribution
Assigning tasks, delegating responsibilities and monitoring productivity all play a key role in making sure warehouse operations run smoothly. However, in most warehouses without a Warehouse Management System this responsibility lies with one or two people, usually Warehouse Managers.
A WMS is able to distribute knowledge, data and skills across your entire warehouse, taking pressure off your Warehouse Manager enabling your warehouse to run more smoothly.
By mapping out your existing systems and processes and through consultation with your staff you should be able to see if you need a Warehouse Management System. Use the above tell-tale signs to help guide your decision and ensure you get the right system in place before demand becomes too much for your business.
Watch the video below to find out more about tell-tale signs when you need to invest in a WMS.