This is a situation that we came across recently. One of our clients (a chain store retailer with a growing e-commerce division) first came to us because its ERP was no longer able to cope with the increasingly complex demands of its warehouse. As its order volume increased, its ERP slowed down. On this page, we'll explain some of the issues that it ran into and clarify its deicsion to invest in Peoplevox's e-commerce WMS.
ERPs can be amazing. They do an incredible job of combining a lot of e-commerce business needs into one easily navigable system. One thing that they're not built for is complex, larger scale warehousing. There's only so much that they can do before the system starts to overload. One of the key roles of a warehouse manager, or an e-commerce project lead, is to improve the accuracy and speed of picks in the warehouse. When an ERP is running at full capacity, it's unable to deliver effectively on both counts.
E-commerce consumers and buyers have a lot of specific needs. So it's important to meet these demands head on with specialist software that is guaranteed to get the job done correctly every time. An ERP isn't that solution in the warehouse. Here are 4 reasons why:
Being able to customise the systems that you're using to meet your warehouse's unique requirements is important. An ERP isn't easily customisable. If anything needs to be added or changed, it will need a custom build. These customisations take time. A lot of time. Microsoft Dynamics and NAV are known for offering these lengthy, costly customisations.
Knowing actual stock counts is one of the fundamental concerns of effective warehouse management. Unlike Peoplevox's WMS, ERPs don't have real-time inventory management. They deal in absolute stock figures, which means that there's a dangerous amount of room for error.
Having confidence that your system can cope with expected influxes in demand is incredibly important. The client in our example lost this confidence when its ERP slowed down during peak, allowing mistakes to slip through the net. You don’t want the systems that you work with to buckle because they can’t handle demand.
Implementing a custom build with an ERP is a costly process. The system itself is a hefty investment. So when you feel like you have to fork out even more for necessary functionalities, it can hurt. And, when operational, it's likely that these functions will still cause slowdown. It's happened far too many times before.
As we said near the top of this page, ERPs are strong. They're good at a lot of things. So we're not advocating abandoning ship; instead, we want to help plug some of its holes. We're here to help you stop letting the water in. Our chain-store client realised that it would be more effective to find a complementary e-commerce WMS that could take care of the warehouse while the ERP sorts out everything else. Here are 5 of the main reasons behind this decision:
When you stop spending so much on low-level WMS technology that fails to perform, you're not just saving money that would otherwise have to go on more custom additions or patches. You're experiencing the clear cost advantages to working with an e-commerce WMS that prioritises cost efficiency above everything else.
Unlike the warehouse management software offered by ERPs, Peoplevox's WMS doesn't take months and months to be implemented. Generally, it takes 12 weeks. Which means that the improvements that you need to see in your warehouse will happen soon after you sign on the dotted line.
Our WMS was built with the end user in mind. One of our stated aims when starting out was to make a system that was easy to use, easy to configure and able to be immediately picked up by anyone. We've achieved that. New starters can get working within minutes; not days or even weeks as you see with ERPs. They're on the floor almost immediately. For a sense of how easy the software is to use, take a look at how the WMS handles goods-in here.
The system was also built with the mobile experience at the forefront of our minds. Unlike the solutions offered by ERPs, or by other WMS vendors, our WMS doesn't try to replicate a desktop experience on mobile. It's built around the needs of the ground staff. And, if there are any brief drops in WIFI service, it won't shut down. It will be able to carry on working until the WIFI comes back.
Peoplevox's WMS uses intelligent barcode scanning to handle real-time inventory figures. This means that whenever anything moves around the warehouse, the change is tracked in the system. No more risk of overselling, no more inaccurate figures on your website, no more lost stock. That's the promise of our WMS.