Warehouse Management Systems – 5 Ways to Make Your Business More Efficient and Profitable
During both good times and bad, it’s essential for you to find ways to make your business operate more efficiently. Given today’s business environment, your very survival may depend upon your ability to reduce costs and increase productivity. This article will show you how an electronic warehouse management system can help your business thrive.
Warehouse Management Systems Background
Warehouse management systems (WMS) electronically track and record the movement and storage of inventory and materials within your warehouse. This allows you to streamline your business processes. WMS capture data electronically using barcode or RFID technologies. You gain real-time visibility and control over supply chain processes such as put away, picking, packing and shipping.
How this Benefits Your Operation
Implementing a practical warehouse management system will streamline your business and provide tangible, bottom-line benefits. Here are 5 ways an automated system can improve your operation:
Reduction in Inventory Levels. A WMS gives you real-time visibility into your inventory and an accurate measure of item consumption velocity. The ability to electronically establish min/max levels combined with better visibility should allow you to significantly reduce your safety stock.
Quicker Order Fulfillment. A WMS improves inventory location visibility and accuracy. This saves wasted time trying to find the right item. A WMS also gives you the ability to define the most productive way to pick items. For example: by order, item, location or ship method.
More efficient use of warehouse space. First, less safety stock means more available space. Next, a WMS improves warehouse space utilization by allowing rule based stock locating. Items are no longer required to always be stored in the same location; the system directs workers to an item’s storage location(s). Higher volume items can be designated to forward pick locations with automatic replenishment based on volume. Lower volume items can be designated to locations which are further away. Volume based placement allows items to be located more efficiently relative to receiving, packing, and shipping areas. This significantly improves productivity.
Reduced paperwork and delays. WMS substantially reduces the paperwork associated with typical warehouse operations. More importantly inventory transactions are reported in real-time so sales have better visibility, accounting can invoice faster, and warehouse workers are more productive. Reports, tickets and lists are maintained electronically virtually eliminating paper copies.
Reduced error rates. An effective WMS automates and standardizes processes to eliminate human errors. Put away locations are verified, part numbers are validated against the orders, and lot or serial numbers can be captured as items are picked. This validation significantly reduces the costs of errors associated with manual systems.
Improved customer service. An effective WMS streamlines processes from initial order to shipment to customers. You can determine product availability and commit shipping/delivery dates more accurately. You’ll also reduce costs associated with returns because shipments will be more accurate.
You can see that these very real business benefits are associated with automated warehouse management systems. Given the realities of business today, it makes good sense to investigate how your business would benefit.