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How to determine whether you need a Warehouse Management System ?

4 years ago
Rita K

A cutting edge Warehouse Management System is essential in today’s fast-moving environment. Is your company ready to take the next step in fulfillment technology? 

According to Wikipedia, the three-click rule is an unofficial website navigation design rule. It suggests that a user of a website should be able to find any information with no more than three mouse clicks. Users of a site will become frustrated and often leave if they cannot find the information within the three clicks.

Perhaps that rule should apply to everything. If you have to work too hard to figure it out, or gain access to it, its probably going to be confusing and overly-complicated and ultimately it will frustrate you and cause problems (rather than solve) problems.

How does this relate to determining whether you need a robust Warehouse Management Software (WMS) system?

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In our view, if you answered YES to more than two of these questions, you need us. If you answered NO to them all, you are probably doing fine however you’re managing your fulfillment operations now.

If the answer is yes to more than two of these questions, you ought to be thinking about the acquisition and implementation of a robust WMS.

Why? Because of how it can positively change your fulfillment operations (and therefore your inventory investment and ultimately your customer satisfaction).

If, for example, you are shipping over 500 orders per day and picking with paper pick sheets, it is almost certain that you have too much inventory and too many warehouse personnel. Wave and batch picking can speed picking activities with increased accuracy. Automated confirmation of accurately and completely picked orders will increase order fulfillment activity and improve customer satisfaction.

If, for example, you have peak seasons and your shipping or picking accuracy falls below acceptable levels because you are bringing in new warehouse personnel who don’t know your products, or your systems, a modern, robust WMS will enable you to bring in fewer new employees (due to dramatically improved productivity) and since they will need only to follow minimal instructions delivered on hand-held radio frequency bar scanning devices, the training of temporary employees will be fast and simple. A well-marked warehouse (e.g., locations identified by simple, bar-coded labels) and bar-scanned inventory items) allows a new warehouse employee to go to an identified location, scan the label at the location, pick the identified inventory item, scan the bar code on that item and have the WMS automatically confirm the completeness and accuracy of the picking task. The inventory item is then bar-scanned again at the shipping station, with automated configuration of packaging material (e.g., size of box, bag, etc.) and shipment methodology (e.g., UPS, USPS, Fed Ex, common carrier, etc.). The inventory records are automatically updated, re-order quantities are automatically monitored and the customer will receive the order accurately and completely filled, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.

As you can see, any two YES answers and the conclusion is that you need a new WMS.

The objective of implementing a new WMS is to increase productivity of resource space, capital investment in inventory, and personnel.

We must always remember that a warehouse isn’t intended to be an area for permanent storage of inventory. The goal is to minimize warehouse inventory content by optimizing the balance between demand and supply. When implementing a new WMS, the risk is often to think of space, racking, automation and personnel requirements in terms of how things are currently being done. The key to a successful WMS implementation is to predict how things are going to be done, once the new WMS is implemented.

What efficiencies will be achieved and how will they positively impact the amount of space, the type and amount of racking and automation hardware (conveyors, lift trucks, automated picking systems, etc.) and the number of personnel (required for consistent and peak demand periods, considering the training periods required to train new warehouse personnel)?

You aren’t implementing a new WMS to sustain your old practices. Your new WMS should radically improve your fulfillment operations and allow you to dramatically reduce inventory, space and personnel requirements.

Where do you find the WMS supplier to help you assess whether you are ready for a new WMS and how positively it will impact your fulfillment operations and customer satisfaction levels?


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