Dysfunctional warehouse processes and technology can drag your business down quicker than quicksand. And yet, so many supply chain leaders avoid making changes in this arena because of concern over process disruption, down time and perceived cost of implementation. In fact, only 23 percent of supply chain professionals surveyed by DC Velocity and Nucleus Research in 2015 said their company had invested in new software. Ironically, not investing in warehouse improvement will actually end up costing your business significantly more in the long run.
Today’s warehouse faces a variety of complex challenges. Consumers are demanding greater product diversity, faster order fulfilment, delivery anywhere and everywhere and easier returns processes. Meeting these needs requires a more agile and flexible approach to warehouse management, which can only be made possible using advanced warehouse management software. If your existing warehouse management resources can’t provide in-depth process visibility, business intelligence and suppleness to tackle your customer’s unique fulfilment needs, it’s time to reset and course correct with a better solution.
Order Fulfilment is Tailored to Your WMS Software, Not Customer Needs
Is same or next-day shipping an option? What about international delivery? Can I easily return something if I don’t like it? These are all questions that cross consumers’ minds when they are about to make an online purchase. How your business answers these key questions determines whether the consumer clicks “place order” or moves on.
Per a McKinsey & Company study on UK apparel retail and omnichannel: delivery options, speed and returns processes are considered among the most important attributes to online consumers.
What holds businesses back is the inflexibility of their warehouse and the lack of cloud WMS technology designed to better facilitate the needs of today’s consumer. Order fulfilment should bend to consumers, not to antiquated warehouse resources.
It Takes a Village to Get Insight
If you must consult with several different Excel spreadsheets and track down members of your team to understand if you need to replenish inventory, for example, this is your wake-up call. Managing vital aspects of your warehouse, like stock levels, shouldn’t be that difficult.
The best warehouse management software will consolidate granular detail in one place in real-time, so you can better manage your inventory and avoid costly issues like back orders and overstock. Beyond inventory, the right WMS solution can also provide visibility into the entire order fulfilment lifecycle as orders are picked, packed and shipped. Having a clear line of sight throughout your warehouse systems reduces your margin of error and frankly, helps you sleep better at night.
Planning for Peaks and Troughs is Virtually Impossible
The key to successful warehouse management: anticipating what’s around the corner. This can be incredibly difficult to do if your warehouse management software only functions to house data. Leaving things up to guesswork and hunches often leads to the costly mistake of continuously overstocking and overstaffing the warehouse.
More sophisticated solutions offer powerful intelligence and predictive analytics, identifying patterns in your warehouse data and forecasting how much warehouse labour and inventory your business needs in high and low volume seasons. If your WMS can’t provide you with short interval reporting for daily progress and long-term reporting for trend analysis, it’s time to move on.
The Bottom Line
By and large, these tell-tale signs paint a picture of complete inefficiency in the warehouse. If you’re experiencing these within your organisation, don’t wait to fix your poor performing WMS and let disorganisation and unnecessary costs fester. Find an alternative that helps you and your warehouse team work smarter, not harder.