An effectively run warehouse and distribution centre is a strategic imperative for companies operating in the online, wholesale, and retail distribution sectors. Undoubtedly, a more discerning and demanding customer, increasing operational costs, and a need to remain profitable drive warehousing and distribution operations to become leaner, agile, faster, and more efficient.
In order to stay competitive and profitable, your warehousing and distribution operation needs the support of an appropriate automated warehouse management system (WMS). If your WMS is outdated or you don’t have one yet, consider these the five signs that you may need to upgrade to satisfy customers, streamline your operations, and run profitably in an exceedingly competitive landscape.
Sign #1 – Too rapid growth
Since Covid, consumers have become much more comfortable ordering online than shopping in-store, dramatically changing the number of orders placed for many businesses. Instead of shipping to retail stores, warehouses now deliver more, smaller orders directly to consumers.
The new ordering patterns can cause warehouses and business processes set up for retail distribution or are too manual to fail as they simply cannot cope with the order volumes received daily. As a result, many businesses try to manage the new order levels by adding additional labour and shifts to cope with the increased demand. However, this generally leads to a more chaotic and disorganised operation, reflected in increased human error, inventory loss, and shipping errors.
An effective WMS software can turn chaos into calm so that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.
Sign #2 – Order errors
The more pressure put on your organisation’s warehousing and distribution, the more the likelihood of mistakes. Mistakes, of course, lead to customer complaints, reputational damage, returns, employee dissatisfaction, and a reduction in profits. So, if your organisation is getting more order errors than it should, it might be time to invest in a robust WMS that streamlines the entire operation, thereby preventing future order errors.
Sign #3 Inaccurate inventory counts
Human error is the leading cause of discrepancies in warehouse inventory. These errors range from mislabelled items, miscounted items, incorrect units of measurement, and misplaced products. Sorting these discrepancies out by implementing a best-of-breed WMS software improves productivity, people’s morale, and profits.
Sign #4 Running out of space
Running out of space in your warehouse may appear positive as it could correlate to increased business. In most cases, however, it is more likely to result from manual, inefficient processes that don’t optimally use the available space. Many companies faced with this situation start looking for larger premises; however, this is a costly solution in terms of disruption, time, and money and may prove unnecessary. In Apex’s experience, a properly implemented WMS with supporting storage technologies can optimise space utilisation within your facility, allowing you to operate for longer and with more output at a fraction of the cost of moving into new premises.
Sign #5 Excess inventory
One of the leading causes of running out of space is excess inventory. Many warehousing operations hold additional stock (safety stock) just in case they need it for unanticipated orders to avoid missing out on sales. However, this technique results in several warehousing costs, including additional storage space and operational challenges accessing stock, not to mention the cash tied up in the excess inventory. Forecasting accurate stock levels and placing orders to top up inventory levels is a challenging topic and not one a WMS can solve. However, a well-run WMS provides critical, accurate stock information that the forecasting tools utilise to create more accurate forecasts and, therefore, better inventory levels, freeing up cash for other operational requirements.
If your warehouse management system (WMS) is no longer performing, it might be time to look at upgrading it. And, of course, if you don’t have a WMS but want to stay competitive and
profitable, reach out to our team; we can assist you in selecting the right WMS for your business. There are many benefits to having a WMS, including satisfied clients, fewer order errors, reduced inventory loss, proper space utilisation, increased productivity, and profits.
At Apex, we partner with internationally recognised software brands, and our in-house development team constantly seeks new ways to increase warehouse performance management using our extensive knowledge of what makes a warehouse work.