Is your Warehouse Management System living up to today’s demands?April 29, 2021
So much has changed since the beginning of the pandemic, especially with the way we work and the way we shop. Pandemic restrictions have led us to modify the way we conduct business, how we obtain our goods, and how we experience services. As more customers are ordering online, there is a growing expectation for service and delivery to occur at lightning speed. Bottom line: the need to maximize customer satisfaction with rapid order fulfillment demands that businesses of all sizes implement an efficient Warehouse Management System (WMS).
A functioning, adequate warehouse management process may lull a business into a false sense of security, positioning themselves outside of the rapid service levels that consumers have come to expect.
Are your various business channels being fulfilled rapidly and efficiently? Companies like Amazon have adapted their concepts of fulfillment. Although your business may offer different service levels, it’s important to consider their standards to remain relevant. In this fast-paced digital world, now is the time to reevaluate and reengineer your operations and processes.
What are the goals?
- Position your company as a leader in order fulfillment speed. Time is money, and most clients won’t tolerate delays.
- Minimize costs through reengineering your business process.
- Ready your business to focus on growth opportunities in the future.
- Invest in technologies that solve the immediate issues and are scalable for future growth.
- Help to promote cost savings through automation.
Even if you aren’t ready for a full robotic style WMS operation, RF scanning, serialization or voice activated picking, there is always room for improvement.
Where to start?
Understanding your business requirements is the first step in building a plan.
- Start with investigating manual procedures. Invite your warehouse teams to present their ideas for improvement. Engage with your workers; they hold the key to your continued success and potential process improvements.
- Evaluate the basic warehouse process. Focus on these key areas: receiving, put-away, inventory movement, picking, packing, carrier systems processing, shipping and reporting.
- Ensure that all transaction processing is streamlined with a beginning, a middle and a logical endpoint.
- Equip your team with the proper tools to enable improved fulfillment rate, increased confidence, and visibility to real time inventory levels. The result? Reduced operational costs and increased customer satisfaction.
- When planning on process improvements, consider beyond your current demand and how order fulfillment will change in the future. Ensure you have room to grow by finding a more robust, scalable solution to each of your processes.
- Have in-house ERP system WMS processing? Consider the possibilities of outsourcing to a 3PL WMS. Whether you choose in-house or decide to outsource, the ERP system is the main component to ensure seamless data transaction.
What to review?
Break down each of your business workflows related to your existing demand channels. This will help establish the individual challenges and pain points to resolve. For example, an e-commerce direct to consumer order fulfillment is different than bulk order processing for a distribution centre order.
- Start with incoming shipments to the warehouse. Discuss visibility on the goods arriving, who they are allocated to, whether put-away is required or is cross dock a possibility, and if re-work is required.
- Study the receiving area for loss of efficiency, which could include inadequate carton markings, item labels, inaccurate packing slips, etc.
- Next up is put-away logic: what decisions are being made regarding the most effective locations to stow the goods?
- Consider high volume items and the impact of storing these goods efficiently. Review your “quick pick” replenishment process for minimum quantities and tie that into your put-away process.
- Ensure your sales order fulfillment process utilizes efficient picking, packing and shipping.
This is where the fun begins. There are several possible scenarios depending on the physical space allotted to your warehouse itself.
- All of the above must be addressed as part of the discovery exercise.
- Ideas of best practices include: Pick by Pick, Pick by Batch (Summary), Pick by Zone, Pick Waves. The concepts vary yet all share similar elements. Find the most efficient process for your needs based on the space allocated to your warehouse.
- Look for time loss related to travelling distance to fulfill the pick(s). Establishing routing guides based on business rules will help eliminate lost time, speeding up the process.
- Consider high volume SKUs and high volume or high margin customers when planning the picks related workflow for the floor. Set up your warehouse accordingly.
A seamless warehouse management process will not only save you time and money, but it will contribute to your overall customer satisfaction. It’s a win-win proposition. Your ERP provider can help to set you up with the ultimate WMS. Contact Momentis today for more information.
The Momentis ERP System was developed for fashion, apparel, footwear and accessory brands, textile, wholesalers, and distributors. Momentis automates and streamlines processes from design to delivery – Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Sourcing & Logistics, Inventory Management, Warehouse Management, Order Management and Financials – and integrates seamlessly with leading B2C, 3PL, POS and other 3rd parties using EDI and APIs. The Trenza software suite is the latest solution that enables your ERP to effectively communicate with Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) solutions, such as Trenza Shop, Trenza Sell, Trenza BI, Amazon, Shopify, Big Commerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Joor, NuOrder, and more.