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Guide to WMS Systems for Retail

We know that warehouse processes differ across industry and business type, and retail and wholesale in particular, are very complex business types.

This is why you need a warehouse management system that has been designed and built specifically with retail and wholesale in mind.

What is a WMS?

A warehouse management system is a software application designed to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management.

Why do you need a WMS system for retail?

Having an accurate view of stock levels and real-time data enable accurate forecasting and demand planning.

You can run a lean and efficient operation with minimal inventory.

It gives you visibility of stock across the supply chain, empowering you with a single version of the truth.

A warehouse management software allows you to optimize the efficiency of your operation, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.

The software can be integrated with point of sale (POS) systems, thereby centralizing inventory data, stock reporting, and replenishment processes.

Optimizing the efficiency of your warehouse operation can also lead to improvements in other areas such as cost reduction, labor savings, and customer service levels.

True, there are many other benefits, for example but not limited to: increased efficiency; fewer errors; cost savings; improved customer service; and increased visibility of stock. But these benefits go even further.

Warehouse Management Systems provide business intelligence to improve planning and collaboration across your supply chain, leading to increased business agility and operational performance.

The warehouse industry are undergoing substantial changes as the consumer’s expectations change, and the rules of the game change.

You will not be able to successfully run your retail distribution center if you don’t have a warehouse management system that supports and understands the needs of this ever-evolving business process.

Therefore, it is important to find out what WMS is the best WMS for your distribution center.

Benefits of a WMS for Retail

Warehouse Management Systems provide benefits across the board, including:

  • Reduced errors and fewer mistakes;
  • Lower inventory levels due to real-time inventory updates from item hanging, picking, and packing operations;
  • Accurate inventory records and replenishment;
  • Real-time data and information ensures the right products are on the right shelves at the right time;
  • Improved customer service;
  • Minimized safety exposure to falling objects;
  • Lower inventory levels and more efficient use of warehouse space;
  • Reduced costs due to an improved organizational structure and optimized operational processes;
  • Increased operational efficiency, better collaboration, faster decisions, and higher operational performance;
  • Increased visibility of stock and real-time data, giving you easy access to information and customized solutions that meet your business needs;
  • Better visibility of orders and shipments;
  • Better collaboration across the supply chain;
  • Improved aggregation of orders to reduce costs;

Integration with other systems and solutions for better control of your business.

For more information on the benefits of WMS and how systems can help your business, feel free to Contact US.

Successfully implementing a Warehouse Management System for your Retail Distribution Center is the first step towards improving your business processes.

A successful implementation process can result in a more streamlined business process, fewer errors, higher and more consistent levels of efficiency and productivity, and better collaboration across your supply chain.

What does a WMS do?

Of course warehouse management software does more than just keep track of and improve current operational processes.

The WMS is the backbone of an intelligently connected operation. It continually gathers data from your location and generates a real-time report.

The WMS is a coordination center for the efficiency improvement operation; it makes sure that each of your business processes are synchronized with the other processes.

A Warehouse Management System is a network and supports the exchange of real-time information with the people and systems that make up your supply chain.

A warehouse software application provides an efficient, data-driven warehouse operation, whether for distribution centers within retail giants or food producers.

It provides online visibility and real-time data on the quantity, location, and status of inventory, allowing you to quickly respond to customer orders and reduce errors.

How to choose the best WMS for Retail in your distribution center

Choosing a WMS is an important decision. It is key to making the right decision that fits the requirements of your business, and it can be overwhelming, but there are steps involved in selecting the right WMS.

Prepare for your selection process by establishing your WMS selection criteria. Start by defining key requirements for your warehouse management system and decide which functional needs are most important for your business.

To create your selection criteria, ask yourself:

  • What are the current processes in the warehouse that you want a WMS to improve?
  • Are there any current bottlenecks, and if so, what are the causes for a WMS to improve on these?
  • How exactly is your business impacted by items missing, or not being monitored closely enough?
  • Do orders have a high level of error, and if so, what are the causes for a WMS to improve on these?
  • What problems do orders cause in your company?
  • Are there any other major problems experienced with your current order fulfillment process?
  • Are there any other advantages to using a Warehouse Management System?

Answering these questions will enable you to come up with the right criteria for finding the right Warehouse Management System.

The best source of criteria for WMS is your existing warehouse team, as they have full knowledge of your current processes, bottlenecks, and problems.

Considering the input from your warehouse staff also gives you the advantage of having existing knowledge of your business, and knowledge of all its strengths and weaknesses, the processes that you need to improve, the bottlenecks that exist, the problems that need to be resolved, and the advantages that you need to gain.

Some questions that your warehouse staff and managers may have to answer are:

What processes are effected by the current state of the warehouse and how do these impact your business performance?

  • What are the bottlenecks that are getting in the way and inhibiting the performance of the WMS?
  • Do you anticipate any growth in the next 3 to 5 years and if so, how many?
  • How many staff members do you have?
  • How many shifts do you have?
  • Do you carry inventory on a single shift or multiple shifts?
  • What are the time constraints within your business processes?
  • How are you currently monitoring and tracking warehouse status?
  • How are material handling operations currently performed?
  • What kind of system does your warehouse have in place?
  • Are there systems in the process of being installed?

Please note: the information gathered above will greatly assist your warehouse in completing a warehouse inventory audit.

Please note: The purpose of an inventory audit is to obtain an accurate overview of your current inventory and warehouse status.

The inventory should be the most accurate it has ever been. This will aid you in deciding what needs to be monitored and what needs to be improved.

This information is also essential for the implementation of a Warehouse Management System. Your inventory should be recorded in the WMS by the implementation team to determine the initial settings for the WMS and initial analysis of the product flow.

To make sure your inventory is the most accurate, a warehouse inventory audit should include the following:

  • All items should be physically counted. This includes the numbers of items, the material type of the items, the item number, and a note of their condition.
  • All items should be physically checked to make sure they are not damaged, missing, or out of place.
  • All items should be recorded into a physical inventory book or file.
  • All items should be checked for their location, to ensure that they are in the appropriate place, and at the correct buffer level.
  • All items should have a not of quantity available, quantity on shelf, and quantity on pallet, (if palletized).
  • All items should have a note stating when it was last counted.
  • All locations should be written down.

Please note: this audit will give you an accurate assessment of your warehouse inventory, but this is just a first step.

Remember to always keep track of your inventory to ensure that nothing goes missing.

As an additional resource, here is a helpful guide on what to look for in a WMS.

How Warehouse Management Software can improve Retail Distribution Centers

Warehouse Management Software helps you to control the flow of material through your warehouse and improves workflow and operational efficiency. It also offers warehouse staff efficient, real-time information on every order and shipment.

An efficient warehousing process allows you to respond to customer orders with greater speed than your competition and reduces inventory costs.

Depending on your business, you can reduce costs per unit by operating with a shorter, more expedient supply chain.

Using Warehouse Management Systems you are also able to identify and resolve the bottlenecks which inhibit your operations.

Warehouse Management Systems are also a great tool in making your business more efficient.

With systems integrated to track your supply chain and your business processes, you will also have an accurate view of your inventory, and the ability to keep track of high and low stock levels at all times.

Warehouse Management Systems offer tools to help you optimize inventory allocation decisions, avoid stockouts, and improve overall safety and compliance.

Faster and easier material handling operations are achievable when order accuracy, consistency, and efficiency are increased with Warehouse Management Systems.

Warehouse Management Systems are flexible enough to achieve the greatest benefit for the whole supply chain.

The operational focus of a Warehouse Management System centres on improving the reliability of the process flow, by ensuring that orders are processed in a timely manner with high levels of efficiency.

Faster supply chains will better serve your customers, improve inventory security and are better for the environment.

Creating an efficient storage and distribution process will also aid in inventory optimization and reduce operating costs.

Warehouse Management Systems also inform warehouse staff on what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

The system will keep track of what needs to be reordered, and what needs to be shipped to customers.

Staff also have access to all relevant reports and data, with user-friendly interfaces, all tied together with elements of supply chain management.

Warehouse Management Systems offer the efficiencies that are needed to increase your bottom line, and a decrease in warehouse costs by making your whole supply chain flow more quickly.

As a result, you can make better business decisions by using Warehouse Management Systems.

Warehouse Management Systems help improve inventory management.

Automation of warehouse processes allows you to inspect and analyze the operational flow of your warehouse workforce.

Just as important, warehouse staff are able to better organize themselves and ensure tasks are completed in a timely manner.

If you have a large number of shipments, intensive sorting and processing of incoming goods, need to keep track of highly specialized inventory, or work in an environment where safety and reliability are essential, a Warehouse Management System may be your best choice.

Warehouse Management Systems will also reduce the amount of human effort and errors associated with process flow, and give you full control over your orders.

The functions of a Warehouse Management System

Warehouse Management Systems allow a business to improve shipments, inventory, and reporting, and are able to monitor pallets, totes, and other forms of shipping.

Warehouse Management Systems allow you to track everything from product quantities to warehouse bin locations, and helps you to effectively monitor all activities in your warehouse.

Warehouse Management Systems allow you to improve your supply chain, increase inventory accuracy, and decrease costs.

Warehouse Management Systems are built around data that is invaluable to your company.

Warehouse Management Systems gives you the opportunity to eliminate waste and reduce the amount of labour and time costs from your operation.

In the long term, Warehouse Management Systems help you to save money by automating warehouse processes and increasing efficiency.

Because there are usually several logistics vendors involved in the delivery of a customer order, Warehouse Management Systems can help to speed up order processing.

Warehouse Management Systems can allow your company to afford to be more competitive.

Warehouse Management Systems also allow you to have complete visibility of your inventory and the material flow process, as well as operate more efficiently.

Warehouse Management Systems can better record your inventory and physical activity for reporting to your customers, and improve management of high-value items.

Warehouse Management Systems can give you tools to identify critical parts and track the status of your inventory in real time.

They can also help you to automate data collection and analysis, and provide you with a method to control your storage areas.

Warehouse Management Systems can increase safety, service and operational velocity.

How is your Warehouse Management System implemented?

A Warehouse Management System is often implemented in multiple stages.

Sorting products in the best level to move them with the least labour is typical of warehouse management software.

An efficient and automated warehouse management system sorts products based on their frequency of use, the type of customer purchasing them and their distance from the shipping docks.

When a customer’s order is placed, their Warehouse Management System will complete a best fit search for each product ordered.

Once a product is located, the software analyzes all of the parameters surrounding the product, including stock-on-hand, delivery cost, shipping time, sales history and profitability.

Once all of the factors are weighed, the system will then make decisions that will determine what product and which warehouse location to send.

Warehouse Management Software can also aid in the continuous improvement of business processes within the distribution network.

By using Warehouse Management Software, many improvements and impacts are possible in business processes.

Improvement recommendations can be based upon data trends made visible by Warehouse Management Software, or through data analysis of existing processes.

Analyzing warehouse activities and processes with Warehouse Management Software allows companies to become more competitive and customer-focused.

Warehouse Management Systems are also beneficial to the businesses that procure from warehouses.

Increased warehouse productivity and efficiency will allow you to better respond to customer demand, improve inventory management and achieve your financial goals without expensive long-term capital investments.

WMS software implementation benefits

Win-win Warehouse management software benefits both the warehouse and the call center.

Warehouse Management Systems provide the following benefits for call centers:

  • Improving customer service
  • Productivity improvements
  • Warehouse staff can be trained more quickly and effectively
  • Decreasing labour costs
  • Warehouse Management Systems can also benefit warehouses by:
  • Allowing for reduced turnaround times
  • Improving stock management and warehouse space utilization
  • Improving warehouse safety and security
  • Reducing damage to inventory
  • Enabling product price increases

With its many customizable features and intuitive interfaces, Warehouse Management Software provides the comprehensive and flexible system to help your business achieve its goals.

Accurate tracking of your inventory will help you to provide more effective customer service, and will also allow you to increase your sales figures and revenues.

Warehouse Management Systems

Training your warehouse staff more quickly and cheaply will also provide you with quicker and more efficient service.

With this system, the warehouse staff may instantly train themselves how to ship a product to a customer.

When a product is sold, the Warehouse Management System sends out detailed information to the staff, so they can instantly pass on the information to the customer.

The main goal of call centre Warehouse Management Systems is to increase customer satisfaction, as well as to increase product sales and market share.

Optimization of material flow in the warehouse

Warehouse Management Systems are becoming increasingly complex due to the ever-growing number of potential activities, and therefore automation options in each operation.

The growing importance of each of these roles, as well as their demands for technology-related solutions, calls for new approaches to warehouse management.

The integration of the production, transport, warehouse operations and customer service is the key to improving your company’s warehouse efficiency.

Warehouse Management Systems are increasingly important to your distribution organisation.

By automating warehouse processes, your company can improve efficiency, but also reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is an important factor when it comes to customer order fulfilment.

Delay is a key factor in customer dissatisfaction and is therefore the main target for efficiency improvements.

Optimising orders by considering the following factors will bring significant improvements:

  1. Synergy between production planning and demand,
  2. Cross-docking and cross-dock GPS warehouse management systems;
  3. Optimising supply-chain logistics;
  4. Improving transportation services;
  5. Unloading methods – reduce shipping damage;
  6. Workforce management;
  7. Customers needs, including time and place of delivery;
  8. Quality standards;
  9. Exploiting the full potential of the transportation infrastructure – reduce transportation costs and increase speed; and
  10. Improving the efficiency of the warehouse management operation.

Demand from customers for more rapid delivery times is increasing, which reduces the need for inventory.

Increasing your inventory turns and improving quality are good goals to strive for, but you should also look at reducing the costs associated with carrying inventory.

Carrying the wrong product, holding excess stock, and receiving damaged inventory are all problems associated with traditional warehousing and transport methods.

Warehouse Management Systems are an area where improvements in technology bring great benefits.

An optimised warehousing operation means that you can tailor your offering to the rapidly growing consumer demand for higher product quality.

As well as incorporating a standardised system for recording inventories, Warehouse Management Systems can manage various levels of stock.

Flexible orders

These can be carried out at an increased speed.

An automated Warehouse Management System can also record location of each stock item while being tracked.

Warehouse Management Systems can help to lower relief times and increase flexibility in case of actual customer demand.

The Warehouse Management System gives you the flexibility of tailored orders, reducing the need for excess inventory.

All of this saves you money.

The Warehouse Management System represents a key factor in your company’s profitability.

Warehouse Management Systems allow your business to save on the following costs:

  • Costs associated with inventory transportation;
  • Direct costs associated with storing inventory;
  • Disposal costs; and
  • Costs of damage and theft losses.
  • Warehouse Management System
  • Software: Warehouse Management Systems
  • Warehouse Management Systems can help companies achieve cost savings by:
  • Reducing losses from product damage;
  • Reducing inventory storage costs;
  • Reducing inventory carrying costs;
  • Reducing inventory shortages; and
  • Increasing profit margins.
  • To fully take advantage of the benefits of Warehouse Management Systems, you must consider:
  • Technical and ergonomic requirements;
  • Suitability to customer applications;
  • Clarity of requirements,
  • Cost and time required to install and move data;
  • Particular functions needed;

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