Are you looking to enhance the operations of your warehouse business? Do you want to increase its productivity? Then it’s time you consider investing in warehouse management software. These tools have proven to help ease processes for many businesses.
However, just because their use has been made popular doesn’t mean the search for the right one is any easier. There are several important elements you should look for in warehouse management software for it to be a worthy investment.
Ideally, an effective warehouse management software (WMS) should have the following features.
With stock handling being the primary operation in a warehouse, a good WMS should have elements that aid in this aspect.
For instance, it should confirm goods received in your warehouse against those ordered. This is often a very tedious task to do manually. Noting such discrepancies is vital to ensure accuracy in your systems and follow up with suppliers on any surplus or deficiencies.
It should also ease the process of labeling received goods and indicating important product information, such as expiry dates. With certain software, a worker can scan a given product, have the data go into the WMS, and then click on the Print icon on the software. This will reduce your team’s work to simply sticking to the items’ printed labels.
Stock monitoring is another feature a WMS should have. This allows the software to track product expiration dates and plan their movement accordingly. It utilizes the first-in, first-out principle. Stock monitoring also involves analyzing the goods available, identifying when stocks are low, and informing you of the same. Some tools will even automatically order the goods to ensure you don’t run out.
As with any business, customers can return their ordered goods if they are dissatisfied with them. An effective WMS should be able to process such cases and update the system accordingly.
Order And Shipping Management
As a warehousing company, you interact with various parties, including suppliers. For easier ordering of goods from suppliers, the WMS should have a platform where you can sync all the contacts of your suppliers, make lists for their orders, and automatically send them.
The warehouse management platform should allow you to track orders in real-time to ensure the products reach the end recipient within the expected time frame. With most clients shopping and making orders through different platforms, the WMS also needs to integrate with these platforms to receive all these orders with no problems.
Shipping tends to be quite an undertaking, requiring much precision to ensure that the client gets the desired product and that the suppliers’ instructions are fulfilled. Therefore, the packaging process should be made easy. The software should autogenerate company labels to be stuck on the packaging. It should also consolidate products going to the same address for easier handling.
The financial aspect of your warehouse must be thorough and accurate because, at the end of the day, the main goal of your business is to make profits.
Errors are likely to be made in calculations done manually by you or your employees. This could be due to fatigue, a misunderstanding of some processes, or simply human error. Any mistakes could be detrimental to your warehouse business and could cause losses. To mitigate this, your chosen warehouse management software should be able to automatically generate invoices, prepare balance sheets, make billings, and calculate shipping rates. These can be generated from the data the WMS processes daily and can thus be done without error.
The WMS should also make financial analyses and reports on your company based on its operations. It should be able to project the best-selling goods, the most profitable client of the year, and the peak seasons of your business, among other financial analyses you can use to grow your business.
Warehouses require a sizeable workforce to run due to the volume of goods being handled. Because of this, job allocations can prove to be a challenge to the head or manager.
Therefore, effective warehouse management software should be able to help counter this. Based on data fed into its system, it can determine the quantity and type of goods arriving, and it can then indicate the number of workers needed for a loading job and the expertise required. This helps ease the process of job scheduling and saves you time.
The WMS should also enable you to measure the performance of your team. It should give reports on their output, including the number of goods packaged and off-loaded, and the orders handled. Besides weighing performance, it can help increase productivity since the workers know their work is being monitored and their output recorded.
With digitization being the name of the game in most industries, you should ensure that you aren’t left behind. Working in office spaces is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Therefore, you may need a WMS that allows your team to work from any location. This significantly reduces the workload for your field team and top bosses who don’t visit the warehouse daily.
The software should allow your staff to make new entries, track orders, and access data with just their handheld gadgets. A mobile system can also give your clients a platform on which they can track their orders and make new ones.
Even as there’s a need to adopt warehouse management software, you shouldn’t do this process blindly. Your chosen software should easily integrate with the current systems in your warehouse for easier workflow. Some of the core systems it should blend in with are accounting, security, and ERPs. The two systems should boost each other’s functionalities. For the WMS to make accurate financial reports, it must get some data from the accounting tools.
Besides integration, the software should be easy to use and easy to understand by you and your team. An easy system increases adaptability and removes the need for trial and error when operating the software, which can be risky. A small mistake due to a lack of know-how can lead to many losses.
Automation Of Processes
Your chosen warehouse management software should be able to automate most of your warehouse processes, especially routine tasks. This should spread across inbound and outbound operations, inventory management, order management, and risk management, among other significant functions.
With automation, minor errors are made during data input and analysis. This will give you an accurate platform to make analyses and projections that are vital in the decision-making process of your warehouse company.
As businesses in different industries continue to improve with different technological advancements, you may want to consider sourcing warehouse management software for your company for the same reasons. However, just any WMS won’t do; if you’d like to improve your warehouse operations, look for warehouse management software that includes the features mentioned above. In doing so, you’ll be able to make your business more efficient and easier to manage.
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