Is It Time for a New Warehouse Management SystemSeptember 4, 2018
A New Warehouse Management System Maybe In Order
If you are considering a new Warehouse Management System, then the thought of implementing a new system probably makes you nervous. And it should. Implementing a Warehouse Management System can be a mammoth of a project, but it is worth the time if you can save yourself from falling behind technologically. We exist in a consumer driven world, which means that everyone in the fulfillment industry is at the mercy of the free market. Consumers expect quick and error-free shipping, receiving, returns, and exchanges. Because fulfillment is a buyers market, disorganized warehouses that struggle with errors, inventory management, shipping rates, and on-time fulfillment will eventually fail. It may not yet be time for you to implement a new Warehouse Management System, but it is always wise to evaluate your operations and deliberate whether or not a new solution is in order.
Does Your Current Warehouse Management System Feel Out of Date?
Whether you have a software provider or you are keeping track of your inventory with an excel spreadsheet, it should be pretty easy to see if your solution is working for you. Your inventory management system may be perfect for your operation, but if you are not sure then ask yourself some questions:
Is it difficult to make changes to your system?
If you want to make an adjustment or add a process and it is a massive pain, then it is probably time to upgrade.
Is your system in the cloud?
If it’s not, it should be. Not only are updates seamless and simple, but also you avoid paying a specialist to come to your warehouse and make the adjustments for you.
Does your system get clunky as you scale?
Modern Warehouse Management Systems are made to scale as you grow.
“It used to work great, but…” Sometimes software is not updated and maintained very well. This is especially true for older, native systems. If you have trouble with customer service, the system hasn’t been updated for a while, or you feel like you are on an island, it is time to make a switch.
Are You Losing Money Because of Errors?
It is hard to know exactly where the “Too Many” line is drawn, but if you are experiencing more than .01% errors then you’ve got a problem. It is not that .01% is necessarily terrible; it’s more that your error rate could easily be 0. Modern systems are really, really efficient and it’s possible to go months without an error. Moreover, it may actually save you money to update your system. If you have low perfect order rates, you may be on the hook for the Returns and Exchanges or the shipping costs. That money can add up and before you know it you could pay for an error-eliminating system with all you spent to undo the mistakes.
Is Your Current Process Inefficient?
If it takes too long to process, pick, pack, and ship and order, then it is time to start vetting new systems. A solid Warehouse Management System will not only support picking methods, but it will also suggest methods that you may not be currently utilizing. With a smart system you can avoid over handling the orders, jamming up your receiving dock, and wasting labor repeating tasks.
Do You Have Visibility and the Ability to Automate?
You need visibility both inside and outside of your operation. This means that you can quickly request and monitor incoming supply and avoid “Out of Stock” scenarios. Warehouse Management Systems give you the freedom to accurately forecast and liberate you from manually updating your inventory levels. Because everything happens in the system you save a lot of time and lost dollars. If your WMS does not have this functionality then you are losing out on profitability, growth, and stability.
Is Your Warehouse Disorganized?
This is perhaps the most tangible of all your considerations because it is easy to see when a warehouse is in disarray. Operating in a disorganized and chaotic environment is extremely foolish. It is dangerous to you, your employees, and your inventory. It is inefficient and will slow you down. It limits your growth. If you feel you are running low on space or if your warehouse is not beautifully laid out, then your WMS failed you.
Is Your Staff a Huge Expense?
If you experience a long onboarding period for new employees, that means your system is too complicated. Leave the moving parts to the developers; your new Warehouse Management System should be so easy that a picker can process orders perfectly within a couple of hours. If your system is outdated you will experience a lot of turnover, frustration, and uneven workloads.
Do You Ever Have to Pay to Expedite a Shipment?
Mistakes happen, but not very often with a good WMS. If you are consistently missing deadlines and paying expedited shipping costs, then your system isn’t working. Error free and on-time shipment of products is a core competency of a a good, new Warehouse Management System. If you are having trouble with the most basic aspect of your service then your WMS is not competent.
Are Your Operations Hurting Your Bottom Line?
Consider what is involved in the cost of doing business in this industry: labor costs, shipping fees, returns, equipment, software systems, supplies, the physical warehouse, returns, etc. Fulfillment is getting more competitive and expensive, so if you do not monitor your expenses you can easily find yourself operating at a loss. The cost per shipment should go down as your business grows and if this is not the case then you should immediately consider rethinking your software and strategy.
Are You Missing Opportunities?
Never let the reason you don’t take on a new client be preceded by the words, “we can’t”. There is not a Warehouse Management System in the world that is worth the money if it does not support your business’s growth. Your WMS should help you expand your competencies and capabilities, not hinder them. This means lot control, expiration date, unit of measure, special procedures, and much more. If your WMS does not at least offer more functionality than you need, it may not be a very good one. You want to be able to always say yes to new clients, grow limitlessly, and never worry about interrupting the current flow of operations.
If you feel it may be time to consider a new WMS, you can contact Shipedge here.