Warehouse Management Software is known to assist in improving warehouses of different businesses. For retail businesses, it can be challenging to choose the right WMS that will assist in enhancing their warehouses. This article will provide a guide that they can use before finding the right WMS for their retail business.
Warehouse Management Software (WMS) is a software application that assists in managing and controlling the daily operations involved in the warehouse. The software assists in receiving inventory, picking and shipping out orders, and advising how to replenish stock.
Businesses that choose to implement WMS can expect the following benefits.
1. Optimizing Space and Decreasing Expenses
WMS optimizes the flow within the warehouse as it analyses the best way to use the floor space based on the material and task characteristics. By using floor and space plan analysis, the software can determine how retail businesses can best use their warehouse space. Space and floor analysis eliminates the chances of waste occurring, which further reduces the operational expenses involved in the warehouse.
2. Inventory Visibility
WMS also assists in gaining accurate visibility of the real-time inventory levels in the warehouse. Visibility occurs through WMS automation like RIFD, scanning and other location-tracking methods that eliminate issues such as losing, forgetting, or misplacing inventory within the warehouse. Inventory visibility ensures that businesses gain more accurate estimates of supply which prevents backorders.
3. Improved Labour Utilisation
WMS ensures that the best workers are always chosen to perform particular tasks. It considers the worker’s skill levels, the equipment required to complete the task, and the worker’s proximity to the warehouse. WMS also uses labour forecasting for designing schedules and assigning each worker their jobs daily. Through automation, the software can improve picking accuracy and labour efficiency.
4. Traceable Inventory
Inventory can easily be traced using WMS as it uses batch, lot and serial numbering. Lot or batch numbers show the group which materials were made, whereas serial numbers identify specific items. WMS offers traceability by matching lot/batch and serial numbers with any incoming receipts and outgoing shipments. The ability to trace materials reduces redundancy, allows for accurate planning, and makes recall situations easier.
WMS Features for Retail Business
WMS is one of the best systems that retail businesses can use to improve business performance and reduce inefficiencies. Below are some of the features that retail companies need to look out for.
1. Multi-Location Fulfilment
Most retail businesses operate across many channels, which means that they have their inventory stored in multiple places. Therefore, each location must achieve efficiency, which retail businesses can achieve by integrating all locations within the sales channels. WMS enables you to fulfil orders from different locations while also allowing your orders to be routed automatically to the assigned warehouse.
2. Advanced Inventory Counts
Your WMS should not only be able to count your inventory efficiently and quickly, but it should also enable cycle count, which is a more advanced function. Cycle counts are lists of products that need to be counted, including high value and high-risk counts or the ABC method. Using advanced inventory counts reduces errors as it can accurately track all inventory.
3. Real-Time Inventory Updates
To ensure that all your sales channels are constantly running, then you need to be aware of the inventory that you have available. Therefore, it is crucial to have real-time inventory and updates throughout your sales channels. Having accurate inventory information prevents you from disappointing your customers through overselling. When choosing WMS for your business, ensure that it can be integrated with your inventory as well as when and how inventory updates occur.
4. Data Reporting and Analytics
A common issue that retail businesses have to deal with is constantly adapting to shifts in demand. There might be months when there is more stock at hand, and then at other times, they need to dump inventory. Therefore, it is critical to have data and valid predictive analytics as they make it easier to generate forecasts that retail businesses can use for commerce channels. You will be able to plan for demand and respond quickly to customers wants. Data reporting and analytics also ensure that you reduce your inventory costs while having better in-stock availability for popular items.
5. Shipping and Carrier Management
It is crucial to find warehouse management software that can be easily integrated with carrier management systems and shipping providers. The integration with these systems will ensure that you save both money and time by selecting the cost-effective shipping provider for your desired time frame. Your business will also have more time to focus on other activities such as sales and marketing.
6. Cloud-Based Access
Cloud-based systems are the future of modern warehouses eliminating the use of notepads and clipboards. Using cloud-based systems also offers many benefits for your business, such as regular updates that are cheaper and less time-consuming, as well as the reduced total cost of ownership. You must decide what the right hardware for your business is and ensure that the WMS you choose can support it.
Retail businesses face unique issues when it comes to warehouse processes. Therefore, they need to ensure that they choose the best warehouse management system that caters to their specific needs. By considering the features listed above, they can ensure that they choose the best system to assist their warehouse processes.
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