If your business has inventory and a warehouse to manage a robust WMS is crucial to your daily operations. A reliable WMS helps with everything from accurate inventory tracking, receiving and fulfilment processes all the way to worker efficiency.
Business requirements are continually changing as is technology. While the WMS a business started out with met the needs reliably well, the same WMS may no longer be able to do so moving forward. It thus becomes important to periodically evaluate if your inventory and warehouse management solution is still relevant and meets your current and future requirements.
With this in mind we’ve put together a few points to take under considerations in your evaluation process.
The first place to start is functionality and what a good inventory and warehouse management solution offers in this respect. Basics like accurate inventory tracking, management of stock levels, receiving and order fulfilment are critical. As well, reporting on your inventory and warehouse data is key. An ideal inventory and warehouse solution shouldn’t just track but be able to give you actionable data and feedback to make good business decisions and adjust to variables. Without proper reporting functionality these types of insights can be difficult to procure. Finally, the solution should also be customizable to your business needs and be able to integrate with your business tools, like accounting software.
So, with this type of functional considerations what are some of the indications that it might be time to move away from your current inventory and warehouse management solution?
The first indication that your business has outgrown your current inventory and warehouse management solution is if it does not effectively track inventory. It seems simple but one of the biggest issues we come across in our discussions with clients is the inability of the customer’s current solution to reliably account for all the inventory that is actively being stored. When your business started out it may have been relatively easy to track your inventory numbers. As businesses grow though, and more products and stock are actively stored inventory solutions can become ineffective in accurate tracking. Something as simple as the inability to move inventory from one location to another or track what inventory has been used to fulfill an order can become real hinderances to your reliable inventory tracking.
The next indicator would be time consuming tasks which affect efficiency and production. As businesses grow, so do turnaround times. At one point manual processes like crosschecking that orders are properly fulfilled, filling out of paper forms or gathering carrier rates may have been supportable. As the business excels and grows though these processes may become time consuming and cumbersome. These types of manual tasks can be inherently open to error and while these errors were supportable before they may not be once scale is applied to the equation. These errors and cumbersome tasks have a direct correlation to profitability and efficiency. If this sounds like your business case, it may be time to look into another solution.
This leads us directly into our next indicator, scale. The size and scope of your business may look very different than say 5 to 10 years ago. With growth comes challenges, like output, more products, transactions and more. Legacy inventory and warehouse management solutions often have issues with scaling up. Either they can only account for a certain number of product types or SKU’s, can’t effectively track lot or serial numbers nor effectively increase the number of locations. All these factors can present real challenges for a business that has surpassed the limitations of an inventory and warehouse management solution. A cloud solution like Akatia’s WAM is built to exponentially grow. As the business grows new processes, locations, and functions can be applied and confirued to deal with the new business landscape. In this way the solution keeps pace with the business. If your inventory and warehouse management solution is experiencing these issues a solution that can scale may be a good fit. It will allow for the customization required to scale and provide the assurance that the solution will have longevity.
Scale is the perfect segue into our final indicator. Many inventory solutions do a good job at inventory management. But not all have the ability to manage multiple warehouses in parallel. If your business is scaling, then chances are so will your warehousing needs. This is true whether the strategy is that of a centralized warehouse with smaller regional depots, or even retail locations, or else multiple full scale warehouse profit centers under operated under one organization. If your current solution cannot support a consolidated multi warehouse management under one seamless environment, then a 360 degree view of your entire operational footprint may be difficult if not impossible. By having a solution that can manage multiple warehouses you will be able to both segment, consolidate, and standardize your warehouse and inventory operations across your entire organization in such away where each warehouse will operate independently and provide mutual support at the same time. Should the need arise for another warehouse in the future you’ll also be assured that you can add it to your existing inventory and warehouse management solution’s environment without much effort.
We’ve covered four major indicators to evaluate if your inventory and warehouse management solution needs a change. However, there are many other factors and indicators that may need to be brought under scrutinization when deciding to move on to a new inventory and warehouse management solution. Factors such as reporting tools, billing and invoicing, carrier rate retrieval, yard management capabilities, kitting, barcode scanning capabilities, cross-docking, process automation, and more are all important functional considerations. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that your next solution will meet all your needs, work for your business, and will be customizable to your businesses use case.
If you’d like to talk more about how this can be done feel free to reach out to us at Akatia Technologies. We have a wealth of experience in implementing our inventory and warehouse management solution successfully for a variety of businesses and industry sectors of all sizes.