As digital transformation continues worldwide and technology continues to evolve, businesses will continue to follow suit by implementing new and transformative ways of working. This is only natural as their sectors of focus and peers transform.
Given this transformative landscape warehouse management systems (WMS) have the potential to help businesses become more productive and improve the experience of the fulfilment process for all stakeholders. So, what type of functionality, features, and trends can you look for that will provide the desired results?
One of the core strategies that can be employed through a WMS is automation. Automation helps to improve efficiency while removing tedious and time consuming tasks. By digitally automating a process it becomes more efficient and, in many cases, will eliminate steps that are no longer needed. This helps employees engage in important tasks focused on better service and will make them more productive.
Process automation also aides in decreasing errors within your warehouse operations. By increasing automation businesses gain fuller control over their warehouse operations through increased security, standardization, and functionality. Processes associated to order tracking, billing, invoicing, inventory thresholds, receiving, and shipping all become easier with automation. Automation, especially related to Software as a Service (SaaS) products, like Akatia’s WAM warehouse management system, afford the opportunity to easily build and customize processes so that they match their requirements. This type of configurability increases the value proposition of the WMS allowing for changes and updates as business requirements change or scale.
Increasingly real-time data is expanding as businesses continue to implement technology solutions. This is especially true in logistics based operations like warehouse management. Looking forward this is a critical functionality which WMS providers and businesses must employ. Real-time inventory management helps resolve issues that are related to inventory and warehouse management. By having real-time tracking and data, errors can easily be resolved before they become problematic. It also helps businesses to have a clear picture of what is transpiring from an inventory management and order fulfilment picture. This allows all teams to work off the most recent information rather than dated figures and transactions. As well, real-time inventory can increase customer confidence by communicating information that is accurate and timely.
Customer communication is vital to any business and leads nicely into our next forward looking component of a WMS: customer portals. As businesses scale, they inevitably need to manage more customers. Customer portals are a terrific and efficient way to do so. Customer portals allow your business to effectively communicate inventory levels, transmit important information, let customers place orders, manage parts of their business, communicate, and more. Many of these tasks would previously have had to be done manually and with the help of a customer service representative. By facilitating certain tasks through a customer portal your staff can prioritize more important work while allowing the more predictable and repeatable tasks to be handled through the portal. Equally customer experience is more satisfactory because they can readily access information and perform tasks where a service representative was previously required.
As warehousing and inventory demands continue to increase businesses will need to take greater control over all parts of their warehouse operations. This includes the tasks and activities that transpire on the exterior of the warehouse. WMS’ will need to account for this space through yard management functionality. Yard management involves organizing truck loads and the underlying processes from the time that they arrive at the warehouse gate to the time that they leave. Yard management lets businesses better organize what docks trucks are assigned to, communicate to the drivers by SMS or email where they are expected to go, if there are delays, verify load information, perform crossdocking, schedule inbound and outbound loads, and more. Loads can be scheduled and managed days or weeks in advance and if changes occur these can be easily communicated back to drivers or vice versa. By having control of the exterior of the warehouse, businesses can more efficiently manage the warehouse environment. This improves flexibility when unforeseen variables arise and adds an extra layer of organization to your inbound and outbound processes. WMS solutions like WAM that offer this type of built in yard management functionality provide greater value, control, and higher ROI.
Technology within the warehouse environment is increasingly being adopted. As such both business decision makers and stakeholders should look for these essential features as they look to increase optimization. As we look forward real-time visibility, data supported performance, communication, and holistic features/solutions will be the key to achieving and meeting these optimization initiatives. There is a clear path for industry optimization by putting technology as a central focus through a WMS, which will help businesses evolve and become more efficient.
If like other businesses you are looking to optimize your warehousing operations by implementing an advanced WMS solution, like Akatia’s WAM, click the link below and get in contact with us.