A finely tuned warehouse in motion is a thing of beauty, a series of fluid movements that store, locate, package, and ship items in synchronization. Warehouses should be places of strict organization and efficiency, and for good reason: they have to be. Items are ordered in a manner that facilitates the optimal balance of incoming and outgoing product.
But what if it were possible to achieve even greater synchronization? With a good warehouse inventory management system (WMS) in place, greater efficiency, accuracy and organization are possible. Here are some of the examples of the wonders of WMS.
As a standalone application or as a component within an enterprise resource planning software, warehouse management systems make inventory management simpler by allowing users to have full control over all day-to-day operations with automated data collection. Inventory becomes more visible because inventory levels and stock locations can be easily monitored. The cycle counting process can also be fully automated.
The Noticeable Impact
- Increased Inventory Accuracy – The time spent on collecting data for the items in stock pays dividends with the first notable improvement: inventory becomes more accurate. Not only are all of the quantities accurate, but the locations are too. WMS allows users to accurately track the movement of items in stock in real time. So whether it’s an item that will be shipped in a carton or a packet that is being shifted to another location, it’s noted in the system. Consequently, it becomes far less likely that an item will be lost in the shuffle.
Increased inventory accuracy has residual effects, such as quicker replenishment times and improved stock arrangement by type.
- Reduced Inventory – With all items in stock remaining in full visibility and accessibility – and inventory levels being closely monitored – it becomes much easier to increase outbound flow, resulting in less occurrences in which items sit around longer than necessary.
- Reduced Order Pick Times – Full visibility and accessibility of the items in stock results in a faster and more effective picking process. Orders are not only accurate, but they can be picked faster which creates an increase in the number of order picks that can be accommodated in a single day.
- Improved Order Fulfilment – Misplaced inventory is the easiest way for inaccuracy to creep in – and then out – of a warehouse, since misplaced items lead to inaccurate order picks. Improved inventory accuracy means orders are fulfilled exactly as requested.
The residual effect of this can be better shipping costs, since the reduction in shipping errors saves money.
All of the Above Factors Lead to improved customer satisfaction. With accurate orders shipping out in a timely manner and fewer items getting lost in warehouse oblivion, freight forwarders will be more satisfied with the service the warehouse has provided, while customers on the receiving end will be satisfied with their orders.
A Tool in the Right Hands
Warehouse management systems are tools. In the hands of personnel unwilling or unable to pay close attention to the major details, WMS will not improve KPIs. However, with a diligent, detail-oriented staff willing to carefully collect and store all inventory data, a WMS is an invaluable tool that improves performances and ROI all around.
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