A Clydebuilt insight.....
To understand the importance of a warehouse management system, we must first look at the role a warehouse plays in our life. The official definition of a warehouse is a large building where raw materials or manufactured goods are stored before they are exported or distributed for sale. Historically a warehouse has been used for long term storage, providing a suitable house for products until they were required, whereas nowadays the aim is to shorten the product cycle and lower physical inventories.
The pace of life has changed dramatically over the years, certainly the growth of consumerism has meant that companies have had to adapt the way they operate to satisfy customer demand. Customers ordering goods online want it delivered to them as soon as possible. Companies are looking to reduce costs by outsourcing the warehousing and distribution of their goods, so they can focus on marketing. The responsibility for supplying the right goods, at the right time, to the right people then falls upon the head of the supply chain operators. To operate profitably, warehousemen are looking to have less stock in the warehouse (to facilitate more through put for more customers), have shorter process cycles, providing better customer service to both the supplier and the consumers. It almost seems like a paradox; providing a higher level of more efficient service, while lowering operating costs.
That's where a WMS fits in
A Warehouse Management System is a clever software solution designed to monitor and control the storage and movements of goods within the warehouse from receipt, picking, any value added rework, put-away, despatches and return management. Capable software records all transaction associated with the stock, including information such as BBE Date, Shelf Life Remaining, Size and serial number as well as any inter-warehouse moves.
A successful Warehouse Management System will support a business and facilitate the automation of key manual processes within warehouse environments, especially if utilising bar code scanners, RFID or voice technologies – additional functionality that supports a true 'real-time' environment. An implementation will reduce warehouse paperwork, and administrative duties such as manually keying data into spread sheets. This in turn realises another benefit; the reduction or removal of human/data error. An increase in accuracy is great news for customer retention; a satisfied customer is unlikely to look elsewhere. If you have ever spent time looking for lost stock, or had to satisfy a customer query based on historic data, you will understand how frustrating it is to spend this time inefficiently when there are more productive and pressing tasks that could be getting done.
Communications is of real importance in our modern day world, with suppliers and customer alike both looking for efficient ways of communicating. With the main aim of speeding up processes while eliminating data entry errors, the ability to receive and deliver electronic information when and in whatever forms the clients wants is of real importance. If working with existing back office systems, a comprehensive integration between your warehouse management system and existing ERP system will produce a best of breed result, streamlining your business without compromising any functionality in any area of your business.
Increasingly, companies are looking to have up to date, real-time stock information available across all channels of their business. Particularly with the rise in e-commerce, when customers place orders for goods over the web they want to know immediately if the product is in stock, and expect a quick delivery time. Using RF and barcoding within the warehouse provides this level of up to date stock information across all business functionalities, and helps increase accuracies and throughput – typically 25 - 40% increase in efficiency - using the same staff.
Our Warehouse Software
We have written LocateIT Warehouse Management System to help logistics companies remain competitive in today's changing market. It has been developed to support warehousing needs from a range of different logistics backgrounds, helping to lower your operating cost, improve your service level and future proof your business. Our warehouse software competes successfully at all levels of the market, allowing our customers to do the same. Users of LocateIT WMS find it easier to offer specialised 3PL services in line with the big players, and many of our customers have expanded as a direct result of using this comprehensive warehouse software.