The Benefits of a Digital Warehouse Management System

From getting fresh fruit and vegetables to our grocery stores to delivering the essential building materials to construction sites, supply chains are integral to the smooth function of society. Supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic caused losses in the millions and made it difficult for the public to have access to many items that we have taken for granted. As the world revs up to get back to business, how can businesses improve their logistics and set themselves up for success?

Where The Digital Transformation Happens

Seasoned logistical management leaders know that the warehouse is the heart of an efficient supply chain. From storage to packing and shipping, a finely-oiled centralized warehouse operation can provide very important economic benefits for a business.

Centralized warehousing is a system where a business maintains one warehouse instead of several separate small facilities across their service territory. The central warehouse is usually set in a key location to facilitate the easy storage and distribution of products.

While multiple distribution centers may seem like a convenient idea at first, many businesses find that they eventually evolve into a management nightmare. By using a single central warehouse, businesses can have more control over their operations and manage logistics more cost-effectively.

One of the most important benefits of warehousing is that it provides economies of scale. It allows businesses to trade in bulk which translates to lower purchase and shipping costs. Accumulation operations also enable warehouses to hold a steady margin of stock to balance supply and demand.

With the introduction of digital warehouse management systems (WMS), businesses can further fine-tune their warehouse logistics, ensuring that cycle times are reduced. In addition, space is saved, labor costs are reduced, and customer satisfaction is increased, all bringing your business towards a more beautiful bottom line.

Digital Warehouse Management Benefits

The first step to realizing this dream of a transforming your normal warehouse into a well-run digitally managed warehouse is adopting a leading warehouse management system. A WMS is a software application that is designed to automate and optimize warehouse and distribution center operations.

Real-Time Inventory

According to The State of Small Business Report by Wasp Barcode, 46 percent of small to medium enterprises either use a manual method to track inventory or do not do any tracking whatsoever. Considering the numerous benefits of inventory management, the loss of potential profit is mind-boggling.

Inventory management is the lynchpin of a warehouse logistics system. A basic WMS should cover the following inventory management requirements: registering all the cargo that enters the warehouse, assigning each item a unique identifier, registering its storage location, tracking its status, and marking its shipping situation.

Because inventory information is stored on the WMS, warehouse employees can easily find and identify the relevant items if required. Inventory status is automatically updated whenever an item moves in and out of the warehouse, allowing for a real-time picture of workable inventory.

The right WMS can even help businesses to implement just-in-time inventory, a peak efficiency method that schedules the arrival and departure of stock to minimize storage time and maximize space usage.

Less Paper More Power

Saying goodbye to manual paper processes and hello to an automated WMS not only helps the environment but does wonders for a business as well. In its most basic form, a WMS can streamline your warehouse processes and greatly reduce the possibility of human error.

In a paper-based warehouse with manual inventory, operator logs are the only metric for tracking productivity and performance. Even if your operators are trusted and experienced, recorded data could be inaccurate or erroneous and vulnerable to manipulation by bad actors.

Furthermore, discrepancies between physical inventory and inventory ‘on the books’ cannot easily be explained and can lead to confusion and poor stock purchasing decisions.

Searching for the status or location of an item in a paper-based system requires managers to refer to multiple points of contact. With WMS, businesses can effortlessly manage and track the complex flow of goods as they move along the supply chain.

Satisfaction All Round

Through the automation of manual processes, businesses can fulfill more orders. Some advanced WMS even integrate small parcel solutions which allow businesses to implement convenient hands-free picking, packing, and shipping through the use of the WMS platform.

Similarly, WMS help businesses save on labor overheads since much of the tedious manual labor that required the attention of several staff can now be performed through automation. WMS can also assist warehouse employees in their daily tasks such as helping them choose the fastest pick and place routes.

Warehouse employees working in tandem with a WMS often report improved morale as their efficiency is enhanced by the automated system. In addition, they spend less time worrying about errors and more time focusing on issues that require a human touch such as customer service and creative problem solving.  

A sophisticated warehouse management system is an invaluable asset for any business that holds inventory. By undergoing digital transformation and adopting a WMS, businesses can turn their clunky, error-ridden supply chain into a smooth, accurate process that brings customer satisfaction, business growth, and unprecedented profits.