Warehouse Management Explained
Tags: ERP   Warehousing   Stock  
15/04/2011 12:00 AM

A better organised warehouse can benefit your business by reducing costs and saving time. While not all warehouses would require Business Software like a “warehouse management system” (WMS), it may still be needed to ensure future growth. Good warehouse management not only reduces labour costs and time doing inventory, but it can also have an impact on the type of service you provide for your clients.

Using a Warehouse Management System
While the list of benefits of a WMS may seem long, you need to look at your own business to see if an overall solution in the form of software is viable. Remember, you will still need time and manpower to maintain a new system, as well as being able to train your staff and implement new procedures. This is what WMS can do well in the right circumstances:

  • Increase order speed – With good management (and software) you will see an increase in order and invoicing dispatch
  • Improved picking and packing – If you have a good WMS you can use it to organise your warehouse stock and make it easier to store and to retrieve for orders
  • Accuracy for Stock on Hand – If you have your WMS operating alongside your inventory management you will see stock on hand become more realistic. That means less orders cancelled due to a discrepancy in the records

Efficiency in the Office and Warehouse
Communications between your main office and the warehouse are crucial, and any form of software that can improve integration is a godsend. Because you have office staff who are busy with customers as well as warehouse staff who are busy fulfilling orders, it is essential that these parts of your business need to be flawless. If you rely on programs to enter orders then you also rely on these programs to send the correct information to the warehouse floor.

Integrating Your Systems
Because a computer program will only do what it is told, it is important to keep strict and accurate records (along with any discrepancies) to keep databases up to date. This means having a solid integration between your inventory and sales system. Without quick updates your stock levels could be inaccurate and you will be selling products you don't have. You must have good staff as well as good software to have your warehouse running smoothly.

Cost Benefits of Better Warehouse Management
It may seem that, if you spend money on WMS and other warehouse improvements, you will gain immediate benefits. Remember to stay realistic:

  • Consider the amount that it will cost to implement new software or improve warehouse operations.
  • Add up what it will save you in time and labour, and don't forget you will need time to maintain software and train staff.
  • Finally, compare the two amounts to make sure it will save you time and improve your business in the short, medium and long terms.

Warehouse management is a two part operation consisting of staff and systems and the two must run smoothly to see savings. Through better warehouse management you will begin to see higher accuracy and faster ordering and invoice processes but only if you choose the right way to improve your warehouse. Take some time, do the math, and remember there is always room for improvement, you just need to know where to start.

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