With global eCommerce growth projected to reach $29 trillion in 2023, US warehouse space demand has increased exponentially. This study expects that warehouse space requirements will surpass 1 billion square feet in America. The main challenges for manufacturers and retailers are navigating an increasingly complex labor market and a shrinking warehouse space. Warehouse management tools help organizations tackle these and several other challenges.
In this article, we take a quick look at what a warehouse management system is before looking at the top five features of this essential tool.
What is a warehouse management system (WMS)?
Warehouse management encompasses multiple processes that help businesses run and oversee the everyday operations of the warehouse. A warehouse management system, also known as WMS, enhances productivity and efficiency by automating warehouse operations. It makes complex processes seem simple and streamlines your workforce's productivity.
From optimizing your warehouse layout to managing labor and fulfilling orders, a warehouse management module integrates warehouse management-related processes into a single interface. It simplifies essential daily tasks, including tracking goods, automating data input by reading RFID tags and barcodes, and maximizing warehouse storage space.
Why do you need an up-to-date WMS?
Warehouse management systems have been around for a long time. However, many of these tools are legacy systems that do not support artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and predictive analytics. As a result, older WMS modules may not be able to accurately help you move items to and from your warehouse, and derive smart insights.
They may also provide outdated data that does not support timely order fulfillment. For example, shipping may get delayed if a purchase order is not immediately updated. Worse, you may not have the product in your inventory. This predictably causes damage to your brand image and reduces customer satisfaction.
Modern and up-to-date WMS tools like Priority's WMS module are equipped with the latest technologies to automate most warehouse management processes. They help process orders quickly and provide accurate forecasts and reports. In addition, they ensure that you make data-driven decisions.
An up-to-date WMS combines advanced features that help businesses run warehouse operations efficiently.
Real-time inventory tracking and management
According to The BCI Supply Chain Resilience Report, 69% of organizations lack visibility over their supply chains. A Logistics Bureau study found that only 22% of companies have control over their supply chain network. Consequently, supply chain visibility and tracking are among the top priorities for most companies.
WMS provides enhanced inventory visibility thanks to its ability to automatically read RFID tags, barcodes, serial numbers, etc.
Up-to-date WMS modules allow users to track and view items on their mobile devices, thanks to which your warehouse technicians can process warehouse-related operations anywhere.
Relevant parties can track and view each item in real-time as it moves from one location to the next.
Priority's WMS provides tracking and traceability tools that help collect and retain essential data necessary for regulatory compliance. This is specifically important for pharmaceuticals and food. The Delivery Tracking App is another example of how Priority's WMS can help your drivers document and collect digital signatures upon delivery. Priority's WMS allows staff to quickly scan and print RFID tags and barcode labels, streamlining inventory management. Most importantly, all data is synchronized in real-time, allowing warehouse managers and supervisors to view and track conveyance, sales, and delivery of items.
Automated receiving and put-away processes.
Managing warehouse space helps companies increase their productivity by 25% and achieve a 20% gain in space usage.
- A fully-functional WMS module helps you optimally allocate, move and store inventory and equipment in your warehouse.
- Even before your stock arrives, the WMS uses labor and equipment-related data to help you determine the best time and date to receive shipments.
- Similarly, a WMS helps plan the route of outbound items and reduce warehouse traffic and confusion.
Priority WMS helps you trace accessible locations to "put away" inventory from the production department, dock, or kitting area to storage space. You can confirm the deliveries match the corresponding Goods Receiving Voucher (GRV), Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN), and similar documents. Priority WMS automates palletization and put-away tasks and helps you break multiple tasks into sub-tasks. Consequently, it helps maximize available warehouse space utilization and document received goods. Additionally, you can automate the outbound movement of items and effortlessly track them until they reach their destination.
Order processing and fulfillment optimization
Storing items in warehouses for an extended period can result in a waste of space and the expiration of perishable items. In addition, fulfilling online orders using manual methods is an arduous task prone to errors.
- A WMS uses algorithms and data to predict when certain products are most in demand and ensures their replenishment at the right time.
- A WMS implements accurate demand forecasting and ensures an optimal stock level.
- This is important for retailers and eCommerce businesses, in addition to manufacturers who store raw materials in their warehouses.
Priority WMS offers features that simplify order fulfillment by automating and streamlining the picking, packing, and shipping processes. You can easily set up picking or shipping waves if specific customer requirements. This is particularly important during the holiday season when shipment-related tasks automation significantly impacts order fulfillment. The algorithm identifies the quickest routes possible to fulfill orders in the shortest possible time. You can track and view this data and relay this information to receivers through push notifications.
Transportation and shipping management
Studies show that shippers can reduce their freight invoice payments by 95% if they use an advanced transportation management system. This allows you to offer free shipping, which has been proven to reduce cart abandonments by 18%.
- A WMS comes with features that help you streamline shipping and transportation management processes.
- You can avoid sending incorrect items by ensuring that every item is shipped after scanning its RFID tag or barcode label.
- In addition, tracking and traceability of items ensure that recipients are informed of any delays due to unforeseen circumstances.
Priority's WMS module provides advanced shipping and transportation management features that help businesses deliver products quickly and automatically track and monitor inbound and outbound shipments.
Priority WMS ensures automatic inventory replenishment, ensuring orders fulfillment. Priority WMS's intelligent algorithms help warehouses avoid overstocking and eliminate product expiration.
Data analytics and reporting
A WMS collects and stores valuable data from multiple warehouse-related processes. From inventory management and order fulfillment to returns and expenses.
- An advanced WMS generates valuable reports and insights based on this data and helps you make accurate forecasts.
- In addition, it also generates reports that may be necessary to submit to regulatory bodies for compliance requirements, depending on your jurisdiction.
- You can eliminate guesswork and make data-driven decisions that result in superior warehouse management.
Priority's WMS module delivers advanced analytical features that derive accurate insights and forecasts. Accurate demand forecasting, identifying product sales patterns, and even the most efficient routes to move items within the warehouse. Naturally, this enhances productivity and efficiency across your warehouse operations.
In summary, the WMS benefits include:
- Quick movement of items to and from your warehouse boosts employee morale and improves workplace productivity.
- Real-time inventory tracking and management ensures greater visibility and traceability of items.
- Automated receiving and put-away processes ensure optimal warehouse space usage.
- Timely order processing, efficient shipping, and optimized order fulfillment improve customer satisfaction and boost revenue.
- Data analytics and reporting ensure that you gain access to accurate forecasts and make timely reports that regulatory bodies may require.
If you are a manufacturer or own an eCommerce or retail business, the WMS module should be an essential part of your ERP system. Contact us today to learn more about how it can help you improve your warehouse management.