“Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) struggle to compete on equal footing with the enterprise behemoths that dominate their industry. In other words, how do local retailers compete with the Amazon.com and Walmarts of the world?” - TotalRetail
Meeting today’s consumer expectations is no small feat. To effectively manage shrinking time to delivery windows, fulfil omnichannel orders and enable drop-ship commerce, staff need instant access to supply chain data and the ability to act on it quickly and easily. This is particularly challenging for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) considering tight resources and competitive pressures.
To be able to fulfil these orders promptly and accurately, you need to know where your stock is. You also need to avoid storing unnecessary items as well as running out of popular ones during peak seasons, especially if you’re promising next-day delivery.
With resources tight and competitive pressure relentless, businesses are pushed to revaluate their legacy systems and invest in new solutions. Staying ahead means selecting a technology partner with a proven track record of delivering efficiency and a low cost of ownership.
Where do you start?
Constricted budgets mean you might not be able to purchase a system with all bells and whistles – and in all honesty, you don’t need them. So, once you’ve identified the need to streamline your supply chain, you need to ask yourself exactly what your business wants to achieve from automation.
However, pinpointing where changes are needed might not be an easy task. Sometimes, small operational problems that slip through the cracks of every day routine escalate into larger issues.
An easy way to conduct this analysis is documenting your fulfilment procedures from beginning to end. Once you’ve written down every step of the process, list the pros and cons of how they’re currently conducted and identify areas for improvement. Finally, focus your resources on the areas that will drive higher overall efficiency and productivity.
Once you’ve analysed your supply chain and identified your key areas for development, it’s time to analyse your facility’s floorspace and racking system.
Your warehouse’s storage system should have been planned and designed to facilitate the flow of your supply chain. Thus, you should review your warehouse’s layout and ensure it complements your business processes. If there’s room for improvement, don’t worry. The software you will employ can (and likely will) improve your storage arrangement too!
The required complexity of the system you employ will depend on your order volume and SKU quantity. You may not need multiple storage locations for the same SKU or voice picking functionalities, for example. Talk to your vendors about adaptability and scalability. You want to ensure that your system is built to fulfil your current business needs, as well as able to support future growth.
Benefits of a Warehouse Management System
“For warehouse managers looking to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced economy, installing an effective warehouse management system (WMS) isn’t just a good idea – it’s a necessity.” - HighJump
Simply put, a warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution designed to support and optimise the daily operations of a warehouse. A WMS can provide real-time inventory visibility and control.
A WMS can automate and optimise all processes within your supply chain, shrinking turnaround windows. Increased fill rates and decreased cycle times will enable you to avoid costly shipping delays and backorders that jeopardize valuable customer relationships.
Additionally, automation can help with planning and managing inventory, leading to up to 99+ percent inventory accuracy. Cycle counting and real-time information verification ensures warehouse staff are not wasting time looking for misplaced or missing items.
Finally, optimising storage systems through directed stock rotation, intelligent picking directives, automatic consolidation, and cross-docking ensures no space in your warehouse is wasted.
Choosing the right WMS
A SMB-centric WMS (Warehouse Management System) can provide the critical features needed to quickly deliver ROI. As previously mentioned, it’s important to have a broad understanding of your warehouse processes. How inventory is stored and picked will directly impact the type of functionality you need.
If you don’t where to start or would like more information to compare to your current documentation, HighJump has compiled a comprehensive and thorough set of resources:
Integration with existing systems
To make the most of your WMS, the software needs not only to be scalable to your business size but also fully integrate with your existing ERP programs. Ultimately, you wouldn’t want to invest in a system that doesn’t completely support your operations.
Integration happens when the WMS interacts and synchronizes data seamlessly with the ERP, allowing all areas of your business to have full supply chain and inventory visibility. Data synchronization errors or failure can lead to inventory inaccuracy which would be highly detrimental and defeat the purpose of having a WMS to begin with.
Although ERP integration is one of key factors when choosing a WMS, it’s also a very common challenge with many implementations. Some WMS solutions are not well equipped to handle other platforms’ data and code. Therefore, when shopping around for a WMS, you should look for a company with proven expertise and a record of successful deployments.
Delivery speed, choice, adaptability and purchasing convenience are rapidly increasing supply chain complexity. A Warehouse Management System can transform DCs from cost centres into a competitive advantage.
iWMS Australasia utilizes HighJump technology, a solution that can be scaled and tailored to meet any business needs. Whether you’re looking for an adaptable solution built to fit your unique requirements or one that can be quickly configured and implemented, we arm your operations with the tools you need to achieve short-term efficiencies while enabling scalable growth.
Warehouse Edge makes this possible. Supply chain control towers provide a single command centre to capture and use data. The information is available on any browser, desktop, tablet or smartphone, empowering staff to act anywhere in the warehouse. Business operations are enhanced through increased visibility, a simplified and automated workflow, and heightened job performance. Furthermore, the software uniquely scales with company growth, enabling SMBs to stay on a trajectory for success.
Out of the box, we give you a complete set of functionalities supporting:
Receiving and Put-away
Order and Wave Management
Picking and Packing
Kitting and Value-added Services
Load and Route Optimization
Click here to find out why HighJump is the last warehouse management software you'll every buy.
For a confidential discussion about your supply chain challenges and technological needs, contact us today.