Making the decision to invest time and money to purchase and implement a warehouse management system (WMS) can seem daunting. On top of that, the added layer of pressure to persuade key decision-makers that this is a worthwhile investment that will help the business grow only increases the stakes.
However, with the ever-increasing complexity of the supply chain, labor shortages, and high eCommerce consumer demand, your warehouse operation can’t afford to not invest in warehouse automation tools.
Why a WMS is Important for Warehouse Efficiency
To help you make the case for investing in a WMS, here’s a list of 5 improvements that the right WMS solution can provide for your warehouse operation and how these improvements provide solutions to some of the most common pain points faced in the warehouse today.
1. Greater Labor and Process Efficiencies
If a warehouse team goes through the exercise of creating a process map of their operations, there’s no doubt they will find hidden inefficiencies and wasteful processes. One of the main culprits of an inefficient warehouse process is the travel time of workers as they move throughout the warehouse. Some reports indicate travel time accounts for up to 70% of a warehouse worker's time, leaving only 30% of their time for other tasks like picking and packing.
With ShipHawk WMS, your team can gain a variety of solutions that can help both minimize the travel time of workers and optimize workflows for greater efficiency. Some of those solutions include:
- Intuitive receiving and directed-putaway (i.e. putaway rules)
- Effortless cross-docking, driven by ERP backorder demand
- Continuous-wave optimization that will minimize travel and maximize order affinity
- Adaptive multi-channel picking, which enables different order profiles that use different picking workflows
The result of choosing a WMS with these functionalities is greater labor and process efficiencies that reduce your overall fulfillment costs and increase your order throughput.
2. Increase Warehouse Inventory Accuracy and Integrity
Data is only useful when it is accurate and reliable. This is especially true for inventory data in warehouses. It is imperative that every team in the warehouse can rely on where items are located and that the number of units in the system matches what is in the bin. No one wants to walk a half-mile to a bin only to find it filled with the wrong items.
A more advanced WMS solution can provide dynamic and responsive scan-pack, enabling your warehouse team to adapt to different methodologies. With an adaptable solution, like ShipHawk WMS, you have focused and directed cycle counting, which enables different workflows for different needs like bin verification, policy compliance, exception verification, and physical inventory capture.
Simply put, the right WMS solution can help you keep track of your inventory in the warehouse so your team can rely on the right items being in the right place. With increased data integrity you can improve customer commitments - Available to Promise (ATP), reduce inventory levels to further improve accuracy, and minimize the number of exceptions and shipping errors.
3. Improve Employee Retention
Labor complexities within the fulfillment industry are ubiquitous. From worker turnover to staffing workers to meet the demand of peak seasons to adding headcount to make up for inefficient workflows - trying to master it all will make your head spin. This is why it’s imperative that every warehouse implement solutions that foster ease of use and are as automated as possible, so that staff can be trained quickly and equally, permanent or seasonal.
So how exactly does the right WMS solution lead to employee retention in the warehouse? First, implementing a WMS solution that optimizes for specific jobs to be done in the warehouse, and allows for an easy transition between tasks ensures workers spend more time on focused tasks and mitigates frustration from a difficult-to-use system. Additionally, with a WMS that prioritizes ease of use, workers are more likely to master the solution fostering a sense of empowerment. With an empowered workforce comes increased employee retention rates and opportunities for career advancement and skill development.
Focusing on improved employee retention may not be the typical leading selling point of a WMS solution, but ShipHawk sees this as an often overlooked opportunity that can significantly improve your overall warehouse operation as well as the lives of those who run it.
4. Reduce Inventory Storage Costs
Effectively using the space within your warehouse is one of the best ways to reduce costs and increase warehouse efficiency. With the cost of warehouse space on the rise and labor harder to come by, focusing on improving your use of space has never been more important.
With a WMS solution, like ShipHawk WMS, your team can get lightning fast directed putaway recommendations that seek out opportunities to merge inventory, maximizing cube utilization while still complying with company policies for first-in-first-out.
What’s more, your warehouse can gain a real-time evaluation of rules and storage policies that consider every candidate bin to find optimal recommendations for inventory placement based on the size and composition of the load, product characteristics, velocity, demand, and more.
Pause for a moment, and imagine the reduction in storage costs and efficiencies your warehouse and team can gain from inventory being in the most optimal place. A WMS solution that prioritizes a better use of space, custom to your warehouse, reveals yet another opportunity to improve your warehouse.
5. Improve Customer Satisfaction
Today’s marketplace is rife with competition. Independent businesses are not only competing with the eCommerce giants but with direct competitors, which is why focusing on providing a good customer experience is key to success and differentiation. What happens in the warehouse and during the shipping stage of an order can significantly impact customer satisfaction. Picking the right piece quickly and accurately and shipping it in a timely manner to meet customer expectations is no longer a nice to have, but a requirement in today's marketplace.
ShipHawk's priority is providing tools that empower our customers to deliver an excellent customer experience to their customers. With ShipHawk WMS, your warehouse team gains access to:
- Adaptive packing and documentation tools that create shipments to reflect the source brand or channel of the orders
- Flexible scan-pack options to assure 100% accuracy of all shipments
- Unmatched labeling tools which provide compliance with SSCC needs of your customers, eliminating chargebacks while maintaining a highly efficient pack and shipping process
These digital warehouse tools outlined above enable a variety of benefits that ultimately help you exceed customer expectations. Be it 100% accurate, on-time deliveries, or staying in compliance with customers’ value-added requirements, choosing the right WMS solution can increase your customer satisfaction.
Start Reducing Order Fulfillment Costs Today with ShipHawk WMS
Crafting the case for your business to invest in a WMS solution can be difficult, but focusing on the significant improvements that can be made to your warehouse operations with the right WMS solution is a good place to start. Beyond this list, there are many opportunities to improve your warehouse tailored to your business needs. Find out more by speaking with a member of our team today or check out ShipHawk WMS here: