Right now, warehouse operations across many different industries are in disarray. Not only are businesses having to deal with huge lead times on stock, the cost of sourcing the stock itself – and ensuring they have enough to keep operations up and running – is proving to be a challenge.
Using back-office/business software, such as a warehouse management system, is one way of overcoming these issues and improving operations. By providing a link between the back office and the warehouse, streamlining processes between the two becomes far easier – allowing both sides of the business to integrate in a more seamless manner.
Here, we’ll show you how such software can be used to improve the management of your warehouse operations now and in the future.
The layout of your warehouse is essential, especially as it grows in size and increases in stock. The right back-office/business software can optimise warehouse flow by analysing the best use of floor space based on the task and material characteristics. By using the floor to its fullest, not only does this improve the use of space, but it reduces the amount of time wasted on locating certain products.
For instance, such software will be able to identify popular and high-priority items, before suggesting these items be placed close to the loading docks. Likewise, items that are generally sold together will be stored next to each other, per the software’s recommendation. Back-end software will also consider item characteristics such as size and environmental factors, so it can determine where it should be slotted in your warehouse.
By optimising the space, your warehousing activity will benefit from a cost perspective, significantly lowering operating expenses as a result.
When your warehouse staff have to manage tedious or repetitive tasks, it’s easy for costly errors to take place. By integrating radio frequency scanners with your back-end software, eliminating manual entry reduces the possibility of human error.
These scanners read barcodes and transfer product information, quantities, and location information directly into the WMS via wireless networking. This means that the right items are allocated and picked, all while reducing available inventory in real-time, which makes inventory control and visibility much, much clearer.
More Effective Workers
Your workers’ skill levels, their proximity in the warehouse, what equipment they have, and which tasks are available to complete all have a role to play in the effectiveness of your operations.
Back-end software can work out which member of staff is the right person to take on a specific task. From minimising travel time and improving accuracy to reducing mis-picks and setting appropriate KPIs, each of these benefits add to optimised operations. And when your team is working at its best, it translates into improved customer service too.
Improved Employee Morale
While back-end software won’t solve every issue your warehouse might face, it must be said that in a streamlined operation, employees tend to be more fulfilled. Rather than feeling like their time is being misused, putting in processes that optimise their time will be greatly appreciated.
And where there’s less stress, more productivity and more profitability, your workers will be happier, more relaxed and more organised. All of which means smoother and more effective operations.
Improved Shipment Management
In an age of same and next-day delivery, customers want their items fast. Thus, if your business is to remain competitive, then streamlining and speeding up shipping is essential.
Certain back-end software can pick and pack products more effectively since managers can choose between zone, batch or wave picking in order to circumvent traffic issues within the warehouse. Elsewhere, the more visibility you have over product availability, the more accurate and realistic your delivery dates will be.
By having these options available to them, your warehouse can provide a far quicker customer order cycle time. The faster a customer receives their order, the happier they’ll be with your service. And by adding alerts or event monitoring into your offerings, both customers and your customer service team have a real-time view of their order status, so they know when orders are expected to arrive.
By fostering a greater connection with your customers in this way, you improve the chances of them continuing to do business with you.
Better Stock Control
At any one time, your warehouse stock is constantly moving. Whether it’s coming in, going out or being stored, these multiple moving parts can be a challenge to keep track of. As well as locating and retrieving goods in seconds, back-end software ensures you stay a step ahead.
When it comes to stock with the highest turnover, for instance, back-end software can help you keep track of demands and potential disruptions. If your big sellers ship out 500 units per week but it takes two weeks to receive extra stock, you can set an alert that notifies you whenever stock levels drop below a certain number.
Greater Opportunities for Continuous Improvement
While the vast majority of warehouses use KPIs, it’s rare that they translate the numbers into meaningful opportunities for continuous improvement. Through back-end software, however, KPIs play a much larger role.
Rather than being siloed, they instead can be amended where necessary. This allows you to stay up to speed with the latest developments and industry best practices, so you can tailor and improve your processes based on what your KPIs reveal about your operational efficiency.
Optimising your warehouse operations is vital. Looking for some extra insights to help with that? Read our in-depth resources below:
- 10 Techniques for Managing Your Stock Levels Effectively
- How to Effectively Manage Multiple Warehouse Distribution Branches
Built to future-proof your business, Intact iQ’s powerful, customisable capabilities support all areas of your business, from stock control to process automation. For more information about how our ERP software can optimise your warehouse operations, visit the homepage or contact us today.