2020 and the global health crisis brought about countless unexpected changes to retail distribution and the wider global supply chain. Yet, even as the early headaches directly attributable to the pandemic subside, many of the same fundamental issues still plague the warehousing and distribution industry three years later. Labor shortages continue to be a problem for many businesses, while post-COVID supply chain disruptions are equally as common.
Operating costs have risen sharply as consumers complete more online sales and returns than ever. By some estimates, online seasonal gift orders increased by threefold in November 2020, and this trend shows little sign of flagging anytime soon. This recent spike in demand for e-commerce goods and the ongoing worker shortage have prompted many businesses to seek out automated solutions to help them handle the additional throughput.
When you run a retail warehousing business, your current distribution performance is the strongest indicator of your continued future success. A fully optimized warehouse increases your odds of producing a steady profit significantly while meeting your strategic expansion objectives. If you’re running a legacy warehouse management system (WMS) that relies on multiple applications and paper-based processes, you are unnecessarily sacrificing productivity and restricting your business’s growth potential.
Compared with modern systems, aging or obsolete warehouse management processes usually include disjointed and inefficient workflows that provide limited insight into your operations. WMS software from WiSys provides your operators and you with a comprehensive overview of your warehouse, giving your more control over the volumes of inventory that pass through your facility each day.
With this in mind, let’s explore how a robust real-time 3PL warehouse management solution can help your warehouse overcome these four common distribution obstacles.
1. Poor inventory management
Your successful operations rely on the most efficient stock-keeping achievable while ensuring that your most popular selling items are always on hand. Running low on any of your stock almost always reflects negatively on your brand. A warehouse management system helps businesses combat this problem by giving operators and warehouse managers real-time updates concerning how much stock they have.
Tracking every piece of merchandise running in and out of your warehouse is no easy feat, especially in facilities steeped in manual operating procedures. However, close, end-to-end tracing is essential if your business aims to keep itself relevant in a fiercely competitive marketplace. Modern distributors need access to real-time stock levels and logistical information to make important replenishment decisions.
When you have a WMS, once an order is placed it’s immediately ready for shipping. Your warehouse materials handlers don’t have to search around your misplaced merchandise because advanced tracking systems will tell them exactly where the item is. A WMS allows you to track every product you manage, regardless of where it is, while AI tools make it easier to predict your future inventory requirements.
2. Modern distribution requirements
The rise of e-commerce has dramatically altered the distribution industry, and the leading platforms have only increased competition. Warehouses aren’t simply required to restock store shelves anymore, as many now ship online purchases directly to the consumer. This recent transformation has left many warehouses struggling to keep up with demand.
Warehouse management systems help companies realize sales and distribution management gains with fewer available resources. For many businesses, even if they could reasonably afford to add more employees to keep up with the spike in demand, the available labor to support modern distribution requirements just isn’t there.
Warehouse management software helps you overcome this obstacle by providing a comprehensive tool for optimizing your distribution system. WiSys warehouse management systems, engineered on the Agility Adaptable Framework, allow businesses to keep up with the competition. But they also play a critical role in helping warehouses create substantial distance from it.
This industrial automation software stores your critical business information on the cloud, allowing you to access it from anywhere, at any time for accessing live-time tracking updates and other supply chain data.
3. Stock returns and delivery errors
Every successful warehouse has found a way to put customer needs first because this is the first step toward establishing brand loyalty. In the world of online retail, convenience is among the top factors in determining the quality of a given customer experience. One of the quickest ways an online seller can develop a poor reputation for service is through shipping errors.
Before any online sales are complete, the product has to arrive securely at its destination in the condition described. Data entry errors that might seem like minor details can swiftly derail an expedited package in transit, severely delaying its anticipated delivery date. Of course, this being the only interaction with your brand, said customer realizes the wait was due to an incorrect shipping address and attributes this to a poor customer service experience.
A WMS gives you the tools to reduce or eliminate shipping mishaps attributable to human error. The system allows you to store relevant and accurate details on a single platform and avoid the mistakes associated with manual shipping. Returns processing is streamlined with a WMS, making it easier to meet your service commitments and continue cultivating your positive brand reputation.
4. Disjointed systems
Perhaps the greatest benefit of WMS is that it brings all your disconnected legacy systems under a single umbrella. Streamlining your warehouse management in this way allows you to overcome other frequent distribution obstacles that are too exhaustive to list here.
If you’re searching for effective wholesale distribution software that handles the most complex industry challenges, find out how our industrial automation solutions can integrate your company-specific workflows and data under one interface by connecting with a senior WiSys product manager now at 770-955-3550.