One of the most key factors in determining if your warehouse is going to adapt to changes in technology is the current level of optimization. The supply chain is constantly evolving, so ensuring that your warehouse not only performs but exceeds expectations is important. That is why today you are going to learn the five steps to modernizing your warehouse with a warehouse management system (WMS), such as WiSys’ Agility.
How Warehousing Management Has Changed
Over the past couple of decades, there has been a shift from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce. Because of this, many warehouses and distribution centers have undergone significant changes to meet the needs of consumers. This has also made warehouse management far more complicated, as it now can affect the whole supply chain. With products being produced and purchased around the clock from consumers across the country or globe, the demand on your warehouse may have grown exponentially recently.
Obviously, if your warehouse is modernized with the latest technology, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, barcode and RFID scanning, and warehouse management systems (WMS), you should be able to meet this demand. Software is integral to stability and expansion. You can utilize the new innovations hitting the market and start eliminating human errors, stock-outs, and other common problems warehouses face.
1. Utilize Automatic Data Collection
What is one of the worst ways to date your business? Having people write notes down on paper or others tapping strings of words down on a keyboard when they could just be scanning barcodes or RFID tags. This is especially true when you have 40,000 products stretched across multiple locations. With a warehouse management system, you can start using automatic data collection to automate processes and boost productivity. You can also lower labor costs because your workers can eliminate redundant and time-consuming tasks.
In short, relying on manual data entry is a huge mistake these days. Mobile scanners can update your WMS upon arrival and departure. This erases any chance of identification and counting errors.
2. Change Up Your Warehouse Layout
There are many warehouses across the country that are under-optimized and outdated, even with all the technology they have implemented. Why? Because they continue to use the same warehouse set up every single year. In order to modernize your warehouse, you must consider the layout of the facility. The good news is that your WMS can show you the most efficient picking routes, based on how you have your warehouse organized. You can also use the data collected to analyze which items should be placed in the packing area.
You should also consider how your warehouse is hindering both people and machinery. The aisles should be wide enough for forklifts to maneuver, and the bins and lots should be visibly marked to direct pickers to the correct location. Seasonally popular items can be rearranged throughout the year. When something drops in demand, put it on the higher shelves, for example.
3. Synchronize Data Across All Systems
Having several systems operating separately is a quick way to date your warehouse and create unfortunate data silos. Many WMS, including Agility from WiSys, are flexible solutions that can be integrated into other systems, including ERPs like SAP Business One. Specifically, you want to synchronize data pertaining to any item with an SKU. Standardizing common product data throughout the system and facilities ensures visibility and transparency throughout the supply line.
Synchronizing data is also crucial for accurate inventory counts, particularly when you are operating both a brick-and-mortar store and an e-commerce site. Instead of having consumers purchase something that is low in stock or unavailable, you can give them an accurate measure of what remains, increasing their satisfaction.
4. Sequence Orders with Your WMS
According to Plante Moran, author of “Are Your Warehouse Operations Lean?”, most order processing cycles are incredibly inefficient. Data from an analysis of distribution operations found that most orders are receiving attention 37.9% of the total order cycle time. Out of the time wasted, 56.1% of the time, those orders were idle. 6% of the wasted time was attributed to workers waiting for lift equipment, blocked isles, improperly placed items, disruptions, stock-outs, and so on. This is incredibly inefficient, but a WMS can help.
If your team is sluggish when it comes to completing orders and getting those orders into the right truck, it may be that their pick paths are the problem. Aside from optimizing your warehouse layout, you should also arrange pickers and packers as logically as possible. Many warehouse management systems, including Agility Essentials from WiSys, give you the ability to sequence your orders and set up picking paths throughout the warehouse. You can incorporate strategies that promote velocity and efficiency by batching together lanes, assigning teams to zones, and even save time on non-conveyable items.
5. Go Mobile
Are you tired of being wired to stationary computers? You can migrate your warehouse management system and other software, such as mobile POS, to mobile management devices. Not only does utilizing tablets and smartphones make it much easier to scan, track and plan, but it also gives your employees a way to communicate more quickly. Monitoring their performance, too, is simplified.
In today’s world, there is no reason not to incorporate mobile technology into your warehouse, especially if you are handling thousands of orders per day.
Modernize Your Warehouse With Agility WMS From WiSys
Continuous and thoughtful improvement is part of modernization. Rather than leaving your warehouse in the past, it is time to implement a warehouse management system like Agility by WiSys. With the right tools, including automatic data collection, inventory tracking, forecasting, and picking path planning, you can make your warehouse far more productive and profitable. If you are interested in learning more about our out-of-the-box flexible WMS solutions, give WiSys a call at 770-955-3530 or check out a demo.