At what point along your business journey should you consider replacing your existing warehouse management system (WMS) with an entirely new platform? Once a business passes a specific growth threshold, this, of course, becomes the proverbial question. As a warehouse owner, your broader digital transformation initiative should always incorporate modern warehouse management software and automation equipment that are integrable with an enterprise resource planning system (ERP).
A well-implemented WMS solution includes several benefits, with cost savings and higher operational productivity chief among them. However, deciding when to adopt an entirely new warehouse management system can be tricky, especially after you’ve already had some relative success leveraging your current manual warehousing operations.
Statistics show that the U.S. distribution centers have already implemented a WMS or are planning to do so in the near future if they can afford it. It’s doubtless that modern warehouses need automated inventory management software to keep their operations relevant in a fiercely competitive landscape for online trade. Many warehouses have recently gone from strictly handling storefront replenishment to processing direct-to-consumer orders through dropshipping methods that demand a precise and rapid order fulfillment process.
As consumer expectations rise, so has the cost to operate a warehouse that can consistently meet the increased demand. In turn, the recent adoption rates for automated inventory management software in North American warehouses are stronger than ever. The cloud-based solutions that work conjointly with your WMS offer the most efficient path to optimizing your fulfillment and maximizing the use of your existing warehouse space.
The goal of any WMS product is to improve your processes and operational procedures with the assistance of industrial automation software. These inventory management applications can digitize several of your existing manual procedures to improve process efficiency while lowering your labor overhead. Likewise, warehouse management systems increase fulfillment accuracy, shorten order lifecycle, and assist with long-term enterprise resource planning.
Now, in the following sections, let’s explore a few early warehouse management warning signs that should tell you it’s time to replace your current system.
Warehouse efficiency problems
Less-than-efficient warehouses struggle to track their inventory accurately and needlessly suffer from problems like inefficient fulfillment, late shipments, and materials waste. A WMS lets you automate inventory documentation and recording processes, so you’re never at risk of running critically low on essential warehouse items. Unanticipated stockouts lead to backorders and grossly delayed shipments that can quickly start degrading consumer confidence in your brand.
Because a WMS can automate inventory tracking across your entire supply chain, you’ll receive various status updates and real-time shipping notifications as the product completes each stage of its distribution. Any details about lost or damaged goods are updated to the software in real-time, so you’re not required to document this information manually and hope it gets picked up by your accounting team later.
Unreliable demand planning
Without WMS software, determining which inventory you need and when can be a struggle. Fortunately, modern industrial automation solutions allow you to automate and streamline your replenishment process. Meeting your increased demand is resultantly simplified through access to valuable warehouse data currently unavailable under your existing system.
Upon assessing your current stock levels, your warehouse management software will let you analyze the metrics of your ingoing and outgoing materials. By looking at this aggregate data, you’re able to draw more informed conclusions about your inventory forecasting and future stockout events.
A WMS gives you total insight into which stored inventory you have on hand, informing you of which items demand immediate attention while preventing unexpected operational disruptions that could lead to delayed fulfillment, missed sales, and lost revenue.
Lack of scalability
Manual warehouses or operations running older disjointed WMS software will eventually find it impossible to scale their existing solutions to keep up with their current stage of growth and meet future demand requirements. WiSys provides warehouses with flexible management systems that can integrate with an ERP and are entirely upgradable in phases according to your business needs.
Finding support for older WMS systems can is often difficult, especially when you’re dealing with a less-than-responsive vendor who is planning on phasing out your current platform soon. Eventually, an essential component of your current system will become obsolete, and you’re going to have to find an alternative solution. Avoid waiting to implement a modern WMS if you know you need one. You could be left stranded trying to adapt and your outmoded technology if your current WMS breaks during a risky upgrade procedure.
Poor system integration
Legacy WMS systems are often confusing because they often support poor integration. Ideally, any new WMS solution you adopt should integrate seamlessly with the warehouse platform you’ve already developed while enhancing multiple areas of your operations, like real-time product tracking and relevant data collection.
Proper integration is essential for ensuring all areas of your operations run smoothly while benefitting from the increased transparency and streamlined access to data that a custom WMS solution from WiSys provides. Our scalable purpose-built WMS helps growing businesses like yours increase their agility and improve reaction times without increasing their workforce.
Waiting too long to automate your facility and upgrade to a new WMS could put you in competition with other businesses trying to accomplish the same objectives at the last minute. Clearly, any extended wait times for service will delay your WMS implementation plans.
For additional answers to your questions on how to adapt your growing warehouse to a rapidly shifting distribution industry and become more profitable with a WMS, reach out to one of our warehouse automation experts now at 770-955-3550.