The food and beverage industry knows what it means to be under constant stress. Health and safety regulations, limited shelf life, and an unpredictable supply chain are just a few of the challenges you face. In the face of this, antiquated warehouse and inventory management practices could cause your business to fall by the wayside. It’s time to change things for the better by implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS). Can a WMS benefit the food industry?
The short answer is yes. Now, let’s find out how.
Using an ERP vs WMS in the Food Industry
Are you not seeing the results you expected when you implemented an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system like SAP Business One? Having an ERP is definitely a smart move, but there are some industries, like food and beverage, that require a more robust solution. That would be a Warehouse Management System (WMS).
A WMS provides the following:
- Better inventory validation practices
- Visibility of all warehouse processes
- Centralization of data
- Tracking of material and product movements
- Real-time notifications for faster decision-making
- Enhanced pick-and-pack strategies
- Streamlined packaging, shipping, and cross-docking practices
Many WMS, including the Agility suite from WiSys, can function as a standalone solution for your business. An ERP, on the other hand, sometimes struggles to keep up. You may find yourself still caught in the same loop of manual data entry, especially when it comes to keeping track of the changes in inventory.
The best practice, however, is to integrate a WMS into your ERP. Warehouse management systems and ERPs are designed to assist one another. A WMS collects data on your inventory, while ERPs sort through purchases and sales transactions. You can also stamp out inconsistencies since a WMS can automatically update inventory levels with a quick scan of a barcode or RFID tag.
How a WMS Benefits The Food Industry
Since the products you make could be damaged, contaminated, or expired by the time they reach the customer, you need to take special care of the entire production and supply chain process. Since even a tiny mistake in daily operations can cause mayhem, recalls, and lost profits, it is important to maintain a high level of oversight at all times. That is where a WMS comes in.
Here is how a WMS can benefit the food industry:
1. Product and Batch Traceability
For the food industry, traceability is not an option. The FDA requires that every food and beverage producer and distributor be able to track an item or material all the way through the supply and production line to the origin. By being able to scan a barcode and register an item or material into your system automatically with a WMS, you easily enhance the traceability of all your products.
Should a defect occur in one of your products, you can also use this information to track the source of the issue and make a recall decision. Making quick and accurate recalls can save the reputation of your business and help you avoid any non-compliance penalties from the government.
2. Inventory Control and Visibility
With a WMS, you can scan the barcode or RFID tag on a material or product and update the entire system immediately. This visibility is important for many reasons. First, you can prevent lost items or stock errors. For the food industry, increased inventory control and visibility are essential when arranging merchandise and selecting which products need to be moved.
Using a warehouse management system provides insight into each piece of inventory, including its location, SKU, value, expiration date, and more. Based on this data, you can make decisions that minimize damages.
3. Enhanced Putaway Practices
Using a WMS like Agility from WiSys can decrease unloading and putaway time by selecting the quickest routes in the warehouse, logically distributing the items, optimizing space, and more. You can also manage the layout of a warehouse based on temperature, demand patterns, expiration dates, and so on.
4. Decreased Human Error
One of the most valued capabilities of a WMS is the ability to assign tasks and designated picking pathways. Not only does this reduce the need for paper, but it also reduces human error and results in faster packaging and shipping. Since all the information in the WMS is correct, your employees can also find items much more quickly instead of spending precious minutes searching for a misplaced or out-of-stock product.
5. Increased Productivity
Since assigning tasks to the workforce and managing your inventory is time-consuming and complex, it helps when several operations are automated through your WMS. Warehouse management systems enable activity tracking, task assignment, real-time data reporting, and more. For example, you can increase productivity by reviewing the locations of the employees and the items and then choosing which employee is closest to the product. Assign the nearest employee to retrieve the item, thereby saving time and energy.
Get Higher Productivity With WiSys WMS
Unlike an ERP like SAP Business One, utilizing a warehouse management system like the Agility suite from Wisys can help you control even the most complex of processes within your facility. If you are selling food and beverages, a WMS can reduce the risk of mistakes, accelerate productivity, and give you a higher profit. Implementing a WMS also ensures the quality of your products. It’s time to take advantage of a WMS and begin seeing results. WiSys can help you find a WMS solution that suits your organization. Give us a call today at 770-955-3530 to learn more or schedule a demo.