Running a warehouse is certainly more complex than ever, despite the many tools that have become available to warehouse managers and employees. As markets become more globally interlinked and businesses spread themselves and their products to more locations, the challenges of warehouse management become more pronounced. Most companies can no longer afford to run themselves in that 1954 mom-and-pop style of doing business; to stay competitive, you have to constantly expand your reach, improve processes and services and “reinvent” yourself to stay relevant in a tumultuous marketplace. Transforming the warehouse into a lean, highly efficient machine can make a drastic difference in a company’s ability to compete, but it’s tough to get the needed results without changing the tools and processes that are currently in place. For that reason, we’ll delve into a few reasons why cloud-based WMS can be a game changer for warehouses of any size or type.
Focus: When you have the right tools in place to support your warehouse, it can eliminate a massive amount of busy work for both managers and employees. A cloud-based warehouse management system goes the extra step by eliminating IT concerns, such as equipment, upgrades, maintenance, and additional specialized labor. Businesses tend to underestimate just how much productivity is lost to tedious tasks that can be performed behind the scenes by an advanced system; freeing up time for a warehouse labor force means more effort can be put into the jobs employees are actually paid to perform. For instance, if a shipment is misplaced, a warehouse management system can mean the difference between sending employees to scout out the actual location and tracking it down with just a few keystrokes.
Visibility: For companies that deal with food and beverages, cold storage or time-sensitive products, there is additional expectation (particularly from the FDA) that shipments will not be a health risk by the time they reach store shelves. Due to increased need for quality assurance, many companies are upgrading their transportation management and warehouse management systems. With a system in place, they immediately gain complete visibility of shipment status while stored or en route, temperature fluctuations, arrival dates, shelf life, rotation dates and exact location. Add to that comprehensive reporting capabilities and you have a well-rounded system that provides a comprehensive product trail from production to shelf.
Integration: For most companies that invest in automating tedious warehouse management tasks, the benefits are far more obvious than reduced paperwork and added productivity. Businesses are relying more on technology so that they can focus on their core competencies, which tends to encourage further business process transformation. At Apptricity, we frequently assist companies looking to automate just one segment of their business, but they often return later to build on what they started. Choosing a stand-alone warehouse management system that is capable of integrating with other solutions (such as invoice or inventory management) allows for more flexibility when your company expands in the future. Instead of patching together multiple software applications to solve several disparate issues, it’s best to choose one that can grow with your company’s needs for years to come.