The past 10 years have seen a dramatic change in the supply chain in so many ways that it can be hard for an individual to keep up the pace. Higher costs have been experienced due to increases in freight and transportation. The quality of labor that is within a supply chain can be challenging. The best way to be ahead of this ever-changing landscape is using effective warehouse inventory management software. These systems can bring increased controls to transportation, labor, and inventory regardless of whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, or are running an e-commerce site.
Many companies have a management system which has a basic warehousing functionality to a certain extent. However, based on the platform, companies may sometimes outgrow these capabilities offered and need a more advanced and complex solution.
High-Level Warehouse Inventory Management Software Benefits
An efficient system has the ability to control various departmental warehouse functions like quality assurance, shipping, returns, picking packing and inventory control. A full-featured warehouse management system can benefit any firm in the following ways:
- Controlling the movement and storage of materials or products. This can include inventory locations, management of slotting and cube utilization.
- Advanced shipping notices, receipt planning, and also schedules transportation and various appointments
- An improved warehouse labor management. This is made possible by means of control of work order, productivity reporting of employees and tracking assignments.
- Visibility of warehouse activities and quick access to reporting analysis, dashboards and other useful data
How to choose the Most Practical Software for Your Warehouse
There are various types of warehouse management systems currently available in the market with different price tags. Not all of them have the same functionalities. In order to narrow down your search, you better think about of all the problems you expect certain inventory management software to address. Identify if the system needs to have additional functions to increase productivity, improve customer service, reduce costs and control inventory.
You can also use a formal RFP process to conduct vendor demonstrations, write your user requirements and perform reference calls. The results of an objective after you have performed thorough research in addition to proper diligence will help you determine how specific management software will benefit your company.
Typical Benefits of a Management System
- Receiving, marking, and Quality Assurance: many systems will have the ability to deliver warehouse functions such as carrier scheduling, receiving personnel, advance shipping notices and various transactions. Additional functions are creating barcode licenses plates for pallets, identify locations at which product is received and the quantity, paperless options for receiving and status reporting of incoming receipts.
- Quality Assurance: store vendor or product sample testing, store product specifications, marking in retail, support vendor compliance programs and wholesale customer print and ticket formats.
Once inventory is received in a warehouse, there are two main things that need to be done. The products need to be cross-docked to packing stations or be shipped to put away. An efficient system will do a great job when it comes to putting away tasks. This is done by identifying such things as the storage type, profile characteristics, cubic capacity and so forth.
The ability of management software to assist is slotting production is one of the main benefits of this technology. Slotting the product is the process by which software assigns SKUs to pick locations based on size, weight, velocity, sales, and other categories. Thise functionality improves the productivity of a company because there is reduced picker travel time and it also recommends changes in the slot sizes which need less replenishment. Velocity reporting is a useful feature of this technology as it allows personnel to re-slot primary locations and thereby adds space by moving the fast selling items to the hot pick slot locations.
Production and Assembly
There are various management systems that provide functions such as work order, kitting, inventory control, assembly control of labor and material costs.
Another major expense of most warehouses is picking. Reliable and functioning software will expand your picking options. You can also take advantage of the alternative picking choices such as paperless pick systems, pallet picking, bulk, carousel, voice pick, cluster pick or pick to box.
Shipping and Manifesting
There are some vendors who rely on third-party software solutions so it is advisable if you determine the type of shipping and manifesting options that a vendor makes available to you. Typical functions are sufficient to make a company support sophisticated routines. Companies that utilize a fleet of cars can rely on the software modules and add-ons to support transportation.
Another seen benefit of this technology is its ability to track inventory location throughout the operations of a warehouse in different locations. The functionality will help you better utilize cubic space and also maintains a solid audit of all the slot locations and stored items from the stage of receipt up to shipping.
How to Identify which Software Best Fits Your Business
There are critical things to think about when deciding which vendor or system is the right one for your business. You first need to develop your company’s detail user requirements.
The next step is to identify which software vendor seems to have the functionalities your company needs. There also needs to be a realistic investment range. Your vendor is should be short and have about 3 or 4 vendors.
Invite the two best vendors in your list to see how the system functions. You also need to understand implementation tasks and responsibilities a specific vendor is expected to perform as well as the professional services that are needed to internally implement the system.
After you have made all the necessary observations, you can now decide which strategic direction and vendor perfectly fits your company’s needs. Ensure you have the two finalists at hand until you have negotiated the deal. Only after this can you start disusing the management process with those involved.