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Protecting ROI on Your WMS Investment

By david.yarbrough | February 24, 2015 | Blog

Your are in business to make money. You have employees who are working for a living and need a paycheck. You are also providing a service that your customers want and/or need. Getting a return on your investment is imperative for you, your employees, and your customers.

So, you’ve made the decision to invest in a warehouse management system. As an informed consumer, you know you have to research and you know how much or your resources you have to spend. When you choose your system your system should provide you with:

Flexibility: Heraclitus said, “The only constant is change”. If your warehouse management system cannot provide you with the flexibility you need in a changing world, you’re at a standstill.

Functionality: Doing what you need it to do when you need it to do it is imperative. Does your warehouse management system work for you?

Scalability: When change happens, will your WMS help your business to grow and expand?

What features are most important to your business and how will your warehouse management system help you get the needed return on your investment?

Ease of use:

  • Easy Implementation: Implementing your new system will not be easy but you should still be able to do business. If the implementation is overly complicated your business will bleed money instead of save money. Your WMS provider should be able to provide you with a realistic plan.
  • Lower training costs: Your WMS should be user friendly. Training employees to use an unfriendly system will cost you productivity and time. User friendly systems means that your managers can learn the system in a minimum amount of time and they can pass it on to their teams in a minimum amount of time.
  • User friendly metrics: If you need to solve a problem, you should be able to find the report you need to solve it. Ad hoc reporting allows the user to customize reports to find the information they need.

Inventory Management:

  • Managing stock: Your system should never leave you with too much or too little stock on hand. It should help you predict how much of any given product should be kept on hand to satisfy order fulfillment. It should help you manage your fast movers and slow movers equally well.
  • Planning floor space: The space in your warehouse is valuable real estate. Having too much or too little of a given product may mean disappointing your customers or tripping over slow movers.

Labor Management:

  • Managing employees time: You should be able to predict how much manpower is needed at any given time. Busy times may require you to increase your workforce with temporary employees. You’re losing money if your employees are just standing around. Your WMS should help you reduce your labor costs.
  • Reducing wasted steps: Planning the layout of your inventory and mapping out picking procedures can reduce wasted steps by your employees making them more productive.
  • Saving wear and tear on equipment: Routing through your warehouse efficiently cuts down on wasted time on your equipment. Combining activities, such as wave order picking and inventorying saves steps even for your equipment.

Order Management:

  • Door to door management: Your WMS should help you plan and coordinate what comes in, how it is received, where it’s put, how it’s picked, tagged, and directed, and how it will leave your warehouse.
  • Before and after: Your system should help you plan what comes in and track it after it leaves in order to ensure your customers are happy.
  • It’s all in the details: Every detail of your orders should be at your fingertips so you can plan and track orders and so customer service can provide your customers with a seamless and positive experience.