Your wholesale distribution business is growing. You have to hire more people and you’re also trying to comply with the Coronavirus social distancing requirements. This is a challenging proposition. The best thing you can do is to implement a warehouse management system (WMS). Why do you need warehouse management software for distributors, and what does it do for you? There are many benefits of warehouse management systems. In a nutshell though with warehouse management software for distributors, you can improve the efficiency and speed of your warehouse operations which will let you do more with fewer people. Errors will also go down. You’ll also be able to improve inventory turns and make more efficient use of your warehouse space. Since these are some of your largest costs, this will have a very positive effect on your profitability.
What is Warehouse Management Software for Distributors?
Warehouse management software for distributors helps you manage and improve the PO receiving, put-away, picking, packing, and shipping operations of your warehouses. Typically, the warehouse management system will automate the management of these operations using handheld barcode scanners or RFID. Ideally, the warehouse management system will be fully integrated into your purchasing, inventory management, and order management software to help you streamline and improve the efficiency of the day-to-day operations of the warehouse.
Benefits of Warehouse Management Software for Distributors
Below we discuss some of the main benefits of warehouse management software for distributors.
Reducing Warehouse Personnel Costs
The first step in implementing warehouse management software is to map out product locations. By optimizing product locations and warehouse layout you can minimize the amount of time spent picking orders and restocking bins. This optimization of picking routes and cutting down on the movement of products will reduce the personnel needs associated with these labor-intensive warehouse operations. You can hire fewer people which will reduce your warehouse labor costs. At the same time, having fewer people helps with Coronavirus social distancing requirements and reduces potential health-related liabilities.
WMS software increases automation by RFID or scanning barcodes using handheld devices. Defined product locations and picking routes allow WMS devices to direct pickers through the warehouse most efficiently reducing wasted effort. Scanning product codes to pick items cuts down on the wrong items being picked. Recording the picked from and put-away to locations directly on a handheld scanner cuts down on paper pick tickets and receivers and greatly reduces the need for manual entry as well as mis-picks. Scanning items as they are being packed into a box and automatically creating packing lists also reduces the need for manual entry. Automatically getting tracking numbers and shipping labels for packed boxes also cuts down on manual entry. All this automation and elimination of manual entries will reduce errors and increase accuracy.
Greater Customer Satisfaction
Greater accuracy in picking, packing, and shipping orders leads directly to greater customer satisfaction since orders are filled quicker and with fewer errors. Allowing the software to directly track the picking, packing, and shipping operations in real-time means that the system is always up to date. This allows your customer service people to always get the most up-to-date information which will improve customer service and reduce customer complaints.
Improved Inventory Turns
Tracking inventory by location in real-time improves visibility into inventory levels. By recording inventory moves as soon as the product is picked rather than sometime later when the system is updated based on hand-marked pick tickets, you get a better handle on inventory levels. This allows for tighter inventory management which in turn lets you cut down on backorders, stockouts and increase inventory turns. Reducing the levels of inventory safety stock you have to carry and filling and moving orders more quickly will have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Better Cross-Docking Opportunities
By maintaining better tracking of products, you have more opportunities to match inbound and outbound shipments. You can cut down on receiving POs into temporary staging locations then handling them again to ship them out. More cross-docking, drop-shipping, and/or special-order management allows you to reduce the number of inventory items handled in the warehouse. This can also significantly lower overall warehouse operating expenses.
Better Traceability and Reduced Inventory Wastage
Automating the tracking of products into and out of the warehouse is greatly enhanced by warehouse management software for distributors. By tracking inventory of products by location allows for better control and reduces losses due to misplaced products. Also, using handheld WMS devices to scan error-prone data like lot numbers, expiry dates, case weights, serial numbers, etc., leads to better traceability of items. In addition, tighter control of expiry dates leads to less expired product wastage and fewer errors on weight-based products.
Better Warehouse Space Utilization
With optimized product locations, you can make better use of warehouse space. This means you can increase the number of products you can support with the same warehouse footprint. Using higher shelves and bins as overflow locations, for example, reduces the aisle space needed for fork-lift maneuverability allowing for narrower aisles and closer spaced racks. This can help lower warehouse operating expenses.
Implementing Warehouse Management Software for Distributors
Given all the benefits of warehouse management software for distributors, shouldn’t you be implementing WMS? Contact us today to demo our Cloud-based Accolent ERP software. Accolent ERP’s WMS is fully integrated with the purchasing, inventory management, and order management functionality for distributors.