Distributors that don’t have current warehouse inventory management software struggle to manage inventory successfully. They face significant challenges in supplying to customers that frequently don't want to store supplies and need their goods delivered on a just-in-time basis to match delivery schedules. These challenges have been significantly exacerbated by the global supply chain crises of the past few years. Worse, many wholesale distributors are using outdated technology and struggle to tie things out across multiple software solutions and even spreadsheets.

Do You Have the Right System?

The first and most important consideration is whether you have the right warehouse inventory management software system in place to track your inventory. If you are using multiple systems and/or manual methods and spreadsheets, you don’t have the right system.

Putting in place the right warehouse inventory management software can lead to many benefits for your business.

Improved Accuracy

Automation reduces human error in data entry, order processing, and inventory tracking. Barcode integration ensures accurate item identification and movement.

Real-time Visibility

You gain instant visibility into your inventory levels, locations, and movements. This helps prevent stockouts, overstocking, and allows for better demand forecasting.

Optimized Inventory Levels

The software helps you maintain optimal stock levels by setting up automatic reorder points based on historical data and demand forecasts. This reduces excess inventory and carrying costs.

Reduced Stockouts

By having better visibility into stock levels and automated reordering, you can significantly reduce instances of stockouts.

Enhanced Efficiency

Streamlined processes, automated order management, and optimized picking and packing lead to increased efficiency in warehouse operations.

Reduced Costs

With accurate demand forecasting and inventory optimization, you can reduce excess inventory and associated holding costs. Automation also saves time and labor costs.

Faster Order Fulfillment

Efficient order processing, accurate picking, and faster packing and shipping lead to quicker order fulfillment, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.

Optimize Warehouse Layout

Better organize your warehouse space more effectively, ensuring that items are stored in the most efficient and accessible manner.

Better Decision Making

Access to real-time data and analytics empowers you to make informed decisions about purchasing, restocking, and inventory management strategies.

Supplier Collaboration

Tighter control and supplier coordination leads to better supply chain control.

Data-driven Insights

Warehouse inventory management software reports and analytics provide insights into inventory turnover, stock movement patterns, and other key metrics that can inform your strategies.

What to Look for in Warehouse Inventory Management Software?

The right warehouse inventory management software should allow you to implement several key business processes. Together these business processes will help you better track and manage your inventory, reduce errors, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and deliver better customer satisfaction.

Accurately Track Inventory in Real-Time

You need warehouse inventory management software that reflects every transaction affecting inventory levels in real time. You need to be able to see your inventory by product to see how your inventory breaks down by status On-hand, On Orders, In Picking, On Back Order, On Purchase Order, On Special Order, On Future Orders, across multiple warehouses. You need to be able to drill into each of these statuses to see which transactions are in each stage. With these capabilities you will be able to optimize your inventory levels to balance between no stockouts and minimizing the investment in inventory.

Cloud-Based System

You need cloud-based warehouse inventory management software so that all users can access accurate inventory levels at all times from anywhere inside or outside the warehouse, and using any device, even mobile phones.

Automate Inventory Replenishment

Your warehouse inventory management software needs to fully automate the process of inventory replenishment. You need to be able to set reorder parameters based on your desired safety stock level, your lead times for obtaining replenishment stock, your product use rates and your reordering cycle. You need to be able to update these parameters periodically based on actual experience over recent periods, not just estimates. You need to be able to automatically create purchase orders for the goods you need re-supplied.

Centralized Purchasing

If you have multiple warehouses, the warehouse inventory management software should be able to support centralized purchasing models. All warehouses should be able to build their own purchase orders (POs) and submit them to a centralized purchasing function that can consolidate and place these POs. This takes advantage of volume discounts offered by suppliers and reduces the possibility of some warehouses overbuying to meet discount thresholds. A centralized purchasing function combined with a robust warehouse transfer system can also take best advantage of volume freight rates and cut down on ordering mistakes.

Track Your Goods Through the Supply Chain

Given today’s supply chain issues, you need your warehouse inventory management software to be able to track your goods from the time they leave the manufacturer’s factory to arrival at your warehouses. You need to be able to select PO lines that are completed from multiple POs and allocate them to specific Containers, then based on the negotiated terms with your suppliers get these Containers to a port and onto a vessel. You need to track the whereabouts of the Container in real-time to be able to proactively address delays and/or re-routing. This will help minimize port demurrage and detention costs. You also need a full Landed Costs capability including support for HTSUS tariffs, to correctly reflect all supply chain costs correctly into the goods received so you can price products accurately.

Improve Purchase Order Receiving

Often POs don’t get properly received leading to errors in tie out of PO Receipts. Your warehouse inventory management software should support verification on the unloading dock and subsequent put-away to the warehouse bins as well as simultaneous verification and put-away. Making this process straightforward and allowing for various possible process flows will result in better receiving and put-away of goods, leading to less loss and/or inventory errors.

Optimize Warehouse Layout and Product Placements

Optimizing your warehouse layout will make the best use of the physical space available. Also, by optimizing the warehouse layout, goods can come into the warehouse and flow out of the warehouse in the most efficient fashion. This can cut down on warehouse costs significantly. When this is combined with optimizing product placement, it can substantially reduce inventory mistakes as well as improve the cost of picking, packing and shipping orders from the warehouse. Also, using warehouse inventory management software to optimize warehouse layout and product placement can improve the safety of your warehouse and inventory operations and greatly reduce workplace injuries from forklifts and pallet jacks. Your warehouse inventory management software should also allow you to specify multiple locations within a warehouse for a specific product and track inventory of the product at each such location.

Wireless WMS system

Inventory management will be substantially improved if your warehouse inventory management system allows for all warehouse operations from picking, packing, shipping orders, receiving and put-away of purchase orders and physical inventory counting to be done using wireless handheld devices combined with barcode scanners. This increases flexibility of the business processes and cuts down on mistakes and manual entry errors that can affect your inventory levels. This will also allow you to do more frequent inventory cycle counting to better control physical inventory.

Allow for Partial Shipment of Orders and Special Orders

You need a warehouse inventory management software system that allows orders to be partially shipped and/or filled from multiple warehouses to facilitate just-in time delivery to customers. Also, you need warehouse inventory management software that allows for Special Orders that link a specific order line to a specific purchase order line that can then be drop-shipped or cross-docked eliminating the need for these products to be brought into stock.

Full Business Intelligence and Data Analytics

Your warehouse inventory management software should provide extensive Business Intelligence capabilities that will allow you to make better data-driven decisions. You need Business Intelligence capabilities that can let you explore your data to isolate trends down to their underlying causes. It will also help improve demand forecasting tools that will let you plan better.

Summary

If you need help identifying the right warehouse inventory management software for your business, contact us. Let us show you how Accolent ERP cloud-based warehouse inventory management software can help your business to excel.