While there are plenty of best practices for ecommerce warehousing, from refining pick methods to finding the best shipping carriers to partner with, one of the most important steps ecommerce operators should take is investing in a warehouse management system (WMS) that can handle evolving supply chain challenges.
With the recent fluctuations in global supply chains thanks to the pandemic, WMS’s have become a necessity for well-functioning warehousing operations. It’s no longer possible to keep up with the changing market and customer demands without using smart, automated management technologies. But how exactly does a WMS improve and optimize your supply chain?
How a WMS impacts the supply chain:
Automates warehouse processes
Moving inventory around the warehouse, picking orders, packing trailers — all of the processes in place in an ecommerce warehouse — take time and labor to organize and complete. Deploying warehouse management software can automate time-consuming tasks and streamline daily processes, which all contribute to more efficient operations.
A WMS gives you control of the logistics operations across your warehouses from the moment merchandise enters the warehouse until it is dispatched. Using smart picking and packing algorithms, you can automatically determine the most efficient way to fulfill orders and reduce any need for manual calculations.
The benefit of this can’t be underestimated, as delays due to avoidable inefficiencies can have a massive impact on an already struggling supply chain in the ecommerce market.
Optimizes stock management
The way you manage your stock both physically and electronically has a dramatic impact on the efficiency of your supply chain. Stock management should work seamlessly with operational flows and help you manage an increasing number of orders. Without a WMS, it can be difficult to have full control and visibility.
Using a WMS will allow you to log and track inventory data automatically and use key inventory insights to better arrange the layout of your warehouses. For example, you can use this data to determine your most popular items and then store them near packing stations, or use WMS kittings features to consolidate product storage.
Being able to accurately enter, store and report on inventory data in a centralized system, particularly across multiple warehouses, also gives you more control over your most important assets. Having full data visibility means that you can see where and why stock issues may be occurring and how this is having knock-on effects to the supply chain and end consumer.
Decreases errors and failures
Disorganized warehouses, inefficient picking paths, unreliable data management systems; these are key indicators for increased errors and failures in ecommerce supply chains. Adding in the disruptions still being felt across global supply chains thanks to the pandemic, any room for inefficiency can lead to disaster.
Using management systems to automate and track orders from start to finish can help to reduce the chance of failures in the supply chain, whether that’s from stock outs or shipping incorrect orders. On top of this, sophisticated algorithms can determine the best pick and pack processes, which means on-time shipping and fewer bottlenecks, particularly in high volume warehouses.
Not only do fewer errors and failures mean overall cost savings, it helps to build customer loyalty. This is particularly essential for 3PL ecommerce fulfillment in an increasingly competitive market. As shoppers expect faster order shipping and more cross-channel insights, accuracy is key and warehouse management software can help you meet that challenge.
Improves demand forecasting
The data you collect and track in a warehouse management system can help you better respond to trends and fluctuations in the supply chain. In particular, ecommerce operators that integrate their WMS with an ERP will have greater visibility and insights to conduct accurate demand forecasting.
The ability to access your synched supply chain data, and in real time, will mean that you can see overall trends and start making better decisions in your warehouse that ultimately lead to greater revenue outcomes. Being adaptable and flexible to trends in the market has proven to be fundamental for ongoing success and growth.
For instance, by predicting demand increases for specific items, you can ensure you have the inventory and labor allocations to effectively cover that period. For supply chains in the ecommerce market, this also means that you can better accommodate customer and supplier needs, and respond in real time to volatility.
The demands on ecommerce supply chains aren’t going to wane anytime soon. With increasing competition and expected omnichannel ecommerce experiences, operators need to start adopting warehouse technology that supports instead of hinders supply chains.
Da Vinci WMS delivers an end-to-end ecommerce solution that helps you outperform competitors and handle increasing order volumes, all while navigating fluctuations in the supply chain. To organize a free demo of the software, get in touch with our team here.