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WMS: Five noteworthy measurable benefits for you

Posted: 30 Dec 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:WMS? warehouse management system? inventory? supplier?

In business, people who make purchasing decisions want to know that equipment, technology, or services will help grow their company and make it more profitable and competitive. The search for a believable Return on Investment (ROI) is the logical starting place for distributors considering such a capital purchase, like a warehouse management system (WMS).

At its core, a WMS offers warehouses and distributors a tool to help improve customer service. That means knowing what you have, where you have it and how soon you can promise delivery. Assuming you want to do this profitably, a WMS can help automate and streamline warehouse processes so that inventory and its movement can be better controlled. Also, errors in everything from receiving to shipping product can be sharply reduced. As your business grows, a WMS helps keep labour costs in check while enabling warehouse workers be a lot more productive.

As distributors contemplate procuring a WMS for the first time, or upgrading their existing WMS, a conservative ROI analysis is simply best practice. Launching a WMS project can be demanding and disruptive to the business. Having confidence in the upside financial implications around the ROI picture will better anchor the project's go-forward purpose, even in powering through any potential setbacks to the project's trajectory.

What to expect from a WMS

A WMS provides five key benefits to warehouses and distribution centres:

1) Inventory management

An automated WMS, whether paperless or not, leads to accuracy improvements throughout the warehouse, from receiving, put-away and picking operations to shipping. It can also reduce the need for safety (fear) stock by up to 50%, according to an internal audit carried out by one of PathGuide's clients. Accurately tracking inventory on hand speeds order fulfillment and reduces potential carrying costs associated with over buying. And if you're planning your cycle counts, row by row, bin by bin, or as discrepancies arise, you can avoid the dreaded annual physical inventory.

2) Gains in workforce productivity

A WMS helps warehouse workers be more productive by directing tasks in a more systematic and efficient manner. In conjunction with strong leadership driving process improvements, more work will be done at higher levels of accuracy. For example, have all inbound shipments received, put away or cross-docked the same day. Other examples include picking multiple orders in a single pass through the warehouse and processing small parcel shipments quickly and accurately through a single workstation. Visibility across the warehouse (especially in a zoned environment) helps balance the labor needed to get orders picked, packed, and shipped as promised. Once employees have been trained on a WMS and especially if they know their performance is being measured, they can achieve 80% productivity gains in a matter of weeks.

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