Warehouse management software is a broad area within supply chains. Every product shipped through a company spends some time in the warehouse, meaning that there are great productivity gains available through effective systems, as well as losses that could result if companies select inadequate processes. Multichannel Merchant recently spoke with experts in the field to determine the most important features of a warehouse management system.
Benchmark Brands operations leader John Caplinger told the news source that he values a system with strong connections to other advanced capabilities. He appreciates products with the ability to track RFID chips, an increasingly popular way to manage inventory on a micro level. He also expressed strong support for business intelligence and analytics and noted that an ideal software suite can deliver insights.
Warehouse manager Jeff Hill, from Moosejaw Mountaineering, explained to Multichannel Merchant that keeping track of inventory in real time is critical. He noted that companies ramp up their processes during the busiest retail seasons of the year. That means more employees and overall increased activity to monitor. A product capable of cutting through those chaotic events with accurate reporting is a boon to business.
Hill also shared his preference for paperless transactions. Technology like EDI means companies no longer have to deal with paperwork, even if the transaction in question is deeply complicated. Caplinger concurred that paperless processes make certain exchanges far easier, specifying that receiving is simpler and quicker when advance ship notices are executed in the digital realm. He noted that online transactions have increased the speed of the supply chain market as a whole, necessitating firms work constantly to keep processes uninterrupted, efficient and simple.
Warehouse as epicenter
Materials Handling World contributor Gideon Hillman recently gave an example of the warehouse's relative importance to a company. He compared it to the heart of the business, a central organ that regulates all other processes. Just as all a body's blood passes through the heart on its way to every other organ, the warehouse manages all shipments to and from the business. He encouraged leaders to grant warehouse management the attention, investment and planning it deserves.
The warehouse will always be relevant to a company's operations. Therefore, according to Hillman, planning should be in line with future business needs and expectations rather than simply the current state of the firm.