August 14th, 2022 | eCommerce, Logistics, Order processing

Your WMS – how to increase efficiency

Considering warehouse efficiency

Your WMS – how to increase efficiency

Considering warehouse efficiency

If your business runs its own warehousing and fulfilment operation your WMS system is likely to by critical to your success. Most obviously, your WMS should ensure you are able to run your warehouse efficiency, tracking stock accurately and ensuring customer orders are despatched quickly and efficiently. However, the right WMS can also play a key role in controlling costs in all sorts of ways that are not immediately obvious.

Manage stock effectively

You should expect your WMS to maintain detailed stock turnover statistics for every SKU, allowing you to identify both slow moving items that are perhaps overstocked and unexpectedly fast moving items that risk going out of stock soon. The OrderFlow WMS platform allows you to optimise your stock reorder levels to ensure you maintain the optimal balance between the cost of overstocking and the risk of losing sales when SKUs are out of stock.

The right WMS system can also give you alternatives beyond simply optimising your stockholding. If you have a ‘long tail’ of products that you want to be able to offer but may only sell occasionally you may need a WMS that can support drop shipping. The OrderFlow WMS can be used to automatically forward drop-shipped orderlines to the relevant supplier and receive updates from them as they despatch the items on your behalf. Alternatively, you may have suppliers who will ship small orders to your warehouse overnight if the orders are placed with them before an agreed cutoff the day before. OrderFlow can also support this ‘just-in-time’ stock model, generating the supplier stock requirement or purchase order in whatever format they require and then driving a cross-docking process that ensures the incoming items are matched with the OOS orders. The cross docking process will present the items directly to your pack process or push them into a consolidation process where they will be matched with the other items required to fulfill multi-line orders.

Control when you need to make your next warehouse move

UK warehousing space, particularly contiguous ground level space that allows efficient picking is at a premium, even if you can find the space you need it’s expensive and disruptive to move. At some point any fulfilment operation that is growing steadily will outgrow its current premises but it makes no sense to move sooner than is necessary. Implementing a WMS that can improve your warehouse efficiency and make better use of the space you already have available can defer your next warehouse move by a couple of years. Most WMS systems will allow you to mix multipe SKUs in a single pick location but if this is not done carefully it can significantly slow down the pick process. The OrderFlow allows you to define pick face slotting logic that allows a pick location to hold more than one SKU but ensures it will next hold two SKUs from the same product category or that look similar.

OrderFlow can significantly improve the your replenishment processes, allowing you to replenish from bulk storage within the warehouse or by transferring palletised stock from other premises. OrderFlow also allows you to pick multiline orders across more than one area, bringing the items together in an efficient consolidation process before they are presented to the packers. This is essential if you want to increase your pick face by adding a mezzanine floor.

Effective use of staff

Your WMS should allow you to track the productivity of each team member and provide detailed records of how long each of your warehouse processes actually takes. Tracking user productivity is useful but the biggest impact of introducing a new WMS on how you manage your warehouse team should be the opportunity it provides to use your most experienced staff more effectively. Routine operational decisions that may currently require your experienced staff to be involved can often be configured into the WMS processes so that it becomes possible for contract staff and new team members to undertake jobs that previously required close supervision or lengthy training. The ability to use temporary staff in peak periods and get new team members up to speed more quickly can both offer significant savings.

If you find your current WMS system is not giving you the level of control you need over your warehouse processes we can help, give us a call to discuss how we might work together.