The E-commerce and Omnichannel shopping arenas have become more challenging for business owners and managers. The influx of orders and customer demands has caused businesses to adapt to newer forms of technology, apart from considering new staff, especially in the warehouse.
Amidst this dynamic environment is Nature’s Best, an American health and natural foods company, has slowly grown its market reach in the past fifteen years. The company takes pride in offering people the healthiest and freshest foods. However, as their products became more in demand in farther parts of America, they found their distribution and warehouse system inefficient, especially since they needed a distribution center with several temperature-controlled zones.
To address Nature’s Best’s natural food distribution problem, they invested in new technological warehouse management systems (WMS) customized for their brand. After implementing a structured WMS that suits their business and training their employees with the new processes, they started streamlining their operations across all channels. Their new WMS implementation has doubled the productivity of their employees while reducing labor costs by up to 30%.
Drawing inspiration from Nature’s Best as a WMS implementation project plan example, this article aims to help you implement a warehouse management system efficiently and cost-effectively. By adopting proven strategies and embracing technological advancements, you can streamline your warehouse operations and reduce business expenses.
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First things first. Let’s define WMS. A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software program that supports and simplifies the management of distribution centers and warehouses for retailers. Product-based brands can improve their visibility in terms of their inventory levels and streamline supply chain fulfillment with a WMS. WMS implementation helps businesses optimize their workforce and physical space by coordinating material flows and resource consumption.
The Importance of Proper WMS Implementation
Your warehouse’s performance and efficiency influence your business’s profitability and customer satisfaction. It’s a highly complex ecosystem with the potential to make or break your company.
Due to the global pandemic’s impact on supply chains and rising consumer demand, several retailers are implementing new warehouse management systems to enhance inventory visibility and order fulfillment. Polaris Market Research reports that from 2022 to 2028, the global warehouse automation market is expected to grow at an annual compound rate of 14.2%.
Implementing a new warehouse management system (WMS) can be challenging, but with careful preparation, you can maximize revenues and satisfy customers with the least interruption. Here are some benefits of WMS implementation:
Improved Business Performance
You can spot products with strong demand and underperforming ones using a warehouse management system. A WMS can also lessen errors and reduce the time needed to locate products in the warehouse. All of this enhances warehouse performance and lowers operational costs.
WMS implementation can prevent stockouts by immediately alerting your business to potential inventory issues. Additionally, it automates inventory tracking at the stock location level. Instead of manually updating lost or damaged products in the program, you can scan the SKUs to change their status. Your customers would be able to see the updated product stocks.
Businesses must be agile to meet rapidly changing consumer expectations. A cloud-based solution can make your operations and order fulfillment faster by reducing workforce dependency on managing on-site servers.
Another benefit of using a WMS is setting up your warehouse to operate efficiently for a better selection of tools and materials, which saves you time and space. Additionally, the system can prevent inefficient material handling equipment, reducing wear and tear on expensive assets.
On top of that, WMS implementation can improve inventory accuracy and demand planning. It can also build trustworthy security measures, arrange on-time shipments, and ensure consistent customer satisfaction.
4 Best Practices for WMS Implementation
Even if you’ve found the ideal application for your company, it won’t be very effective if you don’t use your WMS properly. The key to a successful implementation and adoption is to provide sufficient training. By designating ownership or a team to help manage your system, you can regularly assess the software’s performance to make any necessary improvements.
1. Align the Software To Your Business Goals
Warehouse management systems must be flexible and respond to shifting market conditions instead of being impromptu band-aid fixes for immediate issues.
Additionally, your new system must be user-friendly to simplify warehouse managers’ tasks by eliminating unnecessary procedures and undesirable warehouse behaviors. WMS providers should communicate clearly and manage expectations from the outset to help all staff members acclimate to impending changes in the warehouse operation.
2. Enlist A Reliable Rollout Team
Your implementation team’s ability to successfully deploy your warehouse management system is crucial. As a result, you should try to gather the most talented and diverse individuals for the job.
Coordination and communication among internal teams working toward varied goals are part of an effective organizational change management strategy. The ability of your organization to make decisions, solve problems, and coordinate the actions of numerous departments and projects is essential. Start by creating a culture that enables progress and innovation.
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3. Thorough Testing
WMS testing includes simulating various warehousing scenarios and fixing process flaws. Your implementation team should also be on the lookout for possible system bugs.
Ensure everything operates as it should by validating the system’s parameters and testing the interfaces. Doing this will ensure virtual simulation outcomes are identical to the actual operation. You must authorize each WMS feature individually and then move on to a feature freeze, preventing any changes. Doing this avoids the risk of going over budget and extending the time for adoption.
4. Staff Training
No matter how robust your chosen WMS is, it has no meaningful value if your staff cannot use it.
It is best to rely on the knowledge of your WMS vendor for training purposes. As they are the subject matter experts, they should be able to provide comprehensive support and training.
You should also document standard operating procedures (SOPs) and training to ensure everything runs well. Note each necessary procedural step and give screenshots of the system. With it, you can easily share knowledge within your company, omitting redundancies in case of staff shortages.
WMS Implementation for Supply Chain Success
Despite their complexity, a warehouse management system provides companies with several advantages. It can shorten cycle times for placement and removal. Other great benefits include additional storage space, better-structured material storage, and more adaptability in warehouse operations. A successful WMS implementation will elevate your business, reduce costs, and increase operational productivity.
Upgrading your warehouse management system with Aratum is easy. Our robust logistics software solutions are designed to optimize your warehousing, inventory management, and fulfillment. All of this is in a single easy-to-use platform. Sign up at our website to get started with WMS implementation.
The featured photo on this post is courtesy of Lifestyle Memory on freepik.