SkuVault Blog

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5 Ways to Increase Efficiency with a Warehouse Management System

Posted by Lori Wood on Nov 15, 2018

 

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Bill Gates once said, "The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency."  Think about that.

What if I told you that there is a warehouse management solution that you can apply to your warehouse processes that will unveil exactly where your inefficiencies are?  What if I told you that by magnifying your warehouse's inefficiencies through a cloud based warehouse management system (WMS),  you'll save money -  and most of the time, A LOT of money.  Check out these five ways you can increase efficiency and amplify your bottom line with a WMS software solution

1. Utilize "Locations"

Warehouse "locations" is one of the most underutilized principles when it comes warehouse organization.  Locations don't get as much attention as they should because, quite frankly, they are taken for granted or not acknowledged when it comes to warehouse planning.

If you want to sell more, experience fluid picking and shipping processes, and ultimately reduce labor costs, using "locations" correctly is your first step. How nice would it be if your pickers could actually find things in your warehouse? Every item will have a location assigned so they easily have a reference when it's time to grab it off the shelf and get it out the door.

2. Generate accurate pick lists

As a quick refresher, "picking" in the warehouse setting refers to the fulfillment process in which an item is selected, or "picked" from a location and then sent off to quality control before shipping to the customer. A good WMS allows you to generate "pick lists" based off of locations. Pick lists help your pickers save steps, which in turn saves time (and money!). If you really want to take your picking speed to the next level, check out SkuVault's Hyper Picking Feature.

Hyper Picking is a method of generating a Wave Picking session but takes it one step further to make your pick process more streamlined. In a traditional warehouse management system using Bins, Wave or Batch Picking usually involves some sort of manual filtering of orders and paper picking of print lists.  With Hyper Picking, SkuVault has eliminated a few middleman steps to create a faster and more efficient pick system. Plus, you can can reduce waste by utilizing digital pick lists. You'll not only save steps in the warehouse, but eliminate the need to purchase paper stock for printing. 

3.Amp up your Quality Control

We get it. Your warehouse environment can be quite complex and chaotic. Your pickers are slammed with trying to juggle the pressure of peak season, handling multiple orders simultaneously, and are susceptible to errors as fatigue starts to set in from long, hectic hours on the floor. A warehouse management system has strong Quality Control checks in place that will highlight exactly where you are having problems through accurate QC reporting. If you have one particular picker who is continuously pulling incorrect orders, you can go straight to the source to correct the behavior and move on from it. 

The very essence of quality control is a fundamental focus on customer satisfaction. By now, we all know the importance of delivering the right item to the customer every time - when you don't it can very easily negatively affect your seller ratings on sites like Amazon. One of the greatest challenges confronting business today is the continuous increase in customer expectation. Customers are day by day becoming more critical towards the quality of service they experience.

Make sure you deliver on your customer service promise by amping up your quality control processes to keep your customers happy and always coming back for more.

4. Know when expiring items actually expire

Our partners at Shopify understand the importance of First-In-First-Out, or FIFO, and do a great job explaining the burden of sitting with dead inventory on your selves.

Knowing, and then ultimately tracking, the age of your stock with a WMS FIFO feature is essential to your growing business. These methods work when rotating stock to ensure your products are as fresh as possible for your customers.Long gone are the days of manually monitoring expiration dates. With a FIFO (or FEFO) feature set, you can make sure you're getting rid of items that are closest to expiration first. You'll minimize shrink and know exactly when to re-order your items to make sure you have what you need on hand, when you need it.

5. Have data at your fingertips

Data is arguably one of the most important features of warehouse management software. Using a WMS should allow you to have access to a strong arsenal of reports. These reports should give you access to data that will allow you to make better forecasting decisions for your growing business. You should easily be able to see what you have sold, and exactly when you sold it. With a good WMS, you will have visibility into seasonality so you can make sure you are all stocked up on the items you are actually selling - not just what you think you are.

When it comes to increasing efficiency and lowering costs in a warehouse setting, you have to take a hard, honest look at what is actually happening in your warehouse. Focus on what is happening the minute your inventory arrives in your warehouse until the second that inventory walks back out the door.

Curious how much labor savings your business can experience as a result of streamlining your warehouse processes? Check out our Labor Savings Calculator and plug in your numbers to see for yourself. You'll be amazed at the amount of money you can invest back into your business to take things to the next level.

Topics: warehouse management software