After two years of capacity constraints, supply chain volatility, and resource shortages – there’s more “good news” out there! That’s right, experts are saying a recession may be on the horizon. Add to this the fact that many companies are still feeling the sting of supply chain disruptions and uncertainty over the availability of products and delivery times, which led retailers and distributors to over-order to maintain their inventories. And in turn, manufacturers and their suppliers have followed suit. The end result? Order sizes and inventories are amplified at each link in the supply chain and are grossly inflated at its end. Supply is becoming greater than demand.
We don’t need to tell you twice, that’s a lot to manage. What organizations need today is a way to optimize inventory spending while having real-time visibility that will bolster their resiliency. They need to drive costs out of their operations and gain the ability to do more with less. And while instinct may lead companies to think it’s best to hold off on investing in tech during these uncertain times, it’s actually a great time to invest in the right Warehouse Management System (WMS). Here’s why we suggest you recession proof your warehouse with a WMS.
REASONS TO INVEST IN A WMS
#1 Create Efficiency
If your current WMS is outdated, or you don’t have one, you’re operating at a disadvantage. Implementing a WMS as a recession looms makes sense, as it can be used as a lever to drive operational efficiency. Specifically, the right WMS will enable:
● Reliable inventory management: The right WMS will be able to tell you what’s on hand and where. This will provide accurate data to your order management system. You won’t disappoint customers by allocating inventory you don’t have and in the event of a surplus, you’ll be able to react in a timely fashion.
● Effective labor management: Labor costs are often the largest expense in the warehouse. Add current labor shortages to the mix and the need to maximize productivity is amplified. The right WMS can help increase productivity by at least 20% by streamlining work through system-directed task allocation and tracking real-time performance metrics.
● Increased supply chain capacity: The right WMS will create the data you need to carry the right amount of stock and increase inventory turns. And, improving employee productivity means you can perform the same amount of tasks with less people, or the same number of people can get more work done.
#2 Drive Profitability
If spending any money right now sounds ill-advised, remember that cloud-based solutions aren’t a large capital expense. In fact, the right WMS allows you to do more with less, saving you money in the end. With fewer errors and dependable accuracy, a WMS can help not only protect your bottom line but improve it over time. How?
● Prevent inventory shrinkage: Inventory shrink is a painful hit to your bottom line no matter the cause – errors, shipping damage, spoilage or theft. The right WMS enables you to accurately pick, pack and track inventory; cycle count to proactively check inventory on hand to ensure numbers are accurate; and gain visibility into real-time inventory data to effectively manage complexity in allocation and shipping of products with FIFO, FEFO, sell-by and other customer specific requirements.
● Convert inventory to cash: Many companies carry as much as 20% of overall inventory as safety stock when they don’t trust their warehouse inventory. With the right WMS, you can expect 99.98% inventory accuracy, and with real-time inventory data at your fingertips, you’ll have the confidence to right-size your stock and convert inventory into cash.
● Improve space utilization: Optimize the use of your warehouse space to allow the storage of more goods on hand and to eliminate the need to expand your space or use outside storage services.
● Improve inventory accuracy: With the right WMS, you’ll have accurate inventory levels on-hand meaning you always have what you need and can avoid incurring last minute “rush fees.” You also won’t be spending dollars to store goods you don’t need.
● Increase business: Greater accuracy leads to more satisfied customers. Happy customers tend to become return customers and return customers are always happy to make a referral. Increased accuracy and better service, lets you grow your customer base while simultaneously improving your operations.
# 3 Labor Savings
As previously stated, labor costs are often the largest expense in the warehouse. The need to maximize productivity is a given. You also need to be sure you retain the workforce you have – if an associate walks out the door, replacing them in our current labor market isn’t a given. There are countless strategies different companies are using to hire and retain top talent, from offering unique incentives like “Summer Fridays” to providing on-site childcare. Another strategy? Implementing a WMS that streamlines workplace tasks and alleviates the pressure put on your associates, another way to recession proof your warehouse.
A WMS can:
● Strategically place employees in areas they are better suited for, empowering them to do their best work while increasing accuracy.
● Reduce employees’ frustration that results from lack of efficiency. Frustrated employees seek other employment opportunities.
● Help with scheduling, alerting you if there is a need to hire temp workers for an upcoming push to ensure you’re avoiding any burnout or undesirable errors.
● Get more productivity out of your current employees and enable growth of your business without the need to bring on new hires.
With the right WMS, accuracy naturally increases. This means there is no longer a need for work to be double-checked, saving time and increasing throughput. Employees who feel their work isn’t redundant are bound to feel more appreciated and like their time is of real importance.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A WMS
There are countless options when it comes to a WMS, each one tailored for a specific need, and not all solutions are created equally. Only with a clear understanding of what your needs are will you be able to choose the solution best suited for your operation. And if cost is a sticking point, then a cloud-based solution is your best bet. Cloud solutions negate the need for any hardware and provide you with an environment that is maintained by the vendor which reduces overall operating costs. You’ll also want to look for solutions that are easy to implement and modify to meet changing requirements, with minimal or no need for additional professional services. That way your WMS can grow as you do, eliminating the need to implement a new system every few years.
The Made4net WMS drives significant ROI and faster time to value and is available either in the cloud or on-premise. What makes our WMS the right WMS?
● With our flexible, rules-based platform, built on Microsoft technology and a Distributed Services Architecture, the system can easily be modified to meet new requirements and respond to change as needed.
● A host of specific product features and best practices accelerate every phase of implementation.
● Proven, industry-specific templates ensure you don’t have to start from scratch.
● Workflow-based applications allow implementation teams to configure rather than code, shortening the path to supporting core processes like picking or putaway.
● When you’re ready to roll out a new facility, Made4net makes it significantly faster and easier to do so with modular and scalable components. Our integrated suite of products and unique architecture makes it considerably easier to scale or turn on incremental warehouses and add additional features down the line.
We don’t know how the continued supply chain disruptions and rising inflation will affect us, but we can control how we counteract them. As you’ve read, there are a lot of reasons to adopt a WMS when in the midst of a recession, cost savings being one of the most compelling. Adopt a WMS to drive cost out of operations and do more with less, and while you’re at it, improve labor morale.
Be sure to invest in the right WMS; look for a cloud-based solution that’s easy to implement, update, and maintain without the need for additional professional services. If you want to face this recession head-on, we can help.
Reach out with any questions or to schedule a demo.