Warehouse management systems (WMS) are used by warehousing and distribution companies, shipping companies, e-commerce businesses, and so on. When a WMS is properly implemented, it can provide a valuable inventory management system that lets workers and managers keep an eye on inventory levels, shipments, and the overall flow of goods in and out of the warehouse. Unfortunately, not all WMS are created equal, and simply having a warehouse management system doesn’t necessarily mean it is meeting your needs properly. Here are some warning signs that can suggest your WMS may be due for a change.
It Can’t Handle Specialized Inventory Tracking
There is a difference between a WMS being able to track inventory and being able to track your inventory. No two companies handle the exact same products, and some companies may have a number of goods that require specialized tracking measures that your WMS can’t support. For instance, if a subset of your goods has the potential to expire, it’s important that your WMS is able to track shelf life and deliver notifications if an expiration occurs—but it also can’t demand this type of information for every product it records. Your WMS may be able to track quantity and location of stock, but some goods warrant the tracking of lot and serial numbers as well. If you find that you need to come up with workarounds for specific products you stock, then it may be time to upgrade.
Your Customers Are Complaining
The frontline experience is often the first indicator that your WMS may not be performing up to snuff. If customers are increasingly complaining of order inaccuracies or late deliveries, then you need to find out if your WMS is part of the problem. There is no universal reason why a WMS may be negatively impacting your ability to meet customer needs. A few examples can include: a legacy WMS causing bugs or errors due to compatibility or interface issues, a legacy WMS lacking useful stock control features that more modern systems include, the WMS not delivering information in an intuitive fashion, or the WMS’s interface being confusing and leading to input errors. A good WMS is capable of producing an order accuracy rating of 95% at minimum. If you are falling below this number, it’s worth considering if your system might need a change.
You Have No Idea How It Works
A warehouse management system is an integral part of logistical operations and inventory control, so it is vitally important that it is actually understandable. The people who use your WMS should be able to comprehend how stock is input, identified, shipped, and sorted without resorting to shrugging their shoulders and saying, “That’s just how it works.” This is a problem that crops up most often in legacy WMS but is not unique to them. As operations grow and your business expands, the WMS ends up becoming a homebrewed mix of solutions stacked on top of solutions. While effective at the time, this results in a confusing jumble that can be especially impenetrable for any new employees and also raises the risk of serious errors arising. If it is becoming difficult to make heads or tails of how your WMS works, then it may be time to switch out for a more streamlined and user-friendly system.
Look to Lean Supply Solutions for Effective Warehouse Management
Lean Supply Solutions is a third-party order fulfillment company in Toronto whose operations are based around the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to clients’ supply chains. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, accurate, and quality results.
To learn more about the Lean Methodology, outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.