Logistics I.T., Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Technology The right warehouse management system (WMS) can improve efficiency and cut supply chain costs. TECSYS, a supply chain management solutions provider, offers the following tried-and-true strategies.1. Automate manual processes. Find every opportunity to automate repeatable and time-intensive activities, especially those prone to error. An electronic pick list is a good place to start. A WMS vendor or consultant can work with you to assess your operations and determine what to automate first. Your associates are also a good source of ideas. Evaluate material handling equipment (MHE) that can integrate with your WMS to speed operations.2. Recognize what today's labor force needs. Today's workers are used to the simplicity of consumer technologies and expect to have similar capabilities when they step into the warehouse. Because of this, the right WMS will make a world of difference in your ability to hire, train, and retain staff. An intuitive WMS plays a large role in how your team goes about completing assignments every hour of the day. If your system is easier to work with and simplifies the process of completing tasks accurately, employee satisfaction and morale will improve. Likewise, a well-thought-out solution speeds training time for new employees. 3. Dig into inventory management. To improve inventory management and lower your holding costs, you need visibility into what's on the shelves and the rate at which it is depleted and replenished. This is possible by using a WMS in concert with an inventory management system that tracks the ins and outs as well as prompts cycle counting and reconciliation. The ability to forecast demand is also important as you work to implement an optimum level of inventory to carry, improving your ability to lower inventory holding costs over time. Finally, if you have an issue with security such as product theft, take steps to curtail it via foolproof picking processes, security cameras, and an anonymous employee tip line.4. Implement best practices. Learn the latest best practices regarding laying out a facility, leveraging technology, and managing your workforce to meet customer requirements and keep costs in check. When researching a WMS, select a vendor who demonstrates a deep understanding of supply chain best practices to ensure they can help you introduce the efficiency you need.5. Measure your performance. From labor productivity to fulfillment speed and shipping accuracy, intuitive WMS dashboards help you get a handle on which areas aren't running efficiently, where cost spikes point to underlying issues, and more. You need information that can help you take action, enabling ongoing improvement and cost reduction across many areas. This may include dropping a product line that isn't performing well, reallocating staff to address performance issues, or identifying expiring products and waste.
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