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How to overcome distribution challenges with WMS features: 6 Tips

Written by Michael Badwi
Created: 11 September 2019

Solving distribution challenges with the right WMS features

A common KPI in a growing business is to improve the bottom line of your distribution centre. Margins vary wildly between 3% and 30%, and the slicker your operation, the higher that margin becomes. A good Warehouse Management System can make a huge difference to your growth.

In developing economies like South Africa and certain parts of the Middle East, the opportunities to drive high margins through efficient processes are plentiful. In more developed markets like the UAE, competition dictates that your warehouse operations need to be running on point.

 

This puts some pressure on your warehouse managers:

Planning, execution, and consistency play a vital role in ensuring the ongoing improvement in your profits and creating a working process that your employees, customers, and partners are satisfied with.

 

In a growing, thriving, booming business, it can be hard to keep a handle on the multiple workings that contribute to your success, and a well-implemented WMS will have the right features to help you to drive these objectives and change the behaviours that inhibit your business growth.

How the core features of your WMS can improve your distribution processes

We give a visual guide to the features of a WMS in our infographic below, with a breakdown of how they impact your distribution patterns for the better, by assisting you in identifying and implementing key processes to optimise our warehousing and distribution. 

 

1.      Core Warehouse Management

Core Warehouse Management is the feature of the WMS that keeps all your bases covered. It includes things like inbound logistics, inventory management, outbound order processing and shipping. Our Inbound / Outbound schematic below shows exactly which functions your WMS can manage:

 

Inbound Core Warehouse Management

Inbound receiving functions aided by the Core Warehouse Management Feature of a WMS:


Inbound WMS Functions

Outbound Core Warehouse Management

Outbound distribution functions aided by the Core Warehouse Management Feature of a WMS:

 

Outbound WMS Functions

 

2.      Slotting Optimisation

Improve your speed and accuracy by strategically grouping goods by size, type, weight, and more. Implementing this feature with the most practical, industry-relative logic will help you to ensure that your picking process starts off properly and supports your drive for efficiency.

3.      Labour Management

 

The drive for greater efficiency is on. This means that businesses need to find ways for employees to work smarter, but also for themselves to manage those employees effectively.

 

A WMS system can help you do both, and this Labour Management feature follows the four steps of labour management, integrating with your KPIs and standards to drive improvement in your management, overheads, and efficiency.

4.      Warehouse Mobility as a WMS Feature for Growing Business

 

Keeping your warehouse manager on the warehouse floor is critical for efficiency, engagement, and theft prevention.

A fast-growing business requires a great deal of effort in this area to maximise their output and reduce their overheads – whether labour-, process-, or stock-related.

5.      Billing Management

Billing management is often used by 3PLs to ensure that they are tracking their value-added costs and storage billing. This gives a growing business accurate costs for customers and accurate figures for forecasting and reporting.

 

6.      Supply Chain Intelligence

This critical tool allows your distribution hub to analyse and improve on processes, forecast effectively, and plan for the business’ high- and low-volume periods. This allows you to make key decisions which keep your business on-track and get you closer to achieving your goals.

 

Here's the summary infographic you need while you plan your WMS implementation:

Features of a WMS Infographic Warehouse Management Systems Features

 

The process of identifying and implementing these features should be followed early in the WMS implementation process so that your business really gets the best out of your WMS for its projected growth – no matter your starting point.

 

Read the Kolok Case Study to get a full view on how the WMS features you implement can impact your input, output, and bottom line.

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