With every day that passes, the world becomes more and more tightly connected and interlinked. This is mostly good news for businesses, as technological development of this kind produces opportunities for greater efficiency. Warehouse management systems (WMS) have transformed the warehouse, logistics and distribution sectors, creating faster, leaner operations.
WMS offers the possibility to streamline and track tasks, inventory flows and the workforce, so it’s not surprising that such systems are being adopted across the entire industry, with the WMS business estimated to be worth more than £1 billion every year. Here are two primary drivers in WMS adoption today.
Demands for E-Commerce Order Fulfilment
A major factor driving WMS adoption is the notable trend of retailers offloading e-commerce order fulfilment onto their distribution and logistics partners. Distribution centres traditionally fit into the supply chain by focussing on replenishing the inventory of retailers, but have recently had to transform to accommodate direct-to-consumer shipping. In practical terms, this means a much higher volume of single-item orders, as opposed to entire inventories.
In a traditionally configured warehouse, it would be very difficult to meet demand and maintain a profitable operation, but WMS has provided distribution centres with software to automate and streamline much of the process. WMS can automatically communicate shipping details and progress back to the retailer instantly, who can then pass this onto their customers in a process that simply isn’t possible in a traditional, paper-based logistics chain.
Staying on Top in an Ultra-Competitive Market
As well as retailers and DCs, manufacturers also stand to benefit from WMS adoption. Many manufacturers persist in using labour-intensive processes at the centre of their operations, with inventory and shipping data entered manually, creating the risk of human error alongside time inefficiencies and greater manpower expenses. Additionally, the distances between manufacturers, suppliers and customers produce further complexities around logistics and transportation.
The right WMS improves efficiencies all along the chain, from receiving an order to picking and dispatch. Software is increasingly used in conjunction with upgraded warehouse equipment like garage shelving from companies like https://www.garage-shelving.co.uk who offer pallet racking in the UK and elsewhere.
This leads to more accurate and timely shipments, and data accrues over time to provide managers with deep insights into the operation workflow, relieving bottlenecks and creating the potential for the development of predictive analytics for even greater efficiency.