investing in research and development, and how quickly they have adopted the newest, most effective technological advancements in the past. “You want information on where the WMS vendor is currently and what its roadmap to the future looks like,” Kirpalani says. For WMS users, the vendor’s roadmap could hold important answers about their own futures. n
“Do they plan to add different shipping channels in the future? Do they plan to switch ERP systems? Do they plan to enter into different markets or expand geographically? Weight these future plans based on whether they are near- term or distant considerations.” Forward-thinking companies also will want insight into a WMS vendor’s level of sophistication going forward, based on factors such as how much they are
solution, or a solutions that uses articial intelligence or machine learning then you can decide to go with a vendor that is making the right level of investment in these areas.” Put future plan scenarios in front of each vendor and see how they support them. Future plans or needs should be part of the discussion from day one. “For example, ask the vendor about their plans for automation?” Wolin says.
10 WAYS A WMS CAN SOLVE RETAIL DISTRIBUTION CHALLENGES
It can also handle distributing new items or slow-moving items to stores without orders. 6. Give You Better Data Data makes the cogs in a warehouse keep turning just how they’re supposed to. An ideal WMS collects data at every touchpoint so that you know where you stand, and provides insights into how you can do better. 7. Keep Shipping Costs Down When you keep a better handle on your inventory, you can plan shipments better so you don’t have to rely on the spot market to keep items available. Since shipping rates are incredibly volatile, this WMS benefit is rapidly becoming a priority for many retailers. 8. Simplify a Complex Supply Chain Today’s warehouses often have to cope with thousands of unique SKUs and ever-changing rules. A great warehouse management system can help companies see over the top of the complexities, integrating seamlessly with solutions, equipment, and other technology up and down the supply chain. 9. Provide Better Visibility End-to-end visibility is more than a buzz phrase; it’s the future of supply chains. A world-class WMS helps you collect and interpret data to provide more visibility across your entire network. 10. Improved Visibility Leads to Better Customer Service Everything in retail comes down to customer service, whether you’re standing in a brick-and-mortar store or at home with your shopping cart. A more eective, more ecient distribution operation translates to happier customers. –Amit Levy, Executive Vice President, Customer Solutions & Strategy, Made4net
Major changes in the retail landscape have accelerated rapidly in the past few years, and with that change comes new challenges for retail distribution operations. Retailers can overcome many of those challenges with a best-in-breed warehouse management system (WMS). Here are 10 ways a WMS can help your operation become Labor shortages abound, but a top-notch WMS will help you use what you have to the best advantage. Through task prioritization and performance monitoring, your WMS can help employees on the floor do more with their time. 2. Keep a Tighter Leash on Inventory Top-rated warehouse management systems can help you track inventory to the case in real time. Since inventory control and visibility are serious issues for many retail distribution operations, improving inventory management via a better WMS is a common-sense solution. 3. Help Get Products to Customers in New Ways more agile and more ecient, faster and smarter. 1. Use the Labor You Have More E ciently A good WMS will help you get products where they need to go in exactly the way it was originally set up to. A great WMS will help you evolve the way you get products to their end destinations, opening up new omnichannel distribution solutions to your company through agility and adaptation. 4. Help Get Products to Customers Faster A quality warehouse management system helps inventory get through your warehouse and on to its final destination faster. It can help you prioritize which products should move first and how they should move to ensure consistent customer satisfaction. 5. Handle Store Allocations When there isn’t enough inventory to supply all stores, the WMS can look in real time and run an analysis of how to allocate the product.
September 2022 • Inbound Logistics 101
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