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Four Essential Benefits of an Automated Warehouse Management System

Posted: December 06, 2019 by Ly Phan

Four Essential Benefits of an Automated Warehouse Management System

In warehouses around the world, tracking inventory is a constant challenge. For American retailers, inventory loss (or shrinkage) cost the industry $46.8bn in 2018. While a large proportion of this is unfortunately down to theft from both public and employees, supply chain issues also make a significant contribution. To regain control and reduce wastage, businesses need to have an automated warehouse management system in place.

Embracing technology and automating warehouse processes will lead to more streamlined, lean, and efficient businesses. In this post, we will detail the benefits of using an automated system and how to make the most of its advantages.

 

Benefits of Automated Warehouse Management Systems

Businesses in many industries are embracing software-based solutions to become more efficient and productive. For warehouses, inventory management software offers the specialist assistance required to automate processes and operations. Here are the four benefits they can bring:

 

Improved Accuracy and Efficiency

As humans, we are capable of many great things, but when it comes to finding the right stock, optimum routes, and general inventory control, the software can do it much more efficiently. For instance, in the order fulfillment process, teams need to pick and pack multiple products quickly. This would be a time-consuming process with traditional paper-based systems, with workers having to double-check information and finding the right items.

SmartTurn’s WMS offers support for the use of barcode technology and remote devices to get to the right products quickly. By using remote devices, several processes can be completed more rapidly and efficiently. Figures suggest companies that adopt warehouse management technology enjoy a 25% rise in productivity.

The results can also be seen in SmartTurn’s clients, with one reporting its inventory accuracy increased from 91% to 99%, leading to thousands of dollars being saved through reduced shrinkage costs. The unprecedented level of accuracy has a knock-on effect in terms of customer service, with fewer parcels being lost. 

 

Speed

As well as accuracy, speed is of the essence - particularly for distribution centers that serve retailers and shoppers. With an automated system in place, orders can be delivered and fulfilled within hours - giving businesses a competitive advantage. 

The speed comes from the software automatically processing and integrating data in real-time. For instance, warehouses can use technology to keep track of stock levels without the need for time-consuming manual checks. Each time a product is taken off a shelf, workers can use their remote devices to scan the barcode, which sends the information to the platform. 

The information is then used to alert managers to stock levels and enable them to take action accordingly. While subtle, this process is far quicker and more efficient than traditional, paper-based systems. Additionally, technology has a far greater memory of product locations and quickest possible pathways for inventory movement. The result is faster and more accurate order fulfillment services, which leads to more satisfied customers.

 

More Efficient Use of Space

With space at a premium, an increasing number of warehouses are seeking to optimize the space they already have. Turning towards automated warehouse software can help to reduce the required floor area by up to 40%

The software can work with machines and robots, which can pick products from a height that would be unsafe for humans to reach. Being able to place inventory on higher shelves is one such way to reduce square footage, as would narrow aisles that machines (known as automated guided vehicles) can be trained to zip through.

More directly, a cloud-based WMS can help managers to retain greater inventory control by taking advantage of in-depth analysis and accurate forecasting. This would decrease the risk of overstock, which would lead to reduced storage and give businesses more flexibility. 

 

Return on Investment

In the long-run, the best warehouse management software leads to not only automation but also a higher return on investment. Starting at just $500 a month, SmartTurn’s package is the preferred WMS for small businesses around the globe. With this reasonable outlay, clients have reported returns of up to $15,000 a month through supply chain efficiencies.

The returns are primarily generated through the efficiencies that come with an automated warehouse system. An example of this would be the ability to integrate third-party systems and software, such as Quickbooks, with a WMS, which improves accuracy and significantly reduces data-inputting across the supply chain. Such an outcome allows companies to manage resources better and increase productivity.

Using a cloud-based solution will allow warehouses to increase productivity and sustain growth. By using SmartTurn’s WMS, businesses can fully embrace the new era of automation affordably and sustainably.

 

Proactivity is Essential

Barcode technology can help increase inventory accuracy

In order to fulfill the potential of automated WMS, it’s critical to take a proactive approach. Alongside mastering the functions of an inventory management system, managers and business owners need to look at how to use such a solution to encourage automation.

One of the key aspects of a cloud-based solution is the ability to integrate with other technologies such as barcode scanning and machines. The power of data means warehouses can use WMS to facilitate automated pick and pack processes, for example. Doing so would shave off seconds, sometimes minutes, on each event - which gives scope to a considerable increase in productivity and the potential to serve more customers.

Throughout history, businesses that are early technology adopters have succeeded, leaving the laggards behind. With half of US warehouses continuing to rely on paper-based systems, there remains an opportunity for companies to gain a competitive edge. 

By taking a proactive and holistic approach with automated WMS, warehouses can become a technological hub. Such operations may appear to be costly, with remote devices and machines buzzing around the floor - but, as this post details, the reward is an efficient, sleek system that’s paying you back up to $15,000 a month.

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