Choosing the right warehouse management system

Choosing the right warehouse management system

Whether you are a manufacturer or a distributor, warehousing is a key part of business. Being able to control stock and manage space effectively is essential if your operation is to prove cost-effective. The best way to do this is by installing a warehouse management system.

Choosing the right warehouse management system

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Warehousing is about much more than having somewhere to accommodate your pallet racking. It needs to contribute to the bottom line of the business, and that means ensuring it is efficient.

Understanding the business

As with any new system, you need to specify what you want to get out of it in order to come up with the best solution. You need to set out the key requirements for your warehousing system, whether it’s improving efficiency, reducing losses or managing surplus inventory.

After deciding what you want the system to do, do not leave the implementation up to IT alone. Other areas of the business need to be involved. In addition to warehouse management, accounts and other departments need information from the system.

You must allow room for growth and flexibility. As you add extra Pallet racking by, your system needs to be able to cope with the additional capacity without problems.

System requirements

When selecting a warehouse system, you need to make sure it’s going to work smoothly with the rest of your business IT. It needs to be able to exchange data with your ERP system, for example, and your back-office systems. If you have Internet of Things-capable materials handling equipment, you need to take its interfacing needs into account.

You should make sure that you have flexible reporting, as a system that is unable to provide up-to-date information for management will not be effective in aiding decision-making and won’t be able to highlight problem issues in a timely fashion. Having a system that is easy to use is also important. If it isn’t user-friendly, your employees will not get the best from the system and you won’t get an effective return on your investment.

Finally, you need to think seriously about how the system will be implemented. Will you be running it on in-house systems or using the cloud to run the software as a service? If you have several sites, you need to consider access for all of them.

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