Choosing the Right WMS
Choosing the right Warehouse Management System (WMS) for your retail or wholesale business can be a very difficult decision to make. We have created this article to guide you through what you must consider before finding, purchasing and implementing a WMS especially for a retail and/or wholesale business, so that you can be certain the system you end up choosing is best suited for you and your business.
We know that warehouse processes differ across industries and business types, and retail and wholesale can be very complex business types. Therefore, you need a WMS that can be designed, customized, and built especially with retail and wholesale in mind. Installing a WMS can improve your overall business performance and give you the opportunity to take control of your inventory, improve efficiency and reduce operational costs. We would suggest joining with a partner with knowledge and experience within the retail and wholesale industry. A partner who knows the challenges you face within fashion and retail.
1. ERP Integration
ERP integration is one of the first steps you should consider. What data is exchanged or can be exchanged between your back-office software and the WMS? You should consider how your accounting will be affected each time inventory changes. If you choose a WMS solution that is built into your ERP system (like Dynamics 365 Business Central or Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations), you can trigger automatic journal creation and inventory valuation updates. For a coordinated approach across your business we recommend going for a 100% integrated WMS solution where the WMS shares the same database and workflow as your ERP solution. Finally, you should consider an ERP solution that is rugged and reliable with real-time updates that will ensure you are always connected and updated.
2. User Friendly
Next step to consider is the user-friendliness of your WMS solution within the warehouse or store. There are very important factors that define a user-friendly solution. A user interface that is easy to use and can be configured to fit the need of the individual user is one. This will ensure that your warehouse employees will be more efficient and make fewer mistakes, as the WMS provides the tools and information needed to work effectively. If you, for instance, need to hire seasonal and temporary staff, which calls for navigating the system rather intuitively; a user-friendly system that can be learned quickly is highly beneficial. Moreover, you must consider WMS software that is agile and can be configured to fit most, if not all, of your needs. For instance; hiding information that is not needed so the employees will not be exposed to irrelevant information.
3. Running on Future Proof Hardware
You also need to determine the right hardware for your business and ensure that your chosen WMS solution can support it. Barcode scanners are a great option for improving the efficiency of your warehouse. At this point, Android is proving to be the fastest, most flexible, and adaptable operating system when it comes to incorporating smart devices into the workplace. Their platform is updated almost yearly by Google. Microsoft has set an end of life for their Windows scanners. Therefore we would advise to look for a WMS system that is supported by Android scanners to make your Warehouse Management System future proof.
4. Features Needed in Your Solution
Consider what is unique to your business? Which features would give your company a competitive advantage? What would make your business react faster and give your customer the best experience?
You may need separation of some inventory per client for more reliable fulfillment. Or you might use a series of warehouses to pre-stage goods as you get ready for the next fashion season. Perhaps your next big in-store promotion will be perishable, so your warehouses now need to operate at a certain temperature.
Every retailer has a slightly different way of doing things and reacts to trends in different ways. There is no reason why you should consider a WMS solution that does not meet your needs and is not customizable.
During your discussions and research phase for a suitable WMS solution for your retail business you must look for these WMS features:
To achieve efficient inventory counts, your chosen WMS should enable you to not only perform full inventory counts quickly and efficiently, but it should also allow for more advanced functions such as quarterly counts and unplanned counts.
This feature will enable you to perform movement of items and inventory in your store and warehouse, may it be planned or unplanned. You will always know where each item is placed and how many pieces you have.
Find a particular item quickly.
Is an item sold out? No worries, with this feature you can search for a substitute item.
5. Return on Investment
Another thing to consider is the Return on Investment. What is an expected return on investment (ROI)? The time for achieving an ROI on a WMS investment should be relatively short, but not the same for every company and industry. Some can recognize ROI in just three to six months. For other companies the payback will be longer. But in most cases, companies that don’t have a WMS solution in place today will likely see an ROI within six to twelve months. The benefits and savings from the implementation of a WMS can be significant. When thinking about a WMS solution for your retail or wholesale business you will most likely see some of the following benefits:
- Inventory savings
- Space savings
- Reduced number of errors
- Paperless warehouse
- More efficient employees
- Optimized picking routes
- Equipment savings
Want to know more about WMS in retail with Tasklet Factory? Please connect with us!
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