With an ever-growing market and an increased demand for high-performing supply chains, effectively managing a warehouse has become more challenging than ever. According to Statista, 50% of respondents identify warehouse management as one of the most important inventory practices in the current era of business.
Despite its importance, efficiently managing a warehouse is easier said than done. Business owners, leaders, and employees struggle with the day-to-day challenges of taking on such a task – obstacles that can include inventory errors and mistaken forecasts. These challenges can hamper business productivity, and this is why most leaders have turned to seek the help of the best warehouse management systems in the market.
By integrating technology into the tedious tasks involved in warehouse management, teams and employees can better handle their respective workloads. Employing a warehouse management system can increase productivity, efficiency, and performance. Unique benefits such as mobile access to warehouse information and real-time data contribute to the software’s cost-effectiveness and worth. However, before you experience any of these benefits, you will need to ensure its usability. If you’re having trouble with taking advantage of your system, then here are 6 strategies to help you improve your warehouse management software.
Evaluate where your software fits.
The first strategy that you should employ even before you implement a warehouse management system is to evaluate where you expect your software can fill the gaps. If you’re contemplating getting a system, then you need to look at where your warehouse management practices fail and think about what the software can do. By undergoing this process, you’d be clear on what to expect and, once you’ve implemented the system, what you want it to do.
On the other hand, if you already have a warehouse management system, then this strategy involves taking a step back and thinking about several things. First, why do you think you need to improve your software? Where does it fall short? Second, what were you hoping to achieve by employing such a system? Third, what can you do moving forward? Answering these questions will lead you to a conclusion that will solidify what you want the system to help you with and, as a result, which features you need to focus on.
Train your employees.
The second strategy that can help you experience all the warehouse management system benefits that you could possibly be missing out on involves expanding the skills and knowledge of your employees. Often, technology becomes useless when the users are unaware of its uses and capabilities. Even if a point on intelligent license plates is included in a list of your software’s features, it means nothing if your employees are lost on what they can do with it and what it is for.
Conduct a survey throughout your entire company. Figure out the knowledge level of your employees when it comes to technology and warehouse management systems. Determine what kind of training they will need and organize for such activities to happen. Through this strategy, you will be able to improve your warehouse management software by letting your employees come up with innovative ways to use it by using the knowledge they gained through training.
Integrate the applications you need.
Beyond evaluating where you and your employees fall short in terms of taking advantage of your system, another strategy that you can implement is to check if everything you need is integrated within the software. There are different types of warehouse management systems in the market. One such variation is a system that boasts API integration. This feature refers to your software’s ability to accept and accommodate the applications that you need to achieve optimal efficiency.
In terms of warehouse management systems, integrations can include the ability to import the inventory you currently have or export the data you have in your software. You can also integrate ERP and e-Commerce solutions that you need to operate your business and your warehouse efficiently and effectively. Check your software’s integration guidelines and talk to your vendor.
Take advantage of the features.
The next strategy you can use to improve your warehouse management software is to take advantage of the features and abilities it boasts. Investing in an enterprise solution that could boost the productivity and performance of your company entails being aware of its abilities.
For warehouse management systems, such features can include mobile implementation, barcoding, and inventory processing, among many others. Often, people forget some of the features that don’t seem to be related to what they are trying to achieve. This is why this strategy involves looking at the features and determining how each one can help improve warehouse management.
If your software is capable of analyzing Big Data, then take advantage of it by integrating the conclusions it offers you with the strategies you use for warehouse management. If your software can be implemented on mobile, then use your phone to keep yourself up-to-date with the issues you may encounter. Find the best way possible to milk the potential of your software.
Let your software learn.
Perhaps one of the reasons why your software is not as usable and contributive as you expected is because you have yet to let it learn. Warehouse management systems are not only reliant on their own design and abilities. The true feature that is emphasized throughout the system is its ability to learn. Beyond automation, machine learning also refers to the knowledge software gains when it is filled with data.
How many tasks are completed within a specific time duration? How much time is spent on a single task? Which part of warehouse management seems inefficient? These are only some of the questions you can ask and rely on business intelligence to answer. Input all the data you can into your software. Let it see long-term trends and conduct analytics to help you gain the conclusions you need to move forward.
Talk to your vendor.
The final strategy you can employ to improve your warehouse management software is to talk to your vendor. Before selecting a system that you think is fit for your company, you should be aware of the support and communication lines that are open between you and your vendor. These lines could be through email, phone, or even chat. Whichever channel you choose, don’t be afraid to contact your vendor.
There are several things that you can talk to your vendor about. For instance, if in the process of integrating applications, you find that some of those you use are incompatible with your software, try to reach a compromise with its creators about the possibility of adding support for it. If you’re experiencing unexpected challenges in terms of your software’s usability, seek their support and discuss what can be done to avoid such situations. For every conversation that you hold with the creators of your software, you’re not only improving your experience with it but providing an opportunity for your vendors to design it better.
Productivity is a Two-Way Street
As you can see through the strategies presented above, investing in software is only half of the process. In the same way that the system is giving you everything it possibly could, there’s also the expectation that you will fulfill the end of your deal by ensuring that it is being used in the best way possible. However, it is important to note that if these strategies aren’t working for you, then maybe you can turn to systems that target specific parts of the process, such as your inventory.