Ecommerce warehouse management is not for the faint of heart.
There's a lot going on here.
A list of incoming and outgoing orders...then you also have to look after returns and exchanges.
Did I mention shipping labels and packaging supplies will be your responsibility too? There is so much going on… ?
The trouble is customers expect a lot from online businesses. And why wouldn't they?
Thanks to ecommerce behemoths like Amazon, even the smallest online setups now have to think about fast deliveries.
After setting up your business, the first thing you should consider is to work on your supply chain.
If you're confident because you hold a degree in supply chain or project management, then sorry to burst your bubble, that's not going to help much.
After all, practically doing things is far different from reading those bookish theories written in your course books.
So, what is the solution?
Automation is your answer. Here, I am talking about a warehouse inventory management system that many retailers use to streamline their supply chain.
Sounds too technical, right?
But don't worry. This easy-peasy warehouse inventory management guide has everything to help you manage your inventory like a pro. ?
Here's a quick breakdown of what I plan to cover in today's post:
- A brief intro of the warehouse management system
- How warehouse management apps can help you move inventory faster (and how it works)
- Types of warehouse management systems
- Best warehouse management apps for 2021
- Streamlining inventory management with Debutify
Whoa! This is one big list. Fret not. I'll try to explain everything simply. Just stick around and read till the end so that you don't miss anything important.
What Is A Warehouse Management System?
A warehouse management system is a program (software) that performs everyday warehousing tasks. That includes many things, including:
- Managing inventory and equipment
- Tracking shipping volume
- Keeping inventory secure
- Maintaining a record of inbound and outbound deliveries
- Support for different shipping methods
- Advanced reporting and more
So, what exactly a warehouse management system does that a traditional WMS can't?
How Warehouse Management Apps Can Help You Move Inventory Faster (And How It Works)
First, you need to keep track of the inventory.
It is the trickiest part of the entire retail setup.
To explain this,
1. Real-Time Inventory Tracking
Now, you have to remember,
Stocking too much inventory could result in products reaching their expiry date. Similarly, too little stock may result in a stock shortage. You don't want that.
Warehouse management apps can tell you the exact amount of inventory you have.
Because you can scan barcodes of the most recent inventory, there is no risk of shrinkage as well.
Not only this but the warehouse management system also supports advanced order analytics.
Now, that is one amazing feature that allows you to:
- track your current inventory level
- track your undelivered orders
- track cart values
- track shipping costs and many other things
Another benefit of using an automated WMS is...
2. Fast Shipping
What is your standard delivery time?
How could you even imagine growing your business with such delivery times when others are offering same-day shipping?
For over 97% of customers, fast shipping means same-day delivery.
What an automated WMS does is determine delivery times with accuracy. This helps customers manage their expectations.
They will get to know in advance when exactly they will receive their parcels on their doorsteps.
That means even if you're using a 2-day delivery model, you won't disappoint your buyers.
What else? Let’s find out...
3. Helps You Keep Your Orders Updated
The best thing about warehouse management apps is that they integrate with your platform. This enables you to manage and organize your stock smartly.
Because everything is so streamlined, there is no chance of a customer placing an order for an out-of-stock product.
You can also reduce your labor costs using an automated WMS. Here’s how...
4. Reduced Labor Costs
Let's perform a quick experiment...
I need you to type 'ecommerce warehouse management systems price' in the Google search bar.
What did you get?
You can see, WMS is expensive.
But here's the catch...
The price makes up for it with its productivity gains. Also, an automated WMS means your staff can invest their time in some other important stuff.
So yes, it will also save you a lot in terms of labor costs.
You can also keep your customers happy using a warehouse management system...
5. Streamlined Returns (The Biggest One!)
The most undesired part of running an online shop...
But as much as you hate returns, they're still part of your business (and happen often).
The warehouse management system allows you to handle returns promptly and efficiently.
Happy customers (Do I even need to tell you why you need more happy buyers onboard?)
I tried to give you enough reasons to invest your hard-earned money in WMS. What's next?
Time to do some research. Let's start with the types first…
Types Of Warehouse Management Systems (How they Work)
The most commonly used WMS types are:
1. Standalone System
Standalone systems come with just warehouse management features. If you're a startup not looking for something extensive, this is the best option.
You can manage both warehouse operations and inventory using standalone WMS.
Here are a few things you can manage using a standalone system:
- Picking and packing
- Barcode scanning
- Cycle counts
- Inventory management
Standalone systems are good if your needs are limited. But you may want to consider a robust system if you see yourself growing. How about an ERP module?
2. ERP Module
You can also consider an ERP module if you want to improve your supply chain operations.
What is an ERP module?
It's basically software that helps owners manage their resources effectively. Here, I am talking about HR, marketing and finance, and CRM.
The ERP module is pricey. But it's the best investment you can make for your business today. In fact, it will cut your other costs in half because you can replace all of your existing systems with this beast.
You can also try...
3. Cloud-Based Systems
For fast and seamless integration, there is no option as appropriate as cloud-based systems.
With such systems, you can enjoy better security, that too without breaking your bank.
Not only this, but it will also help you save a lot on your IT maintenance.
Cloud-based WMS are:
What more could one ask for?
We’ve saved the best for last...
4. Supply Chain Module
The best of all.
SCM includes everything the standalone or integrated systems have in store.
There are warehouse management features. Plus, you can also benefit from various aspects of the supply chain.
They're expensive. Also, you'll have to keep maintenance and the cost of installation in mind.
Invest in this one if you're all set to scale your business soon. No need to throw lots of cash if you're in your start-up phase, though.
We have already covered most of our list. It's time to have a quick look at some of the top warehouse management apps you can try for your business.
Best Warehouse Management Apps For 2021
1. 3PL Warehouse Manager
3PL is a cloud-based system that comes with a modern interface and a range of smart workflow features.
John Watkins and Nancy Rohman introduced it when they were running their own warehouse.
That means what you'll get with a package is all designed by the pros.
Here's what you get when you choose 3PL for your business:
- Mobile barcode scanning
- Advanced billing
- Scanning/packing/verification of shipments
- Inventory management
- Centralized management
The only downside is you have to get some training before you start using this software. Also, their billing section is quite complicated.
Another amazing WMS you can try is…
ShipBob seamlessly integrates with Shopify. Thanks to its easy integration, this software works with a wide variety of tools. For example, you can use it with your email marketing and SMM tools.
Here's what ShipBob has in store for its users...
- Inventory management and demand forecasting
- Order handling
- Integrates with the leading returns and order tracking platforms
- Countless freight and shipping solutions
- Ecommerce marketing, CRM, and customer support
- Tax and financing
We’re down to our last option now...
3. NetSuite WMS
You can also give NetSuite a try for your basic inventory and warehouse management needs.
While it enables you to do sorting, receiving, and several other tasks, it is not an effective ERP.
If you're looking for an all-inclusive type of product, I'd suggest picking from the two I discussed above.
NetSuite is for the startups that are working with WMS for the first time.
Here are some of the many features NetSuite offers to its customers:
- Receiving, picking, and cycle count
- Task management
- Effective returns handling
- Mobile barcode scanning
- Basic inventory management functions
- Several third-party plugins
Now go out and do it...
Streamline Your Inventory Management With Debutify... Today!
Starting a new business is exciting. But in all the excitement of running it, inventory management and warehousing can be overlooked.
Now, the trouble is, things can quickly go awry if you don't have a proper WMS in place.
Ever wonder what can happen if you don't have an automated WMS to handle everything for you?
✅ Inventory can be misplaced
✅ You may ship the wrong products to your customers
✅ Run out of space to store inventory
✅ Your business may fail to keep up with the demand (stock-outs)
All of these situations can ruin your repo. Why suffer when you can invest in warehouse management software for your business?
Just as important it is for you to track inventory, your buyers may also have questions regarding that.
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