Choosing the Right WMS for Successful E-Commerce Fulfillment
As the demand for online goods continues to rise and supply chains are pushed to their limits, the importance of having an efficient and profitable warehouse operation also increases. Without intelligent fulfillment technology, warehouses will find it increasingly difficult to keep up with order demand while maintaining customer satisfaction. In short, a warehouse dependent on manual tools or antiquated software is going to find it nearly impossible to succeed.
Warehouse management systems (WMS) offer e-commerce businesses with the ability to run and monitor warehouse operations by providing real-time access to inventory levels, shipment, returns data, billing information and more. In today’s competitive landscape, high customer expectations and razor-thin profit margins require systems that help run an efficient digital fulfillment network. The good news is that today’s leading WMS solutions can optimize all warehouse processes.
Cloud-Based Automation and Scale: Critical Components of a WMS
The lifeblood of all warehouse operations is inventory. It’s crucial to know exact inventory levels and where it is throughout all of your inbound and outbound processes.
A WMS provides visibility into all aspects of inventory — everything from receipt to storage, packing, shipping and returns. Look for a solution that has advanced automation that allows users to speed up fulfillment operations with functionalities such as automated workflows and smart picking processes to hasten and improve order accuracy. Other examples of automation include floor simulators which allow users to change floor plans and easily move shelves, pallets and other equipment within the system to maximize picking efficiencies.
Managing high-volume warehouse operations is hard enough without having to install and maintain an on-premise WMS. To keep up with the pace e-commerce demands, a cloud-based WMS is the best option. Legacy systems simply aren’t agile enough to keep up with today’s digital supply chain.
Cloud architecture is designed for scale and can support unlimited users, warehouses, products and orders. Therefore, a cloud-based WMS can allow users to make adjustments quickly based on a company’s growth and adapt to meet future requirements. A scalable WMS brings new clients and fulfillment centers online quickly and easily, making it the perfect solution for the continued growth of e-commerce.
Other Must-Have Functionality for WMS Software
The digital supply chain process is complex, so knowing what other software features you can leverage to run an efficient and profitable e-commerce operation is imperative.
Here’s some must-have functionality for a WMS that will help promote growth, efficiency and profitability:
- Fast Implementation: Unlike legacy WMS solutions that require months of on-site implementation, a cloud-based WMS is designed to be up and running quickly and shortens employee training time and reduces the time required to add new customers, warehouses, products and orders.
- Secure Warehousing: Cyber attacks are becoming more common in e-commerce so it’s critical to select a WMS provider that can protect your data. On-premise systems require a dedicated staff to ensure they're running properly. Not only do cloud-based WMS provide visibility across your supply chain operations, it can be done without adding additional headcount.
- Customer Support: Choose a partner that assigns a dedicated point of contact. With this support model, you'll quickly receive answers to questions or resolve issues that may arise from someone who knows your operations and your history.
- Analytics and Reports: Analytics play a key role in running an optimal e-commerce operation. Look for a WMS that offers a range of built-in performance analytics and reporting to provide the data and visibility needed to make adjustments and make the most informed decisions at all times.
- Seamless Integrations: The digital supply chain is a complex ecosystem and it’s critical to deploy a WMS that integrates with other technology systems such as ERPs and CRMs to synchronize processes and generate a more efficient fulfillment operation.
Ultimately, the best WMS will be the one that scales to meet your current and future needs, providing flexibility to adapt and support constantly evolving e-commerce operations while quickly bringing on new warehouses, new clients and fulfilling an ever-growing portfolio of products.
Deploying the right WMS for your business provides visibility that can take your warehouse operations to a higher level of efficiency, speed and order accuracy. This will ultimately help improve your company’s competitiveness and customer service while keeping operating costs in check.
Erhan Musaoglu is the founder and CEO of Logiwa Inc., a fully integrated WMS software and order fulfillment system.
Related story: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing an Order Management System
Erhan Musaoglu started his career as an ERP consultant with Avalon. In 1997, he moved to the consulting ﬁrm IFS Turkey, where he eventually moved into a Chief Operating Oﬃcer role in 2002. At IFS, Erhan managed software implementations and developments in Finance, Accounting, Manufacturing, and Distribution systems in both Europe and Africa. In 2004, Erhan founded LA Software, originally created as a reseller and implementer of systems like RedPrairie, Mantis, Descartes, and Syncron. In 2012, the ﬁrst version of Logiwa (known then as LA WMS) was created as an on-premise software solution. Seeing the opportunity for further growth, Erhan moved to the US in 2017, and founded Logiwa Technology Inc. as a cloud-based WMS solution.