It’s a tough environment for today’s retailers in the Omni-Channel world.
Customers demand personalised service, flexibility, and choice, no matter how they shop. They want to order products whenever they want, however they want, be it online, in-store, or by phone etc and have it delivered wherever they want. With these shifts in demands in the omni-channel marketplace, retailers are having to quickly adapt their approach to warehouse operations.
Even companies with a great deal of experience in retail and wholesale channels often underestimate how different and difficult it is to efficiently fulfil customer demand from any location and any channel. Many new processes need to be developed that are not typical in retail and wholesale operations. And it’s likely that systems designed for those distribution channels will need a transformation as well. Moving to omni-channel fulfilment requires more robust, integrated systems to support new levels of precision, speed and complexity.
Warehouse management systems (WMS) have been part of the smooth and efficient operation of warehousing and distribution environments for quite a while now. However, the rapidly emerging omni-channel marketplace has impacted warehousing operations in such a way, that there is now a need for systems with increased capabilities and flexibility that are adaptable, configurable, and scalable – that many previous generations of WMSs are not equipped to handle.
Can you afford not be part of what the latest generation of WMS solutions offer?
Speed is key
The consumer is now firmly in charge of the shopping process from retail back through suppliers all the way to manufacturers. With Amazon setting their expectations for next day, or even same-day deliveries, the speed of business has ramped up to a fever pitch, and distribution operations must respond. Distribution centres (DCs) that were used to shipping truckloads, pallets and cases of products on a regular cadence are now picking, packing and shipping individual items and orders with demands that are constantly changing and more difficult to predict. Warehouse management systems must be able to seamlessly and dynamically adapt to the mix of traditional and omni-channel fulfilment at the new speed of business.
The right technology is essential
Technology investment is paramount for offering a reliable and positive customer experience across your channels. While putting together a patchwork of systems and processes may seem like a faster and more inexpensive path, it’s not sustainable and there’s simply too much at stake. This volatile era requires a flexible breed of WMS technology that meets today’s needs while remaining nimble for future market demands.
Among the new technologies that are enabling DCs to adapt to the increased speed of operations are unit sortation systems, unit load picking capabilities, goods-to-man robotics, high-speed pick-to-light / put-wall operations, and mobility capabilities that keep workers and supervisors constantly engaged with WMS directions and interactions while on the shop floor.
Advances in platform and integration technology are also important in driving speed and efficiency through integration with transportation and labour management systems, as well as with distributed order management and dynamic order sourcing systems to inform warehousing decisions with cost and capacity inputs to ensure profitable, executable sourcing decisions are made. Gone are the days when a DC or a WMS could operate in a silo. Omni-channel operations require all supply chain functions and systems to work in concert to deliver seamless shopping and fulfilment experiences to customers.
Cloud WMS means scary upgrades are a thing of the past.
The advent of cloud-based applications is also changing the distribution landscape. Systems can be implemented more quickly, with less up front cost, and can be continuously updated with the latest capabilities to improve usefulness, system life, and return on investment. This results in a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and also frees up highly-skilled IT resources for core business projects.
Who will fulfil these changes?
Whilst a WMS can solve numerous problems, it’s always true that your people are your biggest asset. If they are working without a user-centric WMS, they are probably working under all kinds of unnecessary stress.
The speed and complexity of omni-channel fulfilment, together with the new technologies involved, have created a need for a higher-skilled workforce. Fortunately, the new generation workforce have been raised in a digital world and are more skilled in new technologies than previous generations, bringing in a new set of skills.
To attract and retain these more skilled workers requires upgrading to WMS technology that more closely follows the intuitive user experiences these younger workers use every day on their smartphones and tablets. Systems must be more intelligent to take the complexity out of routine functions, leveraging intuitive dashboards and mobile apps to empower today’s workers with just the information they need, when they need it, and in the visual format they prefer.
With the right WMS, you and your team will start living in a world where there are virtually no customer complaints to deal with and stress is minimised. This will help your team to focus on improving the rest of the business and they will become more productive and a lot happier.
Keeping up with today’s omni-channel requirements and selecting the right WMS solution for your needs is critical.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.