Pallet Racks and Your WMS
Here at DAK Equipment and Engineering, we provide pallet racking, cabinets, and industrial conveyor systems to a wide variety of companies. Some of our customers are dealing with the occasional shipment of large, expensive items, while others are sending out hundreds of smaller orders per day. Either way, they need industrial pallet racks on which to keep their inventory. And they need warehouse management software (WMS) to keep everything as efficient as possible.
Using WMS As A Warehouse Solution
Too many people have no idea just how important warehouse management software is. To them, a warehouse is just a place to keep stuff or to ship stuff from. In reality, how efficient a warehouse is can play a huge part in whether a business thrives or dies. Let’s take a look at how proper warehouse management affects customer experience on a daily basis.
Speed Of Shipment
Perhaps the most obvious way in which an efficiently run warehouse can affect customer service is by providing them with fast shipping. If you don’t know where a product is and can’t find it on your pallet racks, you’re not going to be able to ship it off. And if it’s stuck behind other pallets that are full of stuff that never sells, you’re going to be wasting your employees’ time as they move things out of the way to get to it. Any delays are going to cascade, which means that other customers throughout the day are going to have delayed shipments as well.
Accuracy of Inventory
Being out of an item is certainly a problem, because no customer wants to see “backordered” or “out of stock.” When that happens, a customer will almost certainly move on to the next supplier who actually does have what they want in stock. And after they use that new supplier once, they might keep going back to them again and again.
But what if a customer orders something you say you have in stock, but then you can’t find it once you get to the pallet rack it’s supposed to be on? Inventory says that it’s there, but you can’t find it. So what do you do? Do you tell the customer that you don’t have it, or do you spend the next four hours looking for it?
Maybe just as bad is when you tell a potential customer that something is out of stock, only to find it later. Not only have you sent your customer to someone else, but you lost the sale!
How can a WMS help? First of all, it’s going to reduce any errors that occur during traditional pencil and paper inventory management, as well as manually keyed-in inventory management errors. WMS can also be implemented with real-time scanners and RFID or NFC tags, making it even easier to know what’s on your pallet racks and what’s not.
A hundred years ago, customers were happy to stop by a Sears store and order what they needed from the catalog. They’d wait weeks until what they ordered arrived by rail. If it didn’t arrive one week, they’d just have to wait a bit longer. There were no updates.
Over the years updates have become more and more ubiquitous when it comes to order statuses. You might have been able to phone the warehouse to see where a particular package was, and years late you could get online and type in a tracking number.
Today, customers want up-to-the-hour information regarding what state their order is at. Has the order reached the warehouse yet? Is someone on the floor looking for it? Has it been packed? Has it been marked for delivery? Has the shipper actually picked it up yet? Which state is in it? The more information we give customers, the more they seem to want.
There’s no turning back now, so it’s best to get a warehouse management software that shows your customers that you can provide them with the same amount of information as your competitors. All things being equal, customers will go with the competitor of yours who can tell them which mile marker their package is passing right now.
You know what’s in your warehouse pretty well, and have a good idea of what’s going out and what’s coming in. But for most warehouse managers, the only trends they notice are seasonal, holiday-based, or month-based.
As much information as you might have in your head, there’s no way that you’ll be able to notice every trend regarding your inventory. To truly see what’s going on in your warehouse, a WMS can help you identify trends by bringing all of the information together in one place.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: utilizing WMS will significantly reduce the amount of paperwork you have to keep. When you need information, you won’t have to trek back to your modular warehouse office and wade through piles of filing cabinets just to find it. If your WMS is cloud-based, you’re going to be able to pull up that information with just a few keystrokes.
At the same time, using a WMS is going to reduce errors if SKUs are scanned when items go out the door. With less human input, the amount of incorrect information in a system is going to be reduced.
Manage Warehouse Staff
If the night staff has been complaining that they’re short-staffed, you might wonder if it’s true or if they’re just looking to reduce their workload with the addition of more employees. Maybe too many of your daytime workers find that they don’t have enough to do all day. When you use warehouse management software, you’ll be able to take a look at the information that can help you make scheduling decisions. Maybe it is time to bring in more staff at night, and your WMS might be able to give you the information you need to make the decision.
Have A Better-Informed Staff
Your warehouse is always going to run more smoothly if you have a well-informed staff. You can’t have them running around looking for something that’s not there. At the same time, you can’t have them telling everyone that there’s no need to go looking for a particular product, because that product might have arrived earlier in the day.
When you have an up-to-the-minute warehouse management system, you’ll be able to keep the staff informed about what’s in the warehouse and what’s not. (You can also let them know when certain inventory is about to arrive. Screens around the warehouse can let them know the latest arrivals, which is especially important during the rush times of the year.
When considering a warehouse management software, who benefits? Luckily, the right WMS can improve the lives of everyone involved. The only ones to lose out will be your competition who hasn’t upgraded their warehouse software!
The Warehouse Manager
If you’re a warehouse manager, you have a lot on your plate. Bringing it all together with a good warehouse management software can help you manage everything more efficiently. Sure, it might take some time to get everything up and running, but once it does you’ll experience a much more streamlined process for every order. Pallet racks will be well-stocked, items are more likely to be where they’re supposed to be, and yearly inventory will go so much faster.
In short, getting the right WMS can make your life easier. Not only that, but productivity will be up, which is great news for…
Who are you trying to keep happy? The owners of the company better be pretty high up on your list! As a warehouse manager, you’ve always got to show returns on investments and prove that what you’re doing is a vital part of the supply chain. A WMS can help, and can even be a vital part of the success of a company. After all, you’re dealing with the actual product while also keeping customers happy. There’s no better way to do that than to get your warehouse in order and keep your industrial pallet racks well-stocked.
The Warehouse Workers
Keeping the warehouse running efficiently means having a staff that has some agency in their work. Simply put, they want to feel like what they’re doing has some impact on the company. They also don’t want an outdated warehouse tracking system giving them misinformation that affects the way they work. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure they’re well-informed, and that means upgrading to the right WMS.
What can a WMS do for your employees? It can all but eliminate wild goose chases of employees trying to find inventory that’s not there. It can let them know when new inventory arrives so that they can fulfill multi-part order that have sat unfulfilled. In all, it’s just going to ensure that everyone is given the information they need to do their job more efficiently.
Of course, the most important aspect of what we’ve discussed above that the customer is happy. After all, without the customer you don’t have a business.
Making a customer happy, whether it’s by having an item on hand and ready to ship or making sure that they can find out their order’s status at a moment’s notice, will make them happy with this particular order. Even more importantly, you’ll be the first company to think of the next time they need something similar.
WMS Keeps Your Pallet Racks Efficient
When you use a good warehouse management software, you’re not just keeping yourself happy and reducing your workload. You’re also ensuring that your employees are better informed and more productive, and the owners of the company will be happy that you’re shipping things out on time and keeping track of inventory that’s there.
Of course, the primary goal of a well-used WMS is to keep your customers happy. As we’ve detailed above, customers who are able to order easily and get their package in a timely manner are more likely to return and be customers again and again.
If you upgrade your WMS in order to become more efficient, it might also be time to upgrade your pallet racks at the same time. That’s what DAK is all about. We offer the best in new pallet rack systems, including selective pallet racking, wire decks, double deep pallet racks, push back racking, driving in pallet racking, pallet flow racks, carton flow racks, and more. We also carry the best in industrial conveyor systems so that you can move things along more easily, as well as mezzanine levels and modular offices to make your warehouse as efficient as possible. Ready to get your hardware as up-to-date as your software? Click here to find exactly what you’re looking for!