Warehouse efficiency is something that most warehouses are always looking to improve. Luckily, there is software that ensures warehouses improve efficiency, visibility and helps them save costs.
Types of Warehouse Software
Warehouse software assists warehouses in controlling and managing their day-to-day operations. There are four types of warehouse software which include the following:
- Enterprise Resource Planning Software
Enterprise resource planning software (ERP) is designed to manage, collect and store data used in the various departments that your business has. Examples of this data are product planning, manufacturing, inventory management, customer relations, sales, ecommerce, shipping and market. ERP is helpful for any business as it offers financial reporting capabilities, making it easier to invoice, track, and bill.
- Warehouse Controls System
Warehouse controls systems are used to manage all the automated technology used in the warehouse, such as automated storage-retrieval systems, conveyors and sortation.
- Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system assists in the flow of inventory located in the distribution centre or the warehouse, such as receipts of products, replenishment, putaway and shipping. A warehouse management system also manages labour management, transportation management, and supply chain management tasks.
- Warehouse Execution System
A warehouse execution system is responsible for orchestrating operations through balancing resources so that the warehouse enhances its performance. The resources that a warehouse execution system can optimize include equipment and labour.
Warehouse Software Benefits
Warehouse software assists in offering accurate visibility of real-time inventory levels. Having correct levels of inventory ensures that warehouses estimate supply and prevent backorders from occurring. Gaining inventory visibility also ensures that warehouses can quickly locate merchandise which assists in reducing situations where stock is lost, misplaced or forgotten.
Warehouse software assists in labour forecasting, where the system will assign and design task schedules on a day-to-day basis. The software also ensures that when assigning tasks to workers, it considers the worker’s skill level and the equipment required for the work and the worker’s proximity with the available warehouse tasks, which ensures that duties are assigned to the right worker and at the right time.
Warehouse software allows other automation technologies to be leveraged within the warehouse. There are mobile devices that are used to automate internal work assignments and support the transition from paper to electronic work and activity recordings. Automation allows processes to be simplified, which includes scaling and the accuracy of information. The use of automation also ensures that there is constant improvement in warehouse operations due to improved strategies.
How Warehouse Software Increases Efficiency and Visibility
Warehouse software includes inventory tracking, and the tools that can be expected include automated cycle counts and continuous updates that are generated from real-time picking information. This picking information can be helpful to warehouses as it assists in avoiding inventory shortages and having the ability to pause or cancel orders. Better inventory management ensures that warehouse workers have better information regarding inventory which helps restock as the software looks at supply level compared to the current orders. This information is generated from historical data.
Secondly, warehouse software assists in increasing warehouse efficiency as it looks at the layout of the warehouse floor and the designing tools, which assists in finding the best method that will be used to organize the warehouse best. The software can determine the best organizing method for the warehouse as it analyses data to see which areas in the warehouse individuals and teams go to the most and then identifies bottlenecks. Understanding the floor layout ensures that products are stored in locations that are easily accessible and that there is better space allocation which is essential for inventory management.
Having an understanding of the warehouse’s floor layout is also crucial for organizing workflow. The software looks at trends in the warehouse as it looks at how workers pick and the usually busy areas. This information can then be used to eliminate traffic and the time workers spend walking around the warehouse for picking processes.
Another component that warehouse software assists with is reducing tasks that require paperwork, and it allows workers to focus on managing products instead of dealing with manual data entry. Warehouse software offers voice picking as well as handheld scanners which ensures that the warehouse uses less paper. Warehouse software also enables electronic signature, which is helpful as no paper is required to gain approval or confirmation of orders.
One of the ways that warehouse software improves software visibility is it makes receiving and sharing information with customers, partners and vendors easier. Gaining partner visibility makes it easier to manage and standardize data which ensures that information sharing is simplified while also allowing partners to add information when they want to. Having partner visibility is also essential as it ensures that transparency occurs in real-time through information sharing and controlling the data exchange process. The software ensures that information is sent quicker, which can be beneficial when there needs to be quick decision making, such as when shipments need to be cleared or if any interruptions occur during the delivery process.