Warehouse operations are comprised of numerous processes, including receiving, put away, storage, picking, packing, and shipping. If your organization is heavily reliant on products and filed assets, these operations are crucial for delivering excellent customer experiences and fulfilling your obligations to the customer every time they invest their dollars into your products. The best way to nullify the costly ramifications of poorly managed warehouses is to seek help from warehouse management solution providers. After all, the way you operate your warehouses can have a widespread effect across your entire organization.
Maintaining a tight grip on warehouse operations is the only way to keep pace with competitors that have already revamped their business processes and invested in the latest warehouse management solutions. These businesses are leading by example, integrating everything from e-commerce to curbside pickup to facilitate uninterrupted customer access to the products that generate revenue for your business. Are you ready to take your warehouses to the next level of operational efficiency? Consider these points when vetting warehouse management solution providers.
Integration With Warehouse Management Software (WMS)
The first thing to consider when browsing warehouse management solution providers is whether or not their solution can integrate with your Warehouse Management Software (WMS) to provide a safe and seamless connection between your core technologies and the solution that will help you get the most out of them. Whether you rely on NetSuite WMS, JDA Warehouse Management, Infor Warehouse Management, Aptean Catalyst WMS, or another WMS, the first thing you should do when approaching a solution provider is detail your core technologies and warehouse infrastructure so they can gauge whether the scope of your project aligns with the capabilities of their solution.
For SMEs, large enterprises, and companies that employ complex warehouse networks, an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution that integrates with your WMS will provide the full breadth of features and integrations required to streamline warehouse operations across multiple locations.
ECM for the Warehouse
What does ECM for the warehouse look like? Imagine a warehouse where all receiving, packing, and shipping documentation has been digitized for instant recall from a centralized digital repository; one where documentation can be accessed, reviewed, and processed from any computer or mobile device. By improving content management throughout all your warehouses, your organization can reduce costs and errors while reaching unheralded perfect order rates that help you outshine your competitors. However, that is only half of ECM for the warehouse. ECM is a robust solution intended to help organizations get the most out every department; from Accounts Payable to Finance to Legal and Human Resources and beyond. This means your ECM solution is capable of solving a diverse set of enterprise problems. It can call upon an unprecedented set of tools and technologies to provide the fastest, safest, and most cost-effective warehouse management solutions. ECM’s content management capabilities are effective for insulating warehouses against erroneous orders and more, but it truly shines when automation is factored into the equation, too.
Point Solutions for the Warehouse
As opposed to ECM for the warehouse, which can enhance performance across all warehouse operations, some companies choose to address one aspect of warehouse operations at a time. For example, they might invest in a solution that only assists with the receiving or shipping of products to and from the warehouse. The merits of this approach are largely focused on cost; however, these “point solutions” are less focused on integration and cohesion – and more focused on doing one thing right. Therefore, other deficiencies in your warehouse operations will likely require the assistance of an additional vendor. This can be a cause for concern because most point solutions do not integrate with one another without custom coding, which quickly drives up the cost of your project, especially for projects requiring a multi-ERP integration.
Warehouse Management Challenges
After deciding between point solutions and ECM and forming a list of potential warehouse management solution providers, it is time to consult your warehouse managers to discuss the everyday challenges they face. These discussions should be thorough and cover every stage of your warehouse operations. Once these discussions have taken place, you can take your key findings to the warehouse management solution providers on your shortlist to see if they can meet your project requirements. Some common warehouse-related challenges include:
- Employee Management
- Inventory Management
- Picking Optimization
- Warehouse Intelligence
- Paper Volume
- Labor Shortages
- Blanket Pricing
ECM addresses these challenges by improving visibility, control, and access to information in your warehouses. Operating as an extension of your legacy systems, ECM acts a single platform for accessing and processing all warehouse-related documentation. As a result, every worker in your warehouse is equipped with the knowledge to perform their duties more efficiently. Everything from pick sheets to cycle counts and capacity constraints are factored into your workflows, which can then be optimized, standardized, and automated with your ECM solution monitoring them for relevant documentation as it enters your system. In other words, it increases visibility to help reduce lead time, balance fulfillment rates, manage backorders, improve service levels, and boost customer loyalty for sustained growth.
Overcoming Warehouse Challenges With Your Warehouse Management Solution Provider
For most companies, warehouse management is not viewed as a strength. Unless your company is Amazon, which employs process, robotic, and industrial automation to support nearly autonomous warehouses, there is a strong possibility that your warehouses have untapped potential. Whether that means reducing your warehouses’ financial impact on your company or elevating warehouse performance to satisfy customers, ECM for the warehouse is the only all-in-one solution for not only addressing all warehouse-related deficiencies but also process inefficiencies across the enterprise.
Are you interested in learning more about how your organization can leverage ECM to boost visibility and efficiency in your warehouse operations? Contact IntelliChief today to learn more about our award-winning approach to Enterprise Content Management.