In distribution and manufacturing, the warehouse management system is a crucial component to efficient operations. A properly configured solution can be fast in delivering stock from the shop floor to the warehouse, and then orders from there to a customer's hands. There are many steps that are often being considered when checking inventories, completing fulfillment and maintaining a tight schedule for deliveries. With the advent of mobile WMS, smartphones add a degree of sophistication to the matter by providing information and scanning items more efficiently. However, what can be done to make distribution more efficient, making the ERP reach its full potential?
New ways of warehousing
Companies shouldn't rely heavily on the ERP software alone to get to maximum level of efficiency with fulfillment and inventory. The software can only be effective in conjunction with a matching strategy in the warehouse itself. Tom Miller advises in an article for ERP Focus that manufacturers and distributors should run a tight ship as much as possible.
For example, companies should look at their warehouse floor layout. Is it fully optimized? Are the products that are selling the most receiving the quickest turnaround times? What inventory of parts is most important, and are they the most accessible to reach? How about the distance from products to the docking bay? All these questions need answers, because a faster and more efficiently routed order gets out the door quickly, increasing customer satisfaction while reducing cost.
In addition to this, companies should review transaction records and adjust the cost of shipping per customer. If there's a hard client that makes orders late in the day and demands to receive its goods the next day, it should be charged more. The same goes with any customer whose purchase is complex enough that employees have to go all over the place to grab everything. Conversely, people or businesses that order one product or a single batch should be charged less if it's convenient.
Another important way that distribution ERP can do better is through continued testing, even after implementation. Tom Miller notes in another article that certain features of the software should be tested regularly for possible situations during the work day. For example, transaction volumes should be simulated to at least five times the average rate to examine if the apps can handle a spike in demand. Inventory management is also critical, so seeing if orders are created, paid for and processed smoothly is something that should be examined.
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