A warehouse has to be managed efficiently for predictable order fulfillment. Everything from the availability of sold products to shipping the goods without any error depends on the warehouse management system. The traditional approaches to warehouse management have changed with time, mostly in the face of the changing dynamics of the marketplace. Most warehouses are likely to process individual orders now with eCommerce necessitating more personalised backend operations. Earlier, warehouses would be primarily dealt with bulk orders. There were shipment issues earlier too but they could have been better managed as there were fewer addresses and fewer batch or bulk of consignments. The demanding ecommerce phenomenon has put a lot of pressure on warehouse management and the challenges must be resolved to ensure seamless supply chain management.
• It is conventional wisdom that storing smaller packets or lining up units of the products is an inefficient practice. Storing goods or a particular type of product in bulk makes more sense, both in terms of available real estate and how the staff can process orders before shipping the consignments. The demand of the day is to have more segregated units as orders don’t roll in for bulk quantities. Smaller dispatches are the norm and they are unlikely to change in the near future. A warehouse management system must take this into account and accordingly offer the best way to store the goods without taking too much space or making it harder for the staff to work on accurate processing and shipment.
• Most warehouse managers like lean inventories. It is more manageable, orders of smaller quantities are easier to attend and it facilitates accuracy. However, the present scenario of supply chain management for most companies put substantial stress on order fulfillment from warehouses. This doesn’t allow a warehouse to have lean inventory. It must have enough quantities of all the products that are currently on sale. Even if there are segregated fulfillment stores, one would turn to the warehouse for any item out of stock at a retail outlet. Here again, the warehouse management system should consider the impossibility of a lean inventory and should make way for an almost packed space.
• The warehouse management system itself needs to be in sync with these changing times. ERP systems with a reliable WMS module can work really well, provided they are developed specifically for the nature of the operations. Many facets of traditional enterprise resource planning don’t apply anymore or are simply not relevant enough. Any software is not necessarily state of the art if the focal points or priorities are misplaced.