A warehouse is the backbone of a retail company’s operations. While the storefront (offline or online) is the endpoint of a business, the warehouse and its corresponding logistics and supply chain is where the magic happens. Warehouse holds the key to your entire operation (from storage to transporting of products) ensuring that the supply chain is complete.
To that end, a warehouse management software helps companies in streamlining their depot’s operations and in automating redundant tasks. You absolutely need to get a warehouse software for managing your company’s logistics and supply chain process.
If you are planning to buy a warehouse management software, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Understand Your Inventory Challenges
Each warehouse is like a snowflake- similar on the outside with some distinguishable feature on the inside. For your warehouse, you ought to know the inventory challenges that your workers face and consequentially, look for a software that addresses these problems. For example, if your warehouse has issues with effective space usage, you need to look for a solution that can help you with floor-planning & creating storage blueprints. Information like this will make it simpler for you to identify solutions that can solve your inventory challenges.
What’s Your Integration & Scalability Requirement?
If your company runs accounting, billing, CRM or ERP solutions, any warehouse management software should be able to integrate with them to ensure uninterrupted workflow. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to manually enter data from one software to another, wasting precious time and resources. Choose a system that can be easily integrated to improve visibility & efficiency.
As for scalability, you might currently be a brick & mortar store but going forward, you are likely to expand into eCommerce retail. So, you need a solution that can support eCommerce operations and customer fulfilment. Likewise, you might be aspiring to expand outlets and open more stores in your city or even country. In either case, you’ll need a warehouse management software that can support your business endeavours.
A good warehouse software should be capable of supporting your growing company. A software that you purchase to handle your current inventory should be able to work effectively when your inventory doubles or triples in the future. Pointlessly investing into a warehouse management software that your company quickly outgrows, will strain your resources enormously. You need to invest in a software that helps your company grow.
Fix A Tracking System for Your Products
There are different ways of tracking inventory- Barcodes, RFID tags, unique IDing, etc. It is imperative for you to define a tracking mechanism before buying a warehouse management software, because a lot of warehouse management systems (especially those catering to small & medium level enterprises) can’t support multiple tracking.
That’s why you should decide on the kind of tracking mechanism you’ll use to locate and organise your stock. If you decide first, it’ll save you unnecessary pain later when your system has a problem accommodating your tracking needs.
Depending upon your choice of tracking system, you may have to purchase hardware and scanners to support the warehouse software. Further, ensure that the scanners you choose are suitable to use with your warehouse management system. If you pick scanners after purchasing a warehouse management system, compatibility might be an issue. Decisions like these are crucial to be made before committing to a warehouse software.
What Technical Support is Offered by Vendors
There are three crucial questions you need to clarify from a vendor, before you choose the warehouse software they offer.
- Is the technical support in place is a voice-automation system, a ticketed/e-mail response system or is it a call-based system with a trained support team?
- If it’s a call-based system, will you be assigned a single expert who’ll address your queries every time?
- Is support offered during selective hours or is it a 24×7 service?
If the vendor assigns a specific technician, you can rest assured that your queries are handled by one person. However, if different technicians are assigned each time, ensure that they have a documentation process to track previous conversations and issues. In case of recurring problems, this would be an important factor to consider.
A warehouse management software is a significant investment for a company. To ensure that you buy a solution best suited to your warehouse and storage requirements, precede with the tips we’ve mentioned above.
If you’ve done your research already, how about checking out some awesome-sauce warehouse management software now?