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Softeon Increases Revenue by 20% for Cycle Logistics with WMS Implementation

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Softeon Increases Revenue by 20% for Cycle Logistics with WMS Implementation

Cycle Logistics, a leading third-party logistics (3PL) provider, witnessed a remarkable 20% increase in revenue following the implementation of Softeon’s Warehouse Management System (WMS). Specializing in B2B distribution, fulfillment, and bundling services, Cycle Logistics sought Softeon’s expertise to cater to a significant new client, propelling their operations to new heights.

With Softeon’s WMS, Cycle Logistics achieved seamless item-level tracking throughout their entire handling process, a critical necessity for servicing their massive global client in the realm of internet search and technology solutions. Prior to this partnership, Cycle Logistics grappled with manual processes, leading to inefficiencies and errors. However, Softeon’s robust system transformed their operations, replacing labor-intensive tasks with structured, dependable, and automated processes.

Danny Mudd, Owner and President of Cycle Logistics, expressed gratitude for Softeon’s understanding of their internal limitations and the partnership’s role in enhancing their processes. Mudd highlighted Softeon as a true partner, enabling Cycle Logistics to deliver top-notch service to their customers consistently. Softeon’s dedication has not only streamlined Cycle Logistics’ operations but also positioned them for future growth.

In the wake of the pandemic, while many companies struggled with inventory overstock, Cycle Logistics, equipped with Softeon’s WMS, offered a tailored solution to manage inventory efficiently for their global client. Mudd emphasized that such opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without Softeon’s support, underlining the pivotal role of the partnership in Cycle Logistics’ success.

Looking ahead, Cycle Logistics plans to expand the implementation of Softeon’s WMS across additional warehouses, confident in the system’s ability to meet evolving client demands and facilitate continued growth. Jim Hoefflin, CEO of Softeon, underscored the company’s commitment to customer-centric solutions, emphasizing their dedication to empowering businesses like Cycle Logistics in scaling and adapting to complex industry landscapes.

In conclusion, Softeon’s transformative WMS has revolutionized Cycle Logistics’ operations, driving significant revenue growth and positioning them as a formidable player in the competitive logistics industry.

warehouse

Innovating Warehouse Efficiency: Gather AI Introduces Drone-Powered Inventory Solutions

Gather AI, renowned for its computer vision-based AI solutions for warehouse inventory monitoring, unveils two groundbreaking capabilities: inferred case counting and location occupancy. These pioneering features empower warehouses with automated, digitized inventory counts and precise space utilization insights, promising improved shipment efficiency and reduced labor costs associated with manual counting.

Ensuring accurate inventory levels is paramount for warehouse operators to meet shipping deadlines and optimize storage space. However, manual counting methods are not only labor-intensive but also prone to inaccuracies, exacerbating logistical challenges. According to the Warehousing Education & Research Council (WERC) 2023 DC Measures Annual Survey & Report, the average warehouse achieves shipping deadlines only 96% of the time, with a cube utilization of 81%.

Gather AI’s solution revolutionizes this process, enabling warehouses to scan up to 900 pallets per hour using drones equipped with advanced computer vision technology. By capturing images of each location, the AI swiftly analyzes multiple barcodes and text, identifying empty spaces and providing inferred case counts for both full and partial pallets. This real-time data, accessible through the customer web dashboard, streamlines inventory management and facilitates space optimization, mitigating the need for manual cycle counting and minimizing the risk of missed shipments.

AJ Raaker, Director Of Warehouse Development at Taylor Logistics Inc., attests to the efficiency gains achieved with Gather AI’s solution, stating that inferred case counting is 87% more efficient than traditional physical cycle counting methods. This efficiency boost enables teams to focus on revenue-generating activities while ensuring inventory accuracy.

The newly introduced capabilities further enhance operational efficiency:

– Inferred Case Count: Warehouse operators can reduce manual counting time by 90% by leveraging computer vision and AI to estimate case counts on pallets. Pallets with low case counts are flagged for replenishment, preventing stockouts and missed shipments. Labor can be prioritized by focusing on pallets deviating from the WMS expectations.

– Location Occupancy: Warehouse operators gain insights into space utilization, identifying opportunities for pallet consolidation and maximizing fixed expense efficiency. Computer vision technology measures available space on pallets, pinpointing consolidation opportunities to optimize storage.

Sankalp Arora, Ph.D., CEO, and Co-Founder of Gather AI, underscores the company’s commitment to delivering real-time inventory insights to warehouse operators. By harnessing computer vision and AI capabilities, Gather AI aims to alleviate labor-intensive tasks and provide unparalleled inventory visibility, empowering warehouses to operate more efficiently and effectively.

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Unleashing the Power of WMS for 3PLs: A Gateway to Competitive Advantage

In the fiercely competitive world of third-party logistics (3PL), success hinges on the ability to swiftly onboard new customers, optimize operations, and drive revenue growth. With the market constantly evolving, 3PL providers are increasingly turning to advanced technological solutions to gain a competitive edge. Among these solutions, Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) emerge as a cornerstone in empowering 3PLs to excel in today’s fast-paced environment while strategically positioning themselves for future success. 

For 3PLs, the journey begins with their sales teams actively pursuing new customers to fuel revenue growth. However, the real challenge lies in efficiently onboarding these customers and seamlessly integrating them into the logistics ecosystem. A robust WMS serves as a linchpin in this process, enabling 3PLs to optimize their operational model and rapidly onboard new clients in as little as 30 days. By providing setup wizards and copy/paste capabilities, a 3PL-focused WMS simplifies and accelerates the onboarding process, enabling 3PLs to scale their operations more efficiently. In addition, by tactically managing the pick, pack, and ship processes, WMS streamlines product flow both into and out of warehouse facilities, laying the groundwork for further enhanced efficiency and customer satisfaction. By automating and optimizing these critical tasks, WMS helps 3PLs streamline their operations while reducing errors. This leads to increased revenue generation by enabling 3PLs to process orders more quickly and accurately while enhancing operations.

Moreover, the agility and flexibility inherent in modern WMS solutions play a pivotal role in accommodating the diverse needs and process requirements of individual customers with multiple levels of configuration and ability to support multiple individual rule sets and workflows in a single facility. With the ability to adapt to unique capabilities and preferences, WMS empowers 3PLs to deliver tailored solutions that meet the evolving demands of their clients. Whether it’s managing multiple business units within a single facility or catering to customers across various regions, WMS provides the scalability and versatility needed to meet business goals and drive success. 

The transition to a cloud-based WMS architecture brings unparalleled advantages for 3PLs, particularly in terms of scalability and technological agility. In an industry characterized by seasonal peaks and fluctuations in demand, cloud-based WMS solutions offer the flexibility to scale resources dynamically, ensuring optimal performance during peak periods. By offloading concerns about technology infrastructure and scalability, 3PLs can focus on maximizing labor efficiency and delivering exceptional service to their customers.

Advanced features such as flexible billing engines also help 3PLs adapt to evolving customer needs and services, eliminating revenue leakage and maximizing profitability. Experienced 3PLs know it’s important to partner with a WMS provider that has extensive billing knowledge and capabilities. Highly granular, configurable capabilities that capture all billable activities as well as supporting broad contract terms is crucial. 

Furthermore, WMS solutions provide invaluable insights and visibility into warehouse operations, allowing 3PL providers to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve performance. By offering real-time visibility into inventory levels, order statuses, and operational metrics, WMS enables 3PLs to identify inefficiencies, streamline processes, and enhance overall productivity. When combining a Distributed Order Management (DOM) approach to intelligent sourcing, this proactive approach not only drives cost savings but also ensures that 3PL providers can deliver superior service and value to their clients.

The strategic adoption of WMS empowers 3PLs to thrive in an increasingly competitive market landscape. WMS represents more than just a tool for operational optimization – it’s a gateway to competitive advantage for 3PLs. As the logistics landscape continues to evolve, the adoption of advanced WMS solutions will be instrumental in shaping the success and sustainability of 3PL operations, enabling them to stay ahead of the curve by achieving sustainable growth and profitability. 

Author Bio

Jack O’Malley is Vice President of Account Management for Softeon, a WMS provider focused exclusively on optimizing warehouse and fulfillment operations. For over two decades now, we have been helping our customers succeed. Investing in R&D enables us to develop software to solve the most complex warehouse challenges. Softeon is laser-focused on customer results, with a 100% track record of deployment success. We believe warehouse leaders shouldn’t have to settle for a one size fits all approach to technology. For more information, please visit www.Softeon.com.

storage

How Modern Warehouse Management Systems Transform Storage Efficiency

When managing a warehouse for a budding business, space is a valuable resource. However, if warehouse space isn’t optimized and managed well, the storage of products can turn into an expensive and inefficient ordeal.

This has made Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) the go-to choice for businesses that want to revolutionize the supply chain and streamline operations. 

What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a software that can optimize 3PL warehousing operations and facilitate smart decision-making. WMS streamlines and automates processes, creating an efficient goods flow.

By opting for a Warehouse Management System, you can monitor and control warehouse operations in real-time as well. Using a WMS also offers a lower chance of human error and improves last-mile productivity with deliveries and pickups.

8 Ways WMS Can Improve Storage Efficiency

Using a Warehouse Management System can revolutionize warehouse operations and light the way to greater storage efficiency. Here are 8 benefits of using a WMS for your business.

  • Real-Time Inventory Tracking

One of the most popular benefits of Warehouse Management Systems is the function of real-time tracking of inventory. A lack of real time inventory visibility can seriously impede warehouse operations. It’s also an important factor that enables warehouse managers to allocate optimal storage space according to existing stocks. 

WMS makes it possible to receive data on inventory levels, location, and movement of products. This prevents potential overstocking that could lead to crowded warehouses, or the converse due to understocking. 

  • Accurate Demand Forecasting

With real-time inventory visibility, Warehouse Management Systems make it easier to accurately forecast demand for stocks. This can help optimize inventory levels since warehouse managers can ensure that the right amounts of stock are maintained at any given time. 

Being able to predict demand allows better planning of storage space, ensuring that each square inch of warehouses can be optimized and used well.

  • Consolidated Shipping

WMS is a great tool for consolidating orders by optimizing shipping routes. This is a great way to ensure that your warehouse sees a steady flow of fresh inventory since orders are picked up and shipped out at a more rapid pace. 

With quicker goods flow, your inventory won’t stagnate inside the warehouse space and take up valuable storage space for long.

  • Optimized Slotting and Warehouse Layout 

With a Warehouse Management System, you can set up an optimized layout for your warehouse based on automatically estimated product demand and storage requirements. Aligning with this layout can increase space optimization, leading to more streamlined warehouse operations and organized storage.

Most systems also use an algorithm to determine the most viable slotting sequence for your products. This is calculated based on factors such as size, demand, and much more. Through WMS-driven warehouse layouts and dynamic slotting, you can ensure that fast-moving items are easily accessible in storage.

  • Data-driven Insights

One of the key benefits of using a WMS is the ability to improve operations through the data that’s generated. By providing dynamic reporting and in-depth data across various parameters, Warehouse Management Systems make it possible for warehouse managers to identify regularly occurring problems and bottlenecks. 

By tracking trends, and recognizing areas of improvement, warehouse managers can use these data-driven insights to optimize storage.

  • Simplified Cross-Docking

Cross-docking is another great function made possible through Warehouse Management Systems. Automated warehouse cross-decking involves tracking shipments and directly transferring products to the outbound shipping chain without lengthy storage periods. 

This makes it possible for products to directly enter delivery routes and proceed towards order fulfillment without needing to be stored for long periods of time. Cross-docking can save businesses time and greatly reduce storage costs while freeing up valuable warehouse space for other products. 

  • Order Prioritization

Another function of Warehouse Management Systems is to prioritize various warehouse operations based on factors like deadlines and customer demand. This makes it possible for businesses to process high-priority orders quicker and more efficiently. 

By automatically having orders prioritized through a WMS, business owners can deliver a smoother customer experience with minimal effort.

  • Reduced Need for Safety Stock

Warehouse Management Systems are often used with Barcode and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. This makes it possible to accurately keep track of inventory and prevent shipping errors or misplacement of stocks. 

When inventory is less likely to be lost, this considerably reduces the need for maintaining safety stocks in your warehouse, where space is akin to gold. This is a great way to optimize storage and make the most of your warehouse space. 

WMS: The Future of Storage Optimization

Warehouse Management Systems are making it possible to optimize and streamline storage to the tee. Everyday operations are simplified through real-time inventory updates, in-depth data analytics, and automated functions. This leaves business owners and warehouse managers free to focus on more value-added tasks. It’s safe to say that WMS offers just a small glimpse into the future of storage optimization. 

 

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enVista and Softeon Unite Forces for Cutting-Edge Warehouse Management Solutions

In a strategic alliance, enVista, a prominent supply chain and enterprise solutions provider, has joined forces with Softeon, a leading tier-1 warehouse management system (WMS) provider specializing in optimizing warehouse and fulfillment operations. This collaboration signifies a significant advancement in the realm of warehouse management solutions, offering organizations an integrated approach to enhance their warehouse operations.

With a track record of successful WMS implementations, enVista is well-suited to harness Softeon’s innovative software for driving operational efficiency and excellence across diverse industries. The objective of this partnership is to deliver end-to-end warehouse management solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems, providing organizations with a comprehensive and scalable platform to elevate their supply chain performance.

John Stitz, enVista’s CEO, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “We are excited to partner with Softeon, a renowned WMS vendor recognized for its robust and forward-thinking solutions. This collaboration enables us to further solidify our commitment to delivering top-notch warehouse management implementations. By combining enVista’s implementation expertise with Softeon’s cutting-edge WMS technology, we are well-equipped to empower organizations in optimizing their supply chain processes and achieving business success.”

The accelerated implementation of the WMS not only reduces potential time and productivity losses but also enhances throughput by optimizing warehouse operations for peak efficiency through automation. This approach mitigates risks associated with investing in automation, ensuring clients witness results in a shorter timeframe.

Jim Hoefflin, CEO of Softeon, emphasized the joint commitment to customer satisfaction, stating, “Softeon and enVista care about our customers, so together we are committed to providing seamless WMS integration for warehouse leaders and operators. Softeon is dedicated to empowering our customers with solutions for managing the ever-evolving warehousing industry, and enVista is the perfect partner to provide IT resources for assisting customers in daily operations management during the WMS integration process.”

enVista’s extensive project portfolio ranges from small upgrades to enterprise-wide, multi-site complex Tier 1 solutions. The company’s team of experts guides WMS assessments and selections, offering end-to-end implementation services encompassing system and operational design, project and program management, configuration, testing, training, validation, post-implementation support, and more.

ROI 3PL distribution chargers made4net “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” logistics gather business

What Small Business Owners Need to Know Before Choosing a Warehouse Management Software

Many small business owners think they can manage inventory, shipping, and order fulfillment just fine with spreadsheets – until suddenly, they’re faced with too much demand and not enough organization. 

This can happen when you get your first wholesale order, or if you suddenly experience an uptick in customer inquiries about order statuses and shipping updates. Where once a simple Excel sheet did the job, you find you’re overwhelmed and struggling to fulfill orders on time or keep up with customer questions.

Warehouse management software can help small companies grow as painlessly as possible by automating inventory tracking, streamlining order processing, and integrating with shipping carriers to provide real-time updates. The right warehouse management software (WMS) can make or break a small business, so choosing the right one is a big decision. Choose the wrong system, and you have incorrect inventory levels, incorrect shipments, or delays in packing orders. Selecting the right WMS can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches down the road.

Why does WMS matter?

You may think that picking the right WMS is critical for every business, and you’d be right. But it’s especially important for a small business owner. The reason is high customer expectations. Your customers will expect Amazon-level service and reliability from you, even though you don’t have Amazon’s resources. Regardless of the size of the business they’re dealing with, over 60 percent of consumers expect free shipping on their orders, and they expect orders to arrive within three days. That’s quite a lot to live up to. 

There’s also the matter of your reputation. Enormous companies like Amazon or Walmart can get away with the odd negative review or experiences due to the sheer volume of transactions. But for a small business, it only takes one or two negative reviews before it starts seriously affecting your revenue. 

Finally, the necessity of picking the right WMS also comes down to your margins. Small business owners need a WMS that is going to save time and money down the line. A well-suited WMS can streamline warehouse operations, automating key processes such as inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping. By reducing manual tasks and optimizing workflows, business owners can significantly save time and improve operational efficiency. Time saved translates into increased productivity and the ability to handle higher order volumes – without the need for additional labor costs.

What to factor into your decision

This should go without saying, but don’t get swayed by the latest and greatest WMS system just because everyone is talking about it. You want something that has features that work for your business. For example, imagine your business specializes in ecommerce and dropshipping. You should look for a WMS that offers simple integration with popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce. This will let you automate order imports, and inventory synchronization, and get real-time tracking updates.

Conversely, your hypothetical ecommerce business probably doesn’t need advanced automation features like robotic picking or conveyor systems. Those would be more suitable for large-scale operations with high order volumes and extensive inventory management needs. 

You may also want to look for advanced reporting and analytics with demand forecasting, integration with your existing accounting or ERP systems, and seamless integration with popular shipping carriers such as UPS, FedEx, or DHL.

Your WMS also needs to provide you with room to grow. You may be a small business now, but hopefully that won’t always be true. You want to invest in a WMS that works for your business today while having the capacity to scale up with you. 

For example, look into whether the WMS can handle increased order volumes, warehouse locations, and product lines without sacrificing performance or racking up significant additional costs. This will save you the hassle and expense of having to switch to a new system as your business grows. Alternatively, if you’re not planning on expanding your small business, you can find more cost-effective systems, like a basic WMS package with limited features.

You also need to look at ease of use. Small business owners typically don’t have time to learn new, complex systems. That’s why user-friendliness is a great factor to take into consideration. Do you want something as close to plug-and-play as possible? Do you want a WMS that comes with a ton of user support? When you investigate potential options, check out how easy the analytics dashboards are to interpret, or how intuitive you find the user interface. Ultimately, you want a WMS that will seamlessly slide into your business with a minimum of fuss. 

Lastly, it’s crucial to look at affordability. While cost should not be the only determining factor, you do need to look for a WMS that sits inside your budget and provides a solid return on investment.

WMS options are typically one of two pricing models: perpetual licensing and monthly subscription models. Your choice will significantly affect both your initial and annual budgets. Perpetual licensing models are more expensive upfront since you’re effectively buying the software outright. Entry-level WMS options for this pricing model typically cost around $2,500 per warehouse. 

Recurring service costs are typically significantly lower. You pay month-by-month and many providers include some support and upgrade options in the monthly price. The subscription model uses cloud infrastructure for data storage and processing, offering flexibility and scalability.

Aside from pricing models, you should also calculate any potential additional charges for installation, customization, or support. Balance the costs against the potential benefits and efficiency gains the WMS can bring to your operations. 

For example, imagine you choose a subscription-based WMS that costs $100 per month per user plus a $1,000 installation cost. If you have five users, that means one year of your WMS will cost at least $7,000. Your WMS should ideally result in over $7,000 of additional sales that year, or recouped employee time. 

When gauging the cost-effectiveness of your WMS options, don’t be shy about asking for multiple demos, getting at least three quotes, and asking what services are included in the cost. These vendors will be more than happy to make sure they’re the right fit for your business.

Choosing the right WMS

The process of selecting the best WMS for your business is an important one. The right WMS will help you keep up with customer expectations, manage your reputation, and even grow your business later on. The wrong WMS could be an expensive waste of time that results in frustration and loss of revenue.

By keeping business fit, scalability, user-friendliness, and cost in mind, you should be able to figure out which WMS is right for your business.

Author Bio

Carl has led Smart Warehousing since 2001 and spent his entire career in the logisticswarehousing, and fulfillment space, from working the warehouse floor to CEO and founder. He is a logistics management and operations veteran, actively leading the business to its next phase of growth

ROI 3PL distribution chargers made4net “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” logistics gather business

Gather AI Launches Dashboard Inventory Actions at ProMat to Help Customers More Efficiently Resolve Inventory Discrepancies

Founded in 2018, Pittsburgh-based Gather AI is now the first established company using drones to automate inventory monitoring processes for warehouse operators to decrease inventory costs, improve productivity and boost revenue.

 

With Gather AI’s solution, inventory drones can fly through a warehouse, photograph pallet locations, then compare the bar codes, text and images with the warehouse management system (WMS).
The Gather AI solution dashboard helps warehouse teams find and fix inventory exceptions. They can review a list of exceptions on their dashboard, scroll through each one, view the picture of the pallet location and determine what needs to happen next, including fixing the information in their WMS. All of this can be done at their desk instead of walking through their warehouse. The new inventory actions function allows teams to categorize specific actions to be taken and filter those to create their ‘to-do’ list.

 

Inventory actions help teams improve their productivity and track what’s been corrected so they know when an exception has been resolved. Gather AI’s product is deployed in warehouses across third-party logistics, retail distribution, manufacturing, food & beverage and health & beauty.

 

In 2022, Gather AI raised a $10M Series A, found 25,000 lost pallets for customers and scanned 8X more pallets than they did in 2021. Additionally, according to customer data, their solution is 15x faster than traditional cycle-counting processes.
ROI 3PL distribution chargers made4net “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” logistics gather business

Top 5 Ways to Increase your Warehouse ROI 

There are a few things top-performing SMB warehouses have in common, and one thing they all have in common. 

That is, they optimize their operations and resources to get more from what they have, focusing on boosting their daily warehouse ROI. 

To get the most from your growing warehouse, you need to improve accuracy, reduce mistakes and waste, save time, and identify ways to get more from your resources. This list outlines the top 5 things you can start doing today to improve ROI from your warehouse. 

Warehouse ROI is based on working efficiently and having the right systems in place to capture and check data — and this starts with having the right systems in place. 

No logistics company operates in a vacuum, and having a cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) gives you the opportunity to connect with and streamline data sharing between you, your customers and your supply chain partners. 

5 ways to increase your warehouse ROI 

  1. Integrate your WMS/TMS software for seamless data flow 

It’s essential to consider how information flows in and out of your warehouse, and who else you need to communicate with in your supply chain in order to streamline incoming and outgoing stock. This provides greater transparency across the supply chain for everyone involved. 

Having a fully integrated cloud-based WMS and TMS gives you an enormous boost in terms of efficiently sharing data and optimizing workflows around order acceptance and dispatch. For instance, you can optimize your beyond the warehouse by using delivery addresses and routes to pick and pack orders based on delivery routes. 

You can even delight customers and partners by streamlining incoming and outgoing orders through cross-docking. A WMS app equipped for cross-docking gives you oversight of incoming and outgoing orders by simply using barcode scanning to accept stock, sort, and allocate to a new delivery run — all from the palm of your hand, and directly from the dock. 

  1. Keep inventory records up to date 

Using a cloud-based WMS and mobile app to capture, record and track incoming orders, stock movement records and outgoing orders gives you greater accuracy, simplifies reporting, and having the correct data for planning. 

When looking at increasing warehouse return on investment, the more you can save time, optimize processes, and simplify workflows — the more you can achieve in a day, and the greater ability you have to scale up your business.

Keep your records up to date across multiple platforms and users with automated processes to boost ROI. 

– Allocate orders for picking and track orders as they progress 

– Update stock reports in real time 

– Automate rate calculations as stock is accepted, moved, and picked – Provide customer 24/7 access to up to date reports from their own customer dashboard 

  1. Save time and earn more? That’s right. 

Did you know you can reduce admin hours by 40-60 hours a week, while increasing your daily output, with automating invoicing and rates? 

Using a WMS with automated rate calculations also allows you to set complex rate cards for various customers, services, seasons, or other factors — ensuring you capture all billable charges — from sliging rate to ad hoc charges, and levys as well, without the time needed to manually calculate each charge. 

  1. Implement barcode label scanning 

A simple way to increase your ROI is to reduce mistakes and mispicks. Using barcode scanning to identify warehouse locations and confirm the items being picked increases accuracy across your warehouse operations, with ease. 

Simply scan locations and inventory during warehouse put away and order picking for an added layer of certainty at each step. It provides a safety net, where mistakes are rectified in the moment, increasing your daily accuracy and ensuring smoother warehouse operations. 

Want to know more about barcodes in your warehouse? Check out this article on everything you need to know about warehouse barcode scanning

  1. Use warehouse locations 

The layout of your warehouse can make a huge impact on productivity, speed of order fulfillment, and how to optimize storage rates. 

It can also help you to optimize other workflows like inventory put away and order picking. Depending on the goods you store and the services your warehouse offers, there are different ways to optimize your space. This mainly comes down to allocating storage locations for accurate identification and optimizing storage by how often or how soon the goods will be needed.

Depending on the goods you store, you might want to store goods by batch; First in, First out (FIFO), or First Expired, First Out (FEFO), by temperature zone, or by using Replenishment to store fast-moving goods in easy-to-access locations. 

To find out more about increasing your return on investment for your warehouse operations, or to learn more about our easy to use, cloud-based WMS, speak to the friendly team at CartonCloud today. 

Start optimizing your operations and increase your warehouse ROI today.

ROI 3PL distribution chargers made4net “largely making compromises between the way a warehouse wants to work and the way the system allows the warehouse to work,” logistics gather business

The 6 Most Expensive Words in Distribution

While some organizations may continue to operate the same way they did 50 years ago, today’s competitive business climate forces distributors to take a hard look at their warehouse operations and reevaluate how these spaces can transition from a lost capital expenditure to a profit center.

When asked about the technology used in their warehouses and distribution centers, 44% of respondents surveyed for Peerless Research Group’s recently released 2022 Materials Handling Technology Study said their companies are currently in a phase of “cautiously embracing change.” At the same time, 19% reported taking a wait-and-see approach and 23% revealed they’re moving slowly and among the last to adopt technology.

As I consider these survey results, I can’t help but to think of a Bob Dylan song I’ve always been particularly fond of, titled, The Times They Are A-Changin’.

Although the “cautious middle” approach to digital innovation isn’t new, it is a mentality that’s historically plagued the distribution industry. And it’s why we still hear companies unknowingly utter what I call the six most expensive words in distribution: “We’ve always done it this way.”

Unsurprisingly, the solution usually involves adopting the right software and hardware to breathe new life into operations. That said, many have a hard time understanding the importance of adapting to evolve, even though it’s critical to the bottom line and the longevity of the business. Regrettably, the urgency of this need typically isn’t recognized until it’s too late.

Escape the Comfort Zone
In my years of working with enterprise application software for businesses, one of the biggest hurdles I’ve witnessed is watching the way decision makers choose to stay within their own comfort zone. This is common, but certainly not exclusive to, businesses run by generational families that are content with the status quo. Steady as she goes (a nod to another group of musicians I’m a fan of, The Raconteurs) is the approach; however, this mentality introduces significant hurdles when there’s a stronger need to introduce change that would otherwise improve the business.

Growth is great. That is until it starts to get in the way of the ability to get goods to the customer accurately and on time. Equally concerning is the fact that I’ve witnessed distribution businesses add more employees to their warehouse under the guise of “growth” – when what they’re really doing is supporting inefficient, manual processes that are heavily reliant on institutional knowledge. What these organizations often find is that adding more employees doesn’t necessarily yield higher productivity because paper-driven processes deny them the ability to reach a level of accuracy and efficiency required to stay competitive in an increasingly digital world.

When owners become complacent or buy into the “we have always done it this way” approach to warehouse operations, they run the risk of needing to eventually raise the white flag and sell their business. It’s an unfortunate exit strategy, and it’s not pleasant to think about. To avoid such a fateful end for their organizations, distributors must learn from stories of failure and have the mindset to keep evolving with the technology of the times that keeps their operations efficient and their business competitive.

 Conceptualize the Need

As our industry advances with new technologies, I still see warehouses and distribution centers using old-school techniques such as whiteboards or spreadsheets to manage inbound and outbound logistics. For some, the issue is less about being stuck in a comfort zone and more about a struggle to envision the autonomy and financial benefits of those new technologies. In other words, conceptualizing the need becomes an obstacle.

To help distributors recognize such obstacles as the true opportunities that they are, providing examples is key. Say you’re considering a warehouse management system (WMS) to streamline and automate operations. You may be told that a WMS will have a positive ripple effect over your entire organization, from human resources to the C-suite, and that you can expect to see significant operational gains in nearly every functional warehouse area, from receiving, putaway, and picking to cycle counting, shipping, and more. But let’s cover what these gains look like in practice.

Think of a WMS, for example. At its most basic level, a WMS eliminates paper-based processes that directly hinder company growth. Paper-based systems inherently lead to more errors and customer frustration because every time a warehouse manager resolves an error, it costs the company money. Paper will never compete with automated systems. Besides the operational inefficiencies, think of the money wasted on the materials and supplies needed to support manual processes (e.g., toner, staples, clipboards, filing cabinets, storage space, etc.). If a distribution company is looking to compete on picking accuracy, delivery and improved customer service, the WMS would allow them to abandon paper for good.

Let’s take this example a step further. A WMS that offers inbound transportation management allows complete control over scheduling deliveries by simply assigning specific times and bays. This ensures that the right equipment and manpower is ready for unloading (e.g., pallet loaded vs. floor loaded). When the shipment arrives, employees can check the trucks in and out as the system automatically captures metrics on both sides of the operation. Giving warehouse managers the ability to keep an eye on time, space, employees, and vendors more effectively is a win-win in anyone’s book.

Ask any distributor responsible for fulfilling e-commerce orders and they’ll tell you returns are a big issue. The right WMS can make life easier by handling the logistics to manage returns. These tools help e-commerce distributors achieve significant shipping cost savings for the company and its customers, adding to the overall ROI of the system.

When you consciously examine obstacles and open your mind to how technology can lead the way for the betterment of your business, it’s easier to conceptualize and justify a WMS investment. This allows you to forge beyond and away from any stagnation stemming from that “we have always done it this way” mindset.

Flip Obstacles into Opportunities

Embracing technology and digital transformation isn’t about giving up control or abandoning your comfort zone, it’s about changing one’s perspective. At the same time, it usually comes down to user adoption and trusting the software and hardware to do the job it’s intended to do. The key is to find a genuine vendor partnership that provides your warehouse or distribution center with the right technology and support needed to foster a paradigm shift that will effectively flip perceived obstacles into viable opportunities. The result can help your business slash expenses and eliminate outdated and costly manual practices as well.

While the six most expensive words in distribution are, “We’ve always done it this way,” ironically, the six most transcendent words in distribution echo the name of a hit country song by Jason Caraway, “I Wish We’d Done This Sooner.”

Author’s Bio

Mark Van Leeuwen has been with PathGuide Technologies, Inc. for over 10 years. He has more than 25 years’ experience building a strong clientele and ensuring customer success by working with distributors to understand and appreciate their unique business issues and opportunities. 

wms

Ecommerce Behind the Scenes: Efficient Warehouse Management with WMS

In the last year and a half, we have witnessed a profound transformation of the business reality, a rapid transition of organizations to the digital world, and a significant change in consumer habits. The growth of e-commerce is a sign of this transformation. According to the forecasts of the study “Economia e Sociedade Digital em Portugal”, released last year, e-commerce in the B2C (business-to-consumer) segment will continue to grow in Portugal and should reach 10.8 billion euros by 2025. The same trend will be felt in the B2B (business-to-business) segment, where e-commerce is expected to reach 155.8 billion euros in that same year.

This paradigm shift forces companies to be increasingly agile and efficient in managing their operations and supply chains in order to meet the growing demands of consumers and an increasingly competitive business ecosystem. The key to positioning companies at the forefront of competitiveness lies in the adoption of technological and innovative tools that enable organizations to optimally and efficiently manage their operations. And in this field, I would like to highlight the importance of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

At a time when e-commerce is expanding and delivery times are increasingly shorter, it is imperative for a company to ensure rigorous management of its warehouses and ensure a response, without delays or failures, to customer orders. And it is precisely in this field that WMS systems stand out. These systems allow total control of the logistics operations in the warehouse, through automated and intelligent processes, from the moment merchandise enters a warehouse until it is dispatched.

Among the main advantages of these systems are the following:

-More efficient stock management: Through process automation, WMS systems ensure more efficient stock and inventory management, as well as better optimization of all available storage space

-Obtaining real-time data: The visibility of operations is a feature increasingly valued by companies and WMS systems allow organizations to know in real-time all the essential information about stocks, movements, and other aspects

-Logistics Performance Monitoring (KPIS): In addition to visibility, these systems also allow, through specific modules, to monitor the logistics performance of the warehouse activities. By formatting data for analysis and presenting reports, the systems help managers identify possible inefficiencies and possible improvements that can be implemented to ensure a more efficient and productive warehouse management.

-Ease of integration, configuration and usability: It is a tool that can be easily integrated with other systems that companies use, particularly with ERP. In addition, these systems are typically intuitive and easy to use, to ensure that everyone involved in the logistics operations of the warehouse can use them without difficulty.

-Decreased likelihood of errors and failures: By allowing the automation of processes, WMS systems contribute to the reduction of failures and to a better optimization of human resources allocated to warehouse management.

-Thus, WMS systems are increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for organizations to manage their warehouses more effectively, reducing costs and errors, ensuring faster execution of operations and, ultimately, guaranteeing better customer service.

It is tools like these that help companies navigate this new business environment in which e-commerce is playing a catalytic role in the transformation of business models and corporate value chains. I have no doubt that the incorporation of this and other technologies will be a critical factor for success and raise the levels of competitiveness of organizations in this post-pandemic context.

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world, and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.