The e-commerce industry is brimming with competition, and new sellers are popping up every day. So, if the competition is so strong, how do you stand out, especially if you’re self-fulfilling? Well, the key lies in leveraging fulfilment and logistics as your competitive edge to gain the upper hand in the market!
To attain this objective, you can streamline your warehouse operations by implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS). With a WMS tool, you can automate tasks, optimize inventory management, and enhance overall efficiency.
However, it's important to note that not all WMS solutions are equal in terms of their quality, functionality, and ease of use. There can be significant variations in these aspects. As a result, selecting the right solution becomes a critical factor in improving your business efficiency and productivity. Before diving head first into what a WMS is and how you can choose the best one for your business, let’s understand what’s not a WMS.
It's crucial to distinguish between a comprehensive Warehouse Management System (WMS) and other tools that may address specific aspects of the fulfilment process. While various solutions claim to enhance warehouse operations, not all are true WMS. Here's a quick guide to what doesn't qualify as a WMS:
These solutions might serve specific purposes but don't constitute a holistic WMS. A genuine WMS seamlessly accommodates various warehouse processes, offering end-to-end visibility and control. Investing in a solution that comprehensively addresses every facet of the fulfilment journey is essential when considering warehouse optimization.
Efficient warehouse operations undeniably serve as the foundation for any thriving ecommerce venture. Achieving this feat becomes simple with the help of a robust Warehouse Management System (WMS).
WMS goes beyond mere management; it automates and streamlines the entire warehousing process, eliminating the room for human errors and remarkably enhancing accuracy. Let's delve into the key reasons why a WMS is an absolute necessity:
Finding a high-quality WMS to upgrade your warehouse operations can be a daunting task. To help you navigate this process, we have compiled a list of key factors that you should consider.
Choosing a WMS that aligns perfectly with your unique business needs is of utmost importance. To ensure that the selected WMS is tailored precisely to your requirements, take into consideration the following factors:
One crucial aspect of a WMS is its ability to accurately track inventory. This feature provides real-time visibility into stock levels, empowering informed decision-making for inventory replenishment, order fulfilment, and overall management.
Depending on your inventory profile, you also need to check whether the WMS offers the type of inventory tracking you require. For instance, if your inventory includes electronics such as mobile phones, laptops, or TVs, having a WMS with serial number tracking becomes essential. Serial number tracking assigns a unique identification number to each item, enabling precise tracking of which unit was sold to which customer.
Additionally, when evaluating a WMS, it's important to consider if it supports batch tracking and expiry management capabilities. This becomes particularly crucial for businesses dealing with food, beverages, or medical supplies. By enabling batch tracking, the WMS can effectively group products based on manufacturing or expiry dates, ensuring that items close to expiration are not included in customer orders. This feature plays a vital role in maintaining product quality and customer satisfaction.
Another fundamental aspect of inventory management that a well-functioning WMS should proficiently handle is the categorization of inventory into sellable and non-sellable items after performing a meticulous Quality Check (QC).
Sellable Inventory: Sellable inventory comprises items that are ready for immediate sale to customers. These products have undergone thorough quality checks and meet the required standards for shipment.
Non-Sellable Inventory: Non-sellable inventory encompasses items that, due to various reasons, are not suitable for direct sale. This category may include damaged goods, expired products, or items awaiting quality checks.
Furthermore, a competent WMS should provide flexible inventory tracking options. You can opt for SKU-level visibility or track items individually using barcodes, enhancing your control over inventory management.
When selling on marketplaces, meeting SLAs can make a world of difference. SLAs, or Service Level Agreements, are contractual agreements between sellers and marketplaces that define the expected level of service sellers must provide to customers. Following these agreements is crucial, as failure to do so can result in penalties and lower ratings. Key aspects of these agreements in online marketplaces include on-time shipping, order accuracy, and efficient returns and refunds.
A robust Warehouse Management System (WMS) plays a vital role in optimizing overall warehouse operations and ensuring SLA compliance. Here are some of the factors a WMS should track to effectively meet SLAs:
Additionally, a well-designed WMS includes comprehensive SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and detailed instructions for every step of the fulfilment process, including inwarding, put-away, picking & packing, shipping, and processing returns.
An effective WMS should excel in handling exceptions—unforeseen events or disruptions in the regular workflow that can impact the efficiency of warehouse operations. It should notify you immediately about such events, enabling you to take the necessary actions to resolve them quickly.
Some of the exceptions that a good WMS must manage are:
An efficient Warehouse Management System (WMS) should seamlessly handle the complexities of return management, a critical aspect for any ecommerce business. It should be able to systematically handle returned items and automate actions such as inspections, decision-making on restocking, quarantine, refurbishing, disposal, or returning items to suppliers.
Some of the features related to returns management that you can expect from a WMS are:
User-friendliness is a critical factor when selecting a WMS. The system should be super easy for warehouse staff to use and require minimal training. Consider the following aspects:
To enhance the overall efficiency of your warehouse operations, leveraging reports and analytics is crucial. An advanced Warehouse Management System (WMS) captures a myriad of data points throughout the entire fulfilment process, generating invaluable reports.
Here are some key reports provided by a robust WMS:
Efficient warehouse management can be a daunting task when handled manually. However, by investing in a Warehouse Management System (WMS), you can alleviate your warehousing team from repetitive tasks. This, in turn, leads to improved order accuracy, faster order shipments, and access to valuable data for optimizing warehouse operations.
By leveraging Eshopbox's WMS, you can unlock a multitude of benefits for seamless ecommerce warehousing and fulfillment. Connect with us today to explore how our WMS can transform your ecommerce operations.