Trading and distribution (T&D) companies are now facing various challenges in expanding product portfolios, trading, contributing, and meeting development costs. Key solutions to these challenges are recommended to be Landed Cost Management, Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Warehouse Management. In today’s article, we will help T&D sectors explore and gain detailed guidelines for Warehouse Management.
What is Warehouse Management?
Warehouse management refers to the processes of controlling the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and associated transactions including shipping, receiving, putaway, and picking. At a high level, warehouse management can include organising space, scheduling labour force, managing inventory, and fulfilling orders.
Warehouse management aims at offering visibility into a T&D company’s entire inventory and managing supply chain fulfilment operations from the distribution centres to retailers.
Principles of Warehouse Management
To optimise warehouse operations, it is necessary for businesses to understand general principles of warehouse management.
Comprehensive Control: In warehouse management, there are many moving factors (people, equipment, orders, inventory, etc.). Each process needs thorough tracking and real-time update to ensure that there is no interruption. Additionally, to make sure orders are accurately fulfilled, quality control is also essential.
Flexibility and Resilience: Having side plans is never redundant. For example, in case materials arrive damaged or weather delays shipping, warehouse managers have to adjust plans on the fly. Moreover, to maximise efficiency, it is critical to flexibly change some processes, such as rearranging warehouse space or re-designing packages.
Customer Focus: One of the most important factors is customer service and satisfaction. In T&D industry, businesses need to deliver on time with correct ordered products. Therefore, the warehouse needs to fulfil orders quickly and accurately for customers.
Data-driven Decision-making: Data-based decision-making can be gain from businesses’ capabilities to analyse real-time insights and predictions to optimise performances. Therefore, warehouse managers can wisely make use of data collected by ERP systems and try on different strategies for sustainable growth.
Warehouse Management Processes
There are six essential procedures in warehouse management. Each process affects the efficiency of the next, so it must be optimised for the whole warehouse operation.
Receiving: Check, record incoming items, then verify whether they arrive with the right quantity and quality at appropriate time.
Put-away: Transfer the items from the receiving dock to the proper storage areas.
Storage: Store and logically allocate the items in inventory.
Picking: Gather the items required for sales orders.
Packing: Safely pack the picked items into the correct packaging with an accurate packing slip to prepare for the shipments.
Shipping: Send out the final sales orders on the right vehicle. Ensure that customers receive the items on time.
Warehouse Management Fulfilment Strategies
T&D businesses can deliver products faster, minimise waste, and enhance customer experience if they choose fulfilment strategies that are proper with their size and volume. Many businesses have tried to apply different picking strategies such as batch picking, zone picking, FEFO (first expired, first out) picking, and FIFO (first in, first out) picking.
Advanced technologies are also important in warehouse fulfilment strategies. ERP software can help decrease picking time and accuracy with proper labelling by batch number, lot number, serial number, or barcode system. The system also helps to improve customer satisfaction by capturing pertinent information across involved departments when it is updated in CRM module.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the statistics that present the warehouse’s performance. These KPIs can assist businesses in identifying problems and possibilities to boost warehouse productivity and fulfil sales orders faster. Generally, warehouse KPIs are often tracked by following methods:
Receiving Efficiency: is the amount of items received per warehouse operator per hour. High rates present better receiving efficiency, while there may be issues if the rate is low.
Picking Accuracy: is the proportion of orders picked accurately and total orders. It is a good sign if this proportion is closer to 100%.
Order Lead Time: is the average time for an order to be delivered to a customer. The lead time should be as minimal as possible for better customer satisfaction.
Rate of Product Return: is the ratio of returned goods by customers to total sales. If this ratio is high, warehouse managers should consider the reasons why the products are returned and indicate warehouse operation problems.
Inventory Return: is the rate at which inventory is sold and replaced, calculated by dividing the total cost of products sold during the period by the average cost of inventory during that period.
Good warehouse management will make sure all warehouse operations are as accurate and efficient as possible. For instance, it is able to optimise and maximise warehouse space, making it simpler for staff to locate inventory.
Optimising warehouse management, however, can be a challenging endeavour as it includes many processes involved. For this reason, a lot of businesses are seeking help from advanced technologies such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems or Warehouse Management systems (WMS).
Synergix Wholesale Distribution solution can be a flexible solution for you and your customers with multiple helpful T&D modules and features under our belt. As Synergix is a pre-approved vendor (by IMDA), eligible T&D companies can claim up to 70% of the qualifying cost and minimise the net cash investment when adopting our ERP system.
Should you concern about Synergix ERP solutions, contact us today for a free consultation!