What is Driving the Trend to Purchase New Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)?Part One: WMS Technical Obsolescence and Inability to Meet E-Commerce & Omnichannel Needs
For years, warehouse and 3PL operators processed goods by the pallet. With today’s huge push towards e-commerce transactions,
More Warehouse Workers Needed for E-Commerce & D2C Operations
According to the annual DC operations survey conducted by Peerless Research, there is a trend towards more employees per warehouse. This is certainly understandable for warehouse operators that are handling, storing and processing inventory that ends up as direct-to-consumer (D2C) orders.
Today, warehouse operations tend to occur at a much faster rate, involve picking and processing individual items instead of larger amounts of goods on pallets and necessitate more labor to get the job done.
With the shortage in the supply chain logistics labor pool, 3PLs and warehouse operators have turned to warehouse management systems to help improve labor productivity and efficiency.
This can help to reduce overall labor cost and aids in optimizing warehouse worker labor resources.
Aging Legacy WMS Unable to Meet E-Commerce and Omnichannel Fulfillment Needs
Did you know that the typical lifespan of a warehouse management system is 15+ years? Think of all the ways the world and technology have changed in the past 15 years! If a WMS software vendor has not continually invested in innovation and in upgrading its technology, infrastructure and functionality, 3PLs and warehouse operators may find their companies hamstrung, unable to meet the needs of today’s customers.
Whether a company has been relying on an older homegrown, proprietary WMS or a warehouse management system that has been heavily customized to meet their needs, the system may suffer from technical obsolescence and not be capable of upgrade. Sometimes companies elect to customize WMS solutions in a manner that prohibits future upgrades. This reduces the company to one option: having to maintain the system on their own, instead of depending upon the software vendor for innovation.
When software vendors develop, maintain and upgrade warehouse management systems, they evaluate and consider not just what companies need today, but also what they will need in the future. Software developers continually examine industry best practices, trends and the needs of their current and prospective clients. By doing this, they learn what is needed today and in the future.
If a company has a proprietary WMS or heavily customized system, it probably is not likely that they invest in the research and development needed for the future of their warehouse management system.
This can put their business at a distinct disadvantage when competing for new business and in retaining their customers.
Warehouse management systems that were developed using older technology and programming are costly, labor intensive and
Omnichannel & E-Commerce Operations Require Greater Flexibility & Sophisticated Functionality
Here are some of the main issues that are causing companies to select a new WMS:
- High order volume
- Proliferation of SKUs
- Increased order complexity
- Reduced order cycle times
- Increased need for more rapid completion of processes and workflows in a WMS
- Need to be able to dynamically pick each item in an optimized manner
- Need to continually optimize tasks in order to reduce costs, increase labor productivity and handle the increased velocity
Requirementfor more flexible, deep replenishment
- Need to interface with automated picking technologies including pick-to-light, put wall systems and voice picking
- Ability to handle parcel manifesting and shipping capabilities
Real Time Inventory Visibility and Enhanced Inventory Control/Inventory Management
Nowadays, consumers order online from a variety of channels and need to be able to see if the goods they are trying to purchase are available. Having the ability to provide inventory visibility in real time by looking across a network of distribution centers,
Multi-site inventory visibility and operations
Although most warehouses today use warehouse management systems, there is a significant difference between using a legacy system with outdated functionality and a WMS that can handle the complexity of high volume, complex orders and reduced cycle times encountered today. With the increased pace of warehouse operations geared to service the needs of consumers, 3PLs and warehouse operators are increasingly electing to upgrade their technology.
In selecting new warehouse management software, companies are purchasing systems that readily integrate with other technologies, provide