What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

    What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

    Warehouse Management System (WMS) software is an essential business tool for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of all types. From stock management to fulfillment, your WMS is at the center of it all. 

    In traditional retail, logistics move in a different way and at a different pace from e-commerce. You don't ship large quantities to few resellers, but instead ship a lot of orders to many end-customers. 

    If you’re an online retailer, you should be aware that many WMS systems are still built for the old world approach. To keep up with today’s high-speed market, you need a cloud-based WMS that’s designed specifically for e-commerce. 

    Beyond just stock keeping, your WMS can deliver greater value in the form of improved staff performance, support for your automation journey, increased information sharing, and enabling you to consistently ship a superior customer experience. 

    What can you achieve with an e-commerce WMS?

    • Make work easier and more enjoyable 

    • Accelerate your automation journey 

    • Keep things moving with delivery planning 

    • Increase transparency with real-time data 

    • Ship a superior customer experience

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    Experience Bitlog for yourself by accessing your own demo account.

    WMS software offers greater functionality than inventory management plugins

    Using a plugin that integrates with your webshop or ERP is a quick and easy way to get started with inventory management. Unfortunately, basic inventory and stock management is all many plugins can handle. 

    A simple plug-in may be easy to integrate, but you won’t see any of the efficiency gains that you would with an enterprise-grade e-commerce WMS.

    A WMS that offers API integration with the leading webshop platforms and ERPs will be just as easy to set up as a plugin. But rather than just just basic stock keeping, you’ll also get advanced functionality that supports all warehouse tasks. 

    A WMS system can make work easier and more enjoyable for your staff 

    An intuitive, easy-to-use WMS not only increases productivity, it helps people feel successful in their work.

    At many e-commerce businesses, everyone on staff needs to help out in the warehouse. So, someone whose main job is customer service might also pick and pack orders.

    If you do have a dedicated warehouse staff, you might face regular turnover which requires you to constantly hire new workers. You probably also need to scale up your team during peak demand times. 

    To speed up onboarding, choose a WMS app that works on consumer smartphones and tablets, which your staff is already familiar with.However, be aware that many WMS apps offer limited functionality. So, while you gain mobility, you will miss out on the added efficiencies that you would get from an enterprise-grade WMS. 

    Look for a WMS with smart features that can guide your staff through the warehouse to do their jobs better. Choosing a WMS that offers gamification functions can foster team spirit and friendly competition. 

    No matter the task, everyone wants to feel successful. When your WMS can make people’s jobs easier, their morale will be higher and they’ll be more likely to become dedicated, loyal members of your team. 

    Use your e-commerce WMS to accelerate your automation journey 

    Automating the warehouse is essential for e-commerce businesses to stay competitive. But it doesn’t have to happen all at once. 

    Think of automation as a journey that you need to take at your own pace. Your WMS can help you start small and scale up when you’re ready. 

    Automation isn’t always about robots. Your WMS can help the human beings on your staff to work smarter through automated processes. 

    WMS functionality such as system-suggested putaway, voice-guided picking and real-time tracking are relatively easy to implement and can have a big impact on your warehouse productivity. 

    Keep things moving with delivery planning 

    Global supply chains are in flux. Changes occur frequently and delays for arriving stock are quite common. Your WMS should help you manage that. 

    WMS will automatically re-plan the outgoing shipments based on changes in the incoming stock.

    With automated re-planning, you can send customers updates about delivery times. No one likes delays, but honest, proactive communication will clarify expectations and (hopefully) reduce customer support requests. 

    A WMS that provides integrated delivery planning will help you to manage staff efficiency better by having them available when your orders arrive. Automated delivery planning can also shorten your lead times by supporting advanced picking strategies and cross-docking 

    Share real-time data to increase transparency and trust

    In the rapid-fire world of e-commerce, communication and information sharing across functions is essential. When it comes to the warehouse, people sometimes want to know what’s going on without having to ask. 

    After switching to Bitlog WMS, online motocross retailer Pierce installed a digital display in their head-office which visualized warehouse data. Everyone in the office could now see real-time order volume and turnaround times.

    The increased transparency inspired other teams to follow the warehouse team’s example. Beyond just the WMS, Pierce also uses Bitlog to manage tasks including product photography, as well as returns and claims processing.

    Ship a superior customer experience

    When you sell a premium product, your customers expect you to deliver a premium experience. You can’t afford to lose a single shopper due to inefficiencies in your warehouse, especially when you’re still working hard to establish your customer base. 

    Back in 2018, online fashion retailer KidsBrandStore, were worried that their warehouse performance didn’t match up with their premium offering. As Black Friday approached, they were afraid that their warehouse was not ready for the make-or-break sales. 

    With only six weeks to go until that fateful day, the KidsBrandStore management team decided to switch to Bitlog. After a rapid but seamless implementation process, the warehouse staff was able to meet their challenges on Black Friday and beyond. 

    Today, KidsBrandStore uses Bitlog WMS to achieve accurate stock keeping, dynamic picking, efficient delivery planning, faster fulfillment and rapid returns. That all adds up to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    At Bitlog WMS, we’re dedicated to partnering with e-commerce brands to meet their challenges. Get in touch with us if you’re ready to ship a superior customer experience. 

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