Fashion is a fast industry, sometimes too fast, right? Perhaps keeping up with your inventory, order fulfilment and warehouse operations has become a little more challenging than it used to be. If so, there's something you can do about it. Implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS) will transform the way your fashion company runs for the better.
You might be thinking that's a bold statement to make, but here's how we back it up. Where manual inventory management, order fulfilment and warehousing falls short, a WMS automates key business functions to make your company more agile. Rather than being a reactive fashion business, you become proactive.
If you're fed up of always playing catchup with your inventory management and order fulfilment, a WMS puts you on the front foot. Not only will a WMS improve efficiency, cut your costs and add a greater level of stability, it will give you capacity to scale your business. That's why more fashion business owners are acting on WMS implementation.
Here's what a WMS has to offer to futureproof your fashion business:
1. Streamlined Inventory Management
If you've got an extensive product range or a frequent stock turnover, having one or two staff members monitoring your inventory is fraught with risks. However, a WMS gives you eyes everywhere, offering several significant benefits when it comes to managing your inventory, including:
Real-time visibility: A WMS gives you a real-time view of your inventory levels. You can track stock accurately to avoid overstocking or stockouts.
SKU and variant management: No doubt you have a diverse range of sizes, colours, styles, and seasonal items as part of your fashion range. This makes managing SKUs that bit more complex. A WMS equips you for SKU and variant management, ensuring accurate tracking and efficient handling of your apparel products.
Reporting and analytics: A WMS generates detailed reports and analytics on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as inventory accuracy, order cycle time, picking accuracy, and warehouse capacity utilisation. These insights enable you to identify bottlenecks, make data-driven decisions, and continuously improve warehouse operations.
Getting your inventory management organised and under control is arguably one of the best things a WMS will bring to your fashion company. Why? Because it provides the platform for all other business functions to be improved, speaking of which…
2. Efficient Order Fulfilment
…Better inventory management and control paves the way for efficient order fulfilment, and a WMS plays its part here too, from minimising order errors to improving delivery times. Here's how a WMS enhances order fulfilment:
Order picking optimisation: A WMS can optimise your order picking process by suggesting the most efficient routes around your warehouse, reducing travel time, and increasing productivity. It ensures that items are retrieved accurately and swiftly from your warehouse.
Order consolidation and shipment planning: With multiple orders to fulfil, a WMS streamlines the process of order consolidation. It enables the efficient grouping of items, reducing the number of shipments and overall transportation costs.
Accurate order picking and packing: A WMS incorporates barcode scanning and RFID technologies to enhance accuracy in order picking and packing. This reduces errors and improves customer satisfaction by ensuring that the right items are shipped.
Faster returns processing: The fashion industry faces more returns than most, often due to sizing issues or customer preferences. A WMS helps expedite your returns processing, ensuring that returned items are efficiently restocked or processed for replacement.
3. Warehouse Space Optimisation
In the world of fashion, storage space is important. However, you can't always see the most effective layout for your warehouse or even any unused space that you do have. This is where a WMS really comes into its own, equipping you to optimise your warehouse space for maximum efficiency. Here's how:
Warehouse layout planning: A WMS assists in designing an optimal warehouse layout, considering factors such as product characteristics, order picking frequency, and storage capacity. This helps WMS consultants to configure a better use of space and improve operational efficiency after agreeing a strategy with you.
Automated storage and retrieval: A WMS leverages automation and advanced algorithms to suggest appropriate storage locations for all your different products. This reduces the time spent on locating items, minimises travel distance, and maximises your warehouse space.
Slotting optimisation: By analysing product velocity and demand patterns, a WMS optimises your slotting and re-slotting strategies. It ensures that your best-selling items are easily accessible, while slow-moving items are stored in less accessible areas, freeing up prime warehouse space.
Seasonal storage planning: No doubt you experience seasonal fluctuations in demand. A WMS helps in efficient seasonal storage planning, ensuring that your seasonal items are easily accessible during peak periods and appropriately stored during off-seasons.
4. Greater Traceability and Compliance
As with most industries, fashion is subject to certain regulations and quality control standards. Maintaining quality control standards and adhering to regulations is becoming ever more complex amid ever expanding supply chains. However, a WMS gives you complete coverage over:
Product traceability: A WMS can track the movement of your products across the entire supply chain, from raw materials to finished goods. This ensures compliance with traceability requirements and enables effective recalls if necessary. Labelling and quality control: A WMS can integrate with your labelling systems to ensure accurate and compliant labelling of your apparel items. Plus, a WMS can facilitate quality control inspections by providing visibility into inspection checkpoints and recording inspection results. Regulatory compliance: As a fashion company, some of the regulations you are subject to include labelling standards, restricted substances, and social compliance requirements. A WMS helps in adhering to these regulations, reducing compliance risks, and enhancing your brand reputation.
5. Enhanced Visibility and Reporting
Having complete visibility over your warehouse operations means you can make better business decisions. A WMS gives you the big picture, which enables data-driven decision making and performance analysis. Here's what a WMS brings to the table:
Real-time insights: A WMS gives you a real-time view of your inventory levels, order statuses, and warehouse activities. This empowers you to make timely decisions, respond to changing market conditions, and improve operational efficiency.
Customised reporting and analytics: With a WMS, you can generate customised reports and analytics based on your specific requirements. You can analyse key performance indicators, identify bottlenecks, and implement process improvements.
Discrepancy reduction: By maintaining accurate stock records and offering visibility into inventory movements, a WMS helps reduce discrepancies between your physical and system inventory. This minimises errors and enhances inventory accuracy.
Customer Focused Investment
Before anything else, implementing a WMS should be done on the basis of improving the customer experience. Customer demands and fashion preferences change fast, and your company has to be equipped to respond. So, the question is not do I need a WMS? It's can I afford to be without one?
There's a reason why more fashion businesses are implementing a WMS, largely because they help to futureproof their company and the supply chain.
The same benefits are available to you. Think of a WMS as an investment in better inventory management and control, faster order fulfilment and more informed business decisions, which all serve to enhance the customer experience.
By leveraging a WMS, you are empowered to streamline your processes, reduce costs, get data-driven insights, meet and exceed customer expectations and more.
Make your WMS implementation a success with a Blue Yonder WMS
Selecting and implementing a WMS can be daunting without support. Prime Horizon Group is an official Blue Yonder WMS implementation specialist with experience of working with fashion companies. With consultants based in the UK, Europe and APAC, we can support you through the entire WMS implementation project cycle and beyond.
We're not only experienced in the functional and technical aspects of a WMS, but warehouse operations and processes. With 24-hour support, testing services, project management and WMS training, we provide everything you need to make your WMS implementation a success.
Call +44 (0)330 043 6407 or email email@example.com to start your WMS implementation journey, today.