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How does a WMS benefit the publishing industry?

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Warehouse and workers

Changing demands, inventory management issues, increased competition, and a lack of know-how. Your publishing house is likely facing one, several or all of these challenges, right? Even more so if you are a small or medium-sized publishing company. You're not alone, and the good news is you can do something to counteract these challenges and stay competitive.

It's often the case that one of these challenges lead to the next, but a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can help to change the cycle. If you're finding that managing your extensive inventory, processing orders promptly, and meeting customer demands and expectations is becoming problematic, a WMS will prove to be a game changer for your publishing house.

Here's how:

#1 - Enhanced inventory management

In an article published by Publishers Weekly, there was an argument made that publishers 'have to get back to basics with inventory management'. Inventory is arguably one of the largest assets on your balance sheet, right? That's why efficient inventory management should be at the heart of our publishing operation.

Insufficient inventory can delay or lose you sales. Equally, too much inventory increases your costs and can lead to storage capacity issues. A WMS can help you get the balance right. With the right forecasting, planning and visibility, you can manage your inventory far more efficiently.

Warehouse inventory management

This is exactly what a WMS gives you, real-time visibility. You are equipped to make informed decisions about stock levels, which reduces the risk of stockouts and overstocking. With precise inventory information at your fingertips, you can optimise purchasing, reduce carrying costs, and improve your cash flow.

#2 - Streamlined order fulfilment

We understand that distribution giants like Amazon have made it harder for independent and smaller publishing houses to match or even compete when it comes to order fulfilment. That said, a WMS helps to level the playing field and increase customer satisfaction. The fact is, Amazon can only do what it does because of a highly efficient WMS.

Order fulfilment within a warehouse

The best way to make your order processing faster is to implement a WMS. Why? Immediately, it will help to optimise picking, packing and shipping, which tend to be the most time-intensive part of any supply chain.

A WMS can optimise warehouse picking routes, suggest efficient packing methods and even automate the creation and printing of shipping labels - things that would take us mere mortals a little longer. By eliminating manual processes and reducing errors, you immediately reduce order fulfilment times.

Plus, most WMS solutions offer order tracking capabilities, keeping you informed about the status of your shipments at all times. The outcome is a better experience for your customers, increased loyalty and increased competitiveness in the market.

#3 - Improved warehouse productivity

Routine and time-consuming warehouse tasks can be automated by a WMS. Rather than wasting resources on mind-numbing manual data entry, inventory counts or order verification, your warehouse staff can focus on value-adding activities.

Forklift moving boxes in a productive manor

For example, barcode scanning and automated data capturing capabilities means that a WMS can give you accurate, real-time inventory updates. No more manual record-keeping. The result is more orders processed in less time. Overall productivity is improved, and you cut your costs.

#4 - Greater accuracy and fewer errors

The picking error rate in warehouses is anywhere between 1 and 3%. Put that in a financial context for your publishing house and losses can amount to tens or even hundreds of thousands. These errors are often the result of manual inventory management processes, which can result in incorrect shipments, lost items, and inaccurate inventory records.

Warehouse barcode scanner for picking and packing systems

A WMS represents an upgrade, helping to minimise the risk of errors by automating key processes, and implementing barcode scanning or RFID technology. Each of your items will be assigned a unique identifier, which enables accurate tracking and reduces the chances of misplacement or miscounts.

Scanning barcodes or RFID tags ensures that the right items are picked and packed, significantly reducing errors. Real-time inventory updates further enhance accuracy by providing instant visibility into stock levels and preventing stockouts. With a WMS, you can eliminate costly mistakes, improve customer satisfaction, and maintain a positive reputation.

#5 - Better use of space

No doubt you deal with a diverse range of book titles, editions, and related merchandise, right? It's all got to be stored somewhere, so space management is a must. A WMS introduces intelligent space management. By analysing item characteristics, demand patterns, and turnover rates, the system suggests the most suitable storage locations.

Warehouse environment with a forklift

This optimisation helps you maximise warehouse space, reducing congestion and improving accessibility. Furthermore, a WMS provides insights into inventory turnover rates, allowing you to make informed decisions about stock rotation and storage allocation.

#6 - The know-how

Many publishing houses know that something needs to change for them to make them competitive and to keep up with changing customer demands. The problem is, they don't know where to start and lack the in-house resources and skillset to make anything happen.

A WMS immediately takes the pressure off. Not only does a WMS give you a platform on which to grow and scale, your WMS provider partners with you on the journey. They are the folks that carry the know-how and will work with you for the entirety of your WMS implementation and beyond.

Make your WMS implementation a success with Prime Horizon Group

Prime Horizon Group working with a client on a WMS

Selecting and implementing a WMS for your publishing house can be daunting without support. Prime Horizon Group is an official Blue Yonder WMS implementation specialist. With consultants based in the UK, Europe and APAC, we can support you through the entire WMS implementation project cycle and beyond.

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 to start your WMS implementation journey, today.

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