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Why a retail WMS is crucial to your warehouse operations

The success of your retail business no doubt hinges on effective inventory management and control. The problem is, your inventory is constantly changing, and there are so many things that are affecting your inventory levels. Daily sales, returns, new receipts, damage and theft all play their part in fluctuating inventory levels. The question is, how do you stay in control?

That's where a retail Warehouse Management System (WMS) will prove to be A gamechanger for your business. In fact, retail companies are among the top five in the world to implement a WMS to improve inventory management.

According to the Aberdeen Group, retail companies using a WMS experienced a 32% reduction in labour costs, while 26% saw a drop in their inventory costs. In the world of retail, these kind of cost savings bring a significant boost to bottom lines. But that's not all a WMS has to offer your retail business.

Here are some other ways a WMS can add value to your company:

1. Enhanced Customer Experience

The customer experience is everything in retail. In an age of instant gratification and heightened customer expectations, you have a lot to live up to as a retailer. A WMS designed exclusively to suit your retail operation will contribute to improving the experience of your customers by ensuring order accuracy and on-time deliveries.

With streamlined order processing, reduced shipping errors, and real-time order tracking capabilities, customers receive their products promptly. This gives them a higher level of confidence in you, which leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth. This will ultimately drive sales growth and foster brand advocacy.

2. Better Inventory Management and Control

If customer experience is everything in retail, then effective inventory management and control is the foundation on which it's built. A retail WMS offers real-time visibility into your inventory levels, locations, and movements. You can track your stock from the moment it arrives at the warehouse right up until it is shipped to customers.

With accurate tracking and automated barcode scanning, the likelihood of stockouts or overstocking is significantly reduced, ensuring optimal stock levels and minimising carrying costs. Plus, a WMS provides alerts for low stock levels, allowing you to replenish inventory fast, avoiding stockouts and lost sales.

3. Order Fulfilment Optimisation

To maintain your competitiveness in the retail world, fast order fulfilment is the gold standard. A retail WMS gives you the tools you need to optimise your order fulfilment process by intelligently organising your orders based on factors such as priority, proximity to shipping areas, and available inventory.

This streamlines your picking and packing process, reducing the time it takes to process orders and improving overall order accuracy. Plus, by validating and cross-checking items during packing, a WMS minimises the risk of shipping errors, leading to higher customer satisfaction rates and a lower rate of returns.

4. Workforce Efficiency and Productivity

If there's one thing a WMS is guaranteed to reduce across your warehouse, it's human error. The reality is that human error and inefficiencies can have a significant impact on warehouse operations. Automating processes that are prone to human error will help to reduce mistakes and improve warehouse efficiency

A retail WMS can automate various tasks across your facility like:

● Inventory tracking

● Order processing

● Data entry

All this reduces the need for manual intervention and frees up your warehouse staff to focus on more complex and value-added activities. By optimising your labour resources, you can reduce overtime costs, enhance productivity, and allocate employees to tasks that require actual human expertise, ultimately driving operational efficiency.

5. Managing Warehouse Space

Your warehouse space is no doubt at a premium, especially if you have a big product range. Optimising the space you do have can't be underestimated, but trying to do it manually is completely impractical.

A retail WMS gives you advanced space optimisation capabilities by seeing things that you can't see. This enables you to determine the most efficient storage configurations based on product characteristics, demand frequency, and picking patterns.

By using the algorithms of a WMS, you can identify the best locations for each item, minimising travel distances and maximising storage capacity. This optimised space reduces the need for additional storage facilities, ultimately lowering warehousing costs.

6. Data-Driven Decisions

Want to make more informed decisions for your retail business? A WMS gives you accurate, up-to-date data on inventory levels, order volumes, picking times and other metrics that are crucial to the performance of your business.

This data can be leveraged to give you valuable insights into your warehouse operations that you otherwise wouldn't see using manual processes. You can identify bottlenecks and implement strategies for improvement.

Plus, data-driven analytics can aid in demand forecasting and inventory planning, ensuring that you have the right products in the right quantities at the right time. This proactive approach allows you to meet customer demands efficiently and minimise stock obsolescence or excess inventory.

Customer Experience First

Before anything else, implementing a WMS should be done on the basis of improving the customer experience. Customer demands and habits change rapidly, and your retail 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 retail businesses are implementing a WMS, largely because they help to futureproof their company. The same benefits are available to you. Think of a WMS as an investment in better inventory management and control, faster order fulfilment and labour efficiency, 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 retail WMS can be daunting without support. Prime Horizon Group is an official Blue Yonder WMS implementation specialist with experience of working with retail businesses. 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 to start your WMS implementation journey, today.

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