Nov 30, 2023 / BY microlistics

Making the most of warehouse ROI: empowering scalability through evolutionary change

The pandemic has emphasized a crucial lesson – global economic factors can lead to unpredictable fluctuations in demand. For international freight forwarders, 3PLs, retailers, manufacturers, and brand warehousers, the capacity to adapt and scale as needed is paramount in effectively navigating an uncertain market.

The warehouse, a critical component of any business fulfilling orders to downstream buyers and end consumers, is a key starting place for adding flexibility and optimization across the supply chain. Today, a well-designed Warehouse Management System (WMS) can empower businesses to adopt an ongoing and proactive management approach, rather than resorting to reactive, one-time overhauls.

As we explored in our previous blog, prioritizing cost minimization of core processes during initial WMS implementation can yield faster ROI, paving the way for continuous growth and agility. But where is this ROI best invested? We discuss some scalable areas you can prioritise to enhance efficiencies and boost throughputs – all without the need for significant investment.

Empower warehouse worker efficiency

Human operators play a pivotal role in driving most warehouse operations. While much of their manual tasks have been converted into system-guided and streamlined activities through the WMS, it remains critical to empower speed and efficiency.

A workforce equipped with RF scanners can help solidify the intelligence, process adherence, and step-by-step verification of warehouse management, all while delivering tasks in real time.

In addition, this strategy is highly scalable. When it comes to onboarding new staff or expanding warehouse space to accommodate specific demand trends, the process becomes simpler and quicker when operational knowledge is seamlessly transferred from the “tribe” to the “system.”

Future-proof your processes and warehouse space to handle peak periods

Operating within an often unstable market means warehouses must be one step ahead when it comes to managing their inventory and floor space.

To do this, it is critical to take regular deep dives into order history. Identifying the ebbs, flows, and velocity of fulfilment is critical to making smarter decisions. This means keeping fast moving items closer to dispatch areas to minimize travel time. In addition, grouping products that are often bought together can reduce the effort needed for common everyday orders.

The best part of these strategies is that it goes beyond just reducing cost to serve during regular periods of demand; but can act as a safety net for when the demand goes through the roof.

Tackle cost-to-serve on every side of warehouse fulfilment processes

Going beyond initial warehouse functions can rapidly set your business apart from the pack. With today’s rise of eCommerce, establishing closer links to order initiation and real-time marketplace connections doesn’t just speed up order receipt and execution but also minimizes the need for data entry tasks, decreasing the likelihood of errors.

When it comes to delivery, integrating with multi-carrier parcel management can yield significant resource and cost savings, especially in times of high parcel volumes, stretched carrier capacity, and escalating rates and accessorial fees.

What to look for in a WMS to ensure scalability

Finding a comprehensive WMS that offers all of these capabilities can be daunting. However, a cloud-based WMS is a good place to start and offers a key advantage – ongoing optimization. With this approach, logistics operators have the option of outsourcing critical, but time-consuming aspects of their business including security, redundancy and admin, freeing up internal teams to focus on more impactful core business functions.

It can also integrate with existing supply chain and business management systems, giving a boost to an existing setup rather than needing an entirely new operating system.

What’s more, cloud-based WMS often follows a modular approach, offering the flexibility to activate various capabilities when the business is actually ready to implement them. This scalability ensures your WMS can evolve with your business, adapting to changing needs and challenges to enhance warehouse operations and sustainability over time.

Ensure your warehouse is ready, willing and able to respond to business fluctuations

Adaptability and scalability are vital in today’s volatile global economy. Empowering your workforce, optimizing inventory, embracing technology, and utilizing a cloud-based WMS are key strategies. Implementing these key measures can ensure you continue to delight customers, buyers and consumers in an ever-changing logistics world.

If you want to learn more about the evolutionary approach to warehouse change and discover strategies that can expedite your warehouse operations, explore our eBook, “Three Strategies to Fast-track and Increase Initial and Ongoing Return on Warehouse Investment”.


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