How ERP Can Improve Your Warehouse Management
Learn how ERP can improve your warehouse management and help you take control of your processes more effectively and efficiently. This is all you need to know about ERP solutions for warehouse management.
What is ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a system that allows for the automation and integration of business processes across all industries. ERP tools cover various processes, including finance, human resources, distribution, manufacturing, services and more.
What Is a Warehouse Management System?
Your warehouse management system (WMS) controls all the storage and movement of your inventory while providing your organisation with updated, real-time data. This way, you know precisely where any piece of inventory is at any time. The WMS uses a range of features for its operations, including barcode scanners, mobile devices, and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
What Is the Difference Between a WMS and ERP?
The main difference between these two systems is that the WMS operates as a standalone system, requiring other supporting software for daily functioning, such as accounting and customer relationship management. ERP is a fully integrated solution with warehouse management capabilities.
What Are the Features of ERP for Warehouse Management?
If you’re in the manufacturing, distribution, or logistics industries, warehouse management is one of your core functions. Modern ERP software solutions empower such businesses and their partners with impactful features for ease of operations. Here are some of the ERP features that will directly improve the management of your warehouses:
- Stock tracking and management
- Sales and purchase order management
- Warehouse management and stock transfers
- eCommerce functionality
- Payment gateway functionality
- Integrations with other operational tools
- Intelligence reports and analytics
- Interactive, real-time management of activities and consumption
- Multi-channel order processing
- Inbound and outbound serial tracking, pick planning and consolidated picking, order pack-out, cross-docking, carton packing, RFID, and manifesting interfaces.
Benefits of ERP for Warehouse Management
ERP systems have evolved to the point that they’re starting to replace traditional warehouse management systems. Here’s a look at how ERP benefits warehouse management.
One of the primary ways in which ERP software enhances your warehouse’s management is through its inventory management features. ERP will track your inventory, automatically updating your records and eliminating the risk of lost stock. Other ways you benefit from inventory management include:
- Better visibility
You have access to real-time data (much of which is in the cloud) on all your current inventory, which allows for demand forecasts and identifying trends. By discovering which products are popular with customers and when you can better plan for future orders.
Because of your inventory’s improved visibility and traceability, you’re able to deal better with any product recalls. You can quickly identify and remove all recalled products, thereby protecting consumers – and your organisation.
- Just-in-time inventory
This feature allows for stock levels to be kept low and products to move quickly through the warehouse using ‘just-in-time’ orders. This means the product doesn’t sit for ages in the warehouse, and money isn’t lost on expired or damaged goods.
- Inbound/outbound optimisation
The ERP system has planning tools that optimise how inventory is moved around the warehouse. This allows you to determine the best date and time to receive shipment based on the equipment and staff available.
Through ERP software, you can give employees picking orders for more efficient warehouse operations. Employees can pick accurately and reduce wasted time. Updated picking orders can also be done when it comes time to move products, such as those that are more in demand.
By implementing ERP systems for warehouse management, you’re effectively getting rid of the tireless manual warehouse spreadsheets which need constant updating. This means that, with any changes made to the inventory, you won’t have to disrupt everything and physically update the spreadsheet. This is all presented on an easy-to-access visual dashboard which minimises the risk of error.
Through the ERP system, you’re able to customise the modules to fit your operations better. You can customise specific features related to quality control, cross-docking, sales, and transfer – whatever works for your particular business. You can also add and remove modules as you need.
Decrease Operating Expenses
There are so many ways that implementing an ERP system will save you in the long run. You’re able to keep track of all materials, products, and equipment for optimised workflow, reducing the need for manual operations. There is also so much more accuracy with ERP software as it reduces the risk of data redundancy and incorrect input.
Improved Customer Service
These improved operations – and the increased speed of operations – through ERP systems make it easier to provide better customer service and maintain great partner relations. Orders are delivered on time, feedback is provided quickly, and stock levels are maintained for an enhanced customer experience.
There is a wealth of valuable data retained on an ERP system designed for warehouse management, so it comes with enhanced security features. All employees will have access to individual user accounts when getting into the system, limiting the threat of theft and errors. In addition to the access requirements, ERP software also has user-based access levels so that not all employees have access to every part of the software, only what is necessary.
By streamlining warehouse operations – including incredibly complex processes – the ERP system frees up employees to focus on business-driven activities rather than wasting time on administrative duties. There is a quicker turnaround and a much higher return on investment.
Improved Staff Morale and Support
With employees not handling the mundane warehouse operations and dealing with more content customers, your employee morale will drastically improve. They feel more in control at work and a lot less stressed. And, because ERP systems are relatively standardised, they’re easy to learn and easy to use.
Better Billing Management
Your ERP system will have billing management tools that allow you to track all financial transactions within the warehouse and generate accurate fees. You can also connect to other eCommerce platforms for extensive financial operations.
The software is always improving, which means that your business is also continually improving! Through continuous software updates, you’re gaining access to new features that keep you ahead of the game while also reducing the need for in-house IT employees.
The increasing decentralisation of work and remote operations means employees will need to access warehouse management software from afar. ERP software comes with a mobile-friendly interface that can be accessed from handheld devices. This mobile deployment gives employees access to purchase orders, inventory, and raw materials. And, because there are real-time updates, you’re able to access the latest information at all times.
What to Consider When Choosing ERP Warehouse Management Software
You’ve learnt of all the benefits of implementing ERP for warehouse management, so now it’s time to consider which ERP software to invest in. However, before making this decision, here’s a look at some important factors in ERP selection.
Determine Your Warehousing Needs
ERP for warehouse management is industry-specific, so you need to be looking at ERP software designed for this particular industry. Added to this are your specific warehousing requirements. You need to analyse exactly what features are needed for your particular business operations and how ERP software can actually help. What are your warehousing goals? What are the challenges currently being experienced? What are the crucial warehousing operations you want to be automated? Once you have a better understanding of your warehousing needs, you can hone in on the ERP system for you.
Determine the Scalability
No business owner wants their business to stagnate, so it’s vital that you consider your potential warehousing growth when looking at your ERP software options available. You know what features you currently need, but you will also need to consider your future needs – how will your business grow, and is the ERP system capable to accommodate this growth? Look for an ERP solution with continuous improvement and scalability.
Consult With Stakeholders
Your stakeholders and employees will need to give input on this impactful business decision as they, too, have intimate knowledge of the business operations, areas for growth and improvement. By getting everyone on board from the start, you’re ensuring a much more seamless integration of the new ERP system and less disruption to daily operations.
Consider Software Integration
Your warehouse management ERP software may need to integrate with existing operational software. If this is the case, you’ll need to check with the ERP vendor whether this is possible so that you’re not starting everything from scratch. Point-to-point integration connects ERP with other software, whereas customised applications work with your business needs and integrate various tools. There are also Enterprise Services Buses (ESBs) that connect applications using centralised tools.
You might have found the ideal ERP software, but you need to ask about the training and support provided by your ERP supplier. This allows you to take full advantage of the ERP software features and keep adapting as the software updates. Omni Accounts is a leading ERP software provider, ready to meet all your warehouse management needs!