Trust me I am using a Warehouse Management System
When your warehouse data can be trusted, you have a solid foundation for continuous improvement initiatives. Data needs to be accurate. It needs to be up to date and timely. It needs to be easily accessible and shareable. A best of breed Warehouse Management System (WMS) improves all these factors, ensuring that the data you need to rely on is dependable, always available and of the highest possible quality.
Around three quarters of business executives admitted that they do not have a high-level of trust in their data, according to a study compiled by HFS Research. 89% of the same survey respondents also admitted that having a high level of data quality was absolutely critical for successful decision making.
Quality is multi dimensional and includes many variables. Data needs to be accurate. It needs to be up to date and timely. It needs to be easily accessible and shareable. A best of breed Warehouse Management System (WMS) improves all these factors, ensuring that the data you need to rely on is dependable, always available and of the highest possible quality.
Over time, when data is consistently poor quality, it leads to poor data trust, which can become a very significant problem inside organisations. It undermines confidence that individuals within an organisation have in their abilities to do a good job and over time, it erodes confidence in the organisation as a whole.
Take accuracy as a starter. Accurate data is one of the critical success factors in any warehouse, because incorrect information really does cost money in the most basic sense. For instance, if stock availability data is wrong and the items showing as available have actually already been sold, how can orders be dispatched to a customer on time? The same applies for manufacturers needing to pick for a production line. And there are plenty more instances where inaccurate warehouse data creates problems.
During our project work with warehouse managers, we encounter frequent problems with data trust. It typically occurs inside warehouses that are managed without a dedicated WMS solution. The company concerned might be using spreadsheets, or a legacy ERP system that relies on batch updates. In most cases, the data is being entered manually, which results in human error and delays in updating the back office systems. It means the information that sales operations and warehouse managers are using for their decision making and resource allocation isn’t up to date. If employees cannot rely on the accuracy of their data, it can lead to them by-passing business systems and creating their own alternative reporting or management systems. We see these problems all the time before companies start to use their WMS system.
Another issue contributing to poor data trust is the existence of data silos. These arise when business systems are not properly integrated and different departments or teams maintain separate databases. Introducing a WMS helps to break down data silos, because up to the second information, captured at source, can be shared across several business functions.
Here are six more ways a WMS helps to build data trust and why it is so important in a warehouse:
Inventory management – Data trust is essential for maintaining accurate inventory records. Inaccurate data can lead to discrepancies between the WMS records and the actual physical inventory in the warehouse. This can result in issues such as stockouts, overstock situations, and fulfilment errors, or delays to production for manufacturing companies.
Shipping orders on time and in full (OTIF) – Reliable data is critical in the order fulfilment process. Ensuring that the WMS has accurate information about product availability, location, and quantity helps prevent errors in picking and packing, reducing the likelihood of shipping late, or sending incorrect items to customers.
Labour and resource management – A WMS relies on data to optimise the allocation of resources, such as manpower, equipment, and storage space. Trustworthy data ensures that these resources are utilised efficiently, leading to cost savings and improved warehouse productivity.
Full visibility in real-time – Managers and staff need accurate information to monitor the status of orders, track inventory movements, and identify any potential issues in the supply chain. Reliable, trustworthy data ensures that stakeholders have confidence in the information presented by the WMS.
Customer excellence – Inaccurate data can lead to fulfilment errors and delayed shipments, negatively impacting customer satisfaction. By maintaining data trust in the WMS, businesses can enhance their ability to meet customer expectations and provide a seamless order fulfilment experience.
Auditing, compliance and reporting – Many industries including those that are highly regulated like food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals have compliance requirements related to inventory tracking and reporting. A WMS makes it straightforward to meet these compliance standards and facilitate accurate reporting for audits or other regulatory purposes.
When your warehouse data can be trusted, you have a solid foundation for continuous improvement initiatives. Using a WMS with real-time integration across the business, warehouse managers can analyse performance metrics, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes to enhance overall efficiency.
To learn how you can introduce the highest levels of data trust in your warehouse contact Indigo Software