Traditionally, still, more than 45% of the global warehouse management is being done manually or with the help of on-site systems. This approach to warehouse management as it relied on the effectiveness of face-to-face communications, unfortunately, was put to test in these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, when most of the operations were forced to be supervised remotely or maintain social distancing norms. Which has in a way helped in putting the focus on the need for businesses to adopt technological changes and embrace remote management. The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to accelerate the already existing need for businesses to shift their warehouse management to a more automated and remote setup.
In the US alone, lack of mobility or technology accounted for a $46.8billion inventory loss in 2018, and that was even before the pandemic hit us. So, you can very well imagine how the scenario would have been in these challenging times. Many traditional industries today have faced the issues of being too stubborn to change or deciding on technology implementations for their warehouses and distribution centers too late. In this scenario, adopting a more digitalized approach and shifting to a remote warehouse management system at a time when facility access and travel have been limited, seems like a no-brainer. Business and technological needs have not come to a standstill because of the pandemic. In fact, COVID-19 has only increased the need for an efficient and reliable remote WMS even further.
What is Remote Warehouse Management?
Remote warehouse management is all about a digitalized warehouse management that is powered by real-time data and a highly connected setup. In simple words, it happens when the analysis, review, and decision making for all your warehouse operations or inventory levels or order consolidation, labor productivity etc., can be managed beyond the boundaries of a warehouse. Remote warehouse management apart from being a control tower for warehouse operations overlooking the processes such as receiving, tracking, and storing inventory. In addition, remote WMS can also help businesses and the management stakeholders oversee important decision-making areas like labor management, order fulfillment, process automation, and logistics planning.
Features & Benefits of Remote Warehouse Management
Increasingly, businesses across numerous industries are embracing remote-based warehouse management solutions to increase their efficiency and productivity in all operational areas related to warehousing. And if you are still in doubts about the actual benefits of a remote warehouse management setup, below are some of the benefits we have jotted down to help you decide further:
Better Accuracy and Efficiency
A remote warehouse management setup powered by a cloud-based WMS allows you to have real-time visibility into inventory stocks, thereby ensuring high accuracy levels across your global warehouses. Connected warehouse setup ensures that handheld devices like barcode scanners used by your available workforce in the warehouses provide you with the most accurate and real-time inventory data on your remote WMS platform, These data and connected devices in turn also helps the warehouse workforce to handle the right products quickly and efficiently. Implementing a remote warehouse management system can boost the accuracy and efficiency of a warehouse by up to 25%. This reduces the risk of inventory shrinkage and improved efficiency can directly lead to improved speed and enhanced customer service. In supply chain management, speed is a critical aspect, especially for distribution centers serving consumers and retailers. Having a cloud-based automated warehouse management system allows for orders to be processed and fulfilled within 30-40% less hours than warehouses that are still operating in the pen and paper model. In turn, this gives a business its competitive advantage.
Better use of storage space
Due to the high demand for space, the easiest solution a business can implement is to optimize the space it already has. Using remote automated warehouse management can help a company reduce its required floor space by up to 40%.
Supporting the integration of machines and robots, a cloud-based WMS helps free up square footage by storing goods at heights that would normally be unsafe for human reach or might be missed by workers. The software can also maximize the use of the existing space, leaving only narrow aisles through which automated guide vehicles can access different sections of the warehouse.
With an efficient cloud-based WMS, inventory managers have greater control over their inventory through their ability to perform in-depth analysis and accurate forecasting. Proper forecasting allows a business to reduce the risk of overstocking which would lead to reduced storage, thus giving a business more flexibility.
Improved return on investment (ROI) on available warehouse labor
Over time, the implementation of a robust remote warehouse management system will not only result in efficiency through increased automation but will also produce a better return on investment (ROI) from the existing warehouse workforce. The higher ROI is primarily generated from the efficiencies yielded by the workforce/labor management module of an efficient cloud-based WMS. This use of cloud integration further reduces the hassles of labor planning, productivity analysis, and managing on-the-floor activities by allowing easy access to necessary insights from anywhere. Logistics leaders have the access to their warehouse operational metrics and the workload of their workforce available at their fingertips to make necessary adjustments and decisions even from a faraway place when travel is not possible. A cloud-based WMS allows a business to better manage its resources. Any process error or bottlenecks can be recognized instantly and avoid it causing huge delays and high incurred costs. Thereby increasing the warehouse workforce productivity and sustaining its growth.
Especially in times of sudden demand sprout like the pandemic or peak seasons and due to e-commerce boom, businesses need to have insightful data available with them to accommodate the resources based on their abilities for a faster, smoother, and smarter operation. So that even during the high order processing rates they know what point of their process needs how many more resources and who are his best choices to be put in each process as an extra hand. Similarly in normal times.
So have you tried the remote warehouse management setup yet? If not, then what is stopping you? Let’s discuss, maybe our logistics experts can help you in reducing the barriers to entry into the digitalized remote WMS world. Because it is the future. A connected, real-time, and smarter warehouse is not just an option anymore, it's a matter of whether you want to play catchup and risk losing customers or you want to go ahead in the race.
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President and CEO, Highway 905
Srini Vaidy is the President and CEO of the award-winning, cloud-based logistics technology provider Highway 905. He is an established innovator in the Supply Chain & Logistics space, with an ever-dying passion for coding and technology. For more than 30 years he has been ideating customer-centric and efficiency-driven supply chain execution solutions for the Fortune 500 to help them optimize their logistics costs and strengthen their competitive market position. With one eye on technological trends and the other on the happenings in the logistics space, he likes providing readers with an interesting perspective on the future of logistics industry.