Real talk: the right way to digitize your warehouse

Digitizing warehouse

It may come as no surprise to learn that many companies with warehouses operate with inefficient and outdated processes, ultimately costing them valuable time and money. The call for these companies to digitize their logistical operations to keep up with the modern economy has never been louder. To appropriately meet customer expectations and get a leg up on the competition, businesses are forced to analyze how they do things and quickly adapt.

It’s become increasingly vital for businesses to be malleable in order to keep their heads above water -- let alone perform at a higher level. We’re at a point in which it’s simply a given that companies need to digitize to survive, and supply chain departments would be particularly ill-advised to wait any longer to adapt their systems.

Beyond updating the physical equipment in the warehouse (think AGVs and RFID), doing an internal operational systems update will be the key to your success.

It may be time to digitize your warehouse operations if:
  • Your order volume has been on the rise.
  • Your order cycle times are too long.
  • You require more flexibility in your replenishment processes.
  • You lack important supply chain data in order to properly evaluate your practices.
  • You interface with picking systems (manual, pick-to-light, pick-to-voice).
  • Your business needs to begin delivering on omnichannel distribution strategies effectively.
  • You have multiple internal processes that could be standardized.
The advantages are clear:
  • Going paperless is beneficial to the environment, all while making organizational processes smoother and standardized.
  • The self-auditing nature of supply chain software will automatically check for inconsistencies and other issues that may arise, notifying you as they happen.
  • Minimizing human error and delay means faster time to fulfillment and time to insight.
  • Automatically collecting and aggregating your data will allow you to analyze your processes and improve on them, year after year.

An effective warehousing system will bring your existing operational framework into the digital universe. Of course, doing this in a way that doesn’t disrupt the day-to-day operations will be instrumental in your success.

Seldat’s Director of Warehouse Operations, Wesley Cooper, weighed in on the transition process.

“With any transition from manual process to more system driven, you should expect less labor cost, more efficiency, and less human errors,” said Cooper. “Unfortunately, during the transition, it is ideal to continue the current process at the same time as implementing the new process, so expect a slightly heavier workflow for a short period of time.”

Cooper has over 9 years of warehouse operations experience and has overseen warehouse digitization for multiple 3PL clients and across industries.

From a long-term perspective, the impact of switching over to a digital warehouse management system is more than worthwhile for businesses. According to Cooper, businesses that have made the switch can expect overall growth, reduced labor costs, and better ratings in their SLA (service level agreement) performance, to name a few.

If you’re faced with higher volumes, a wider variety of products, and shipments moving faster than ever, congratulations! This is the sign of a healthy business! But, the truth is, failing to adapt to the new digital age of supply chain management puts your customer relationships at risk, and they will take their business elsewhere when they realize that working with you is inefficient.

Talk to one of STS's expert 'Supply Chain Brains' with an introductory chat about how to digitize your warehouse today. Or, sign up for a free demo of our proprietary WSM360 software today!