Warehouse management systems are a major asset for companies that deal in product inventories or store products and materials in physical warehouses. New software has brought enormous innovations to the process of warehouse management, and those who are used to the paper-based systems of the old days will be amazed by how much can be automated today. Walking through a modern warehouse and seeing how traditional ledger-based and manual operations have been transformed with digital tools is an amazing sight.
One of the value-added components of WMS is the ability to effectively manage remote warehouses across a distributed business footprint. Those in control of the business won’t always be on the ground at a warehouse operation. The ability to manage warehouses remotely opens a lot of doors for business leaders. But how does a remote warehouse management solution actually work? We outlined some of the top aspects of how business planners utilize remote warehouse management solutions:
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One of the key challenges for remote warehouse management is tracking high volumes of goods and materials as they move from place to place. Some remote warehouse management software vendors call this ‘supply chain life cycle execution,’ as these resources assist the movement of stock into and out of a warehouse. Other tools have a particular focus on a given stage of inventory management. For example, some classic inventory management tools focus on real-time inventory tracking for products as they’re delivered to customers.
Regardless of how businesses use these tools, they offer the ability to manage a warehouse remotely. Bar code scanning or radio frequency ID tracking allow someone who isn’t at a physical warehouse to see precisely how much of a given product comes in, where it’s stored, how long it stays, and how much leaves in a given time frame. This type of advanced inventory management helps reduce the need for warehouse space by reducing the number of unnecessary in-stock products. It can also help with order fulfillment, dock processing and analyzing and tracking deliveries to a customer base. Inventory management and supply chain management are two of the biggest values for remote warehouse management systems.
Labor and Workforce Management
Another important element of these systems is the ability to manage staff in a warehouse.
Without these state-of-the-art tools, someone in a remote location would be hard-pressed to stay on top of what’s happening with staff. They wouldn’t know, without detailed phone calls, how many people might be on the current staff roster, how many are inside the building, or how many are slated to show up in a given day. They wouldn’t have insight into performance or productivity.
However, with modern tools, remote managers can see who is on site, and what work they are doing at a given time. With the right connection to standalone human resources, they can even get a sense of what a warehouse team looks like in terms of people’s background, experience and particular skill sets. All of this enables detailed management from a distance.
Backup and Data Maintenance Systems
In order to do all of this important warehouse management work, remote leaders have to be able to rely on a system to maintain itself despite obstacles. Backup and disaster planning systems are built for data redundancy, so that if something happens at the site, or the vendor experiences downtime, information is still preserved, and operations aren’t interrupted. Planning for downtime and system failure is a key feature of any remote warehouse management tool.
Accounting and Reporting Tools
Other elements of remote warehouse management focus on the money attached to a given material or product.
Some of the more sophisticated systems can tie the inventory tracking and product delivery assessment to finances. Some products can even integrate with accounting packages like QuickBooks. Others can connect users to Crystal Reports in order to build reporting formats that help business leaders understand what’s happening and plan ahead. Some of these systems also offer excellent data visualization tools, such as dashboards that show how much money is being made in a particular warehouse operation.
The Value of Real-Time Information
All of the above innovations can thrive on the modern principle of real-time information delivery. The quicker this data is relayed to remote managers, the more it can be used to fine-tune a warehouse operation. Again, these types of modern systems are relatively unprecedented and have emerged somewhat recently to enable all sorts of remote management and agile management opportunities.
Companies without modern warehouse managements systems should think about how these tools can help a production or warehousing company evolve. Remote warehouse management can provide good ROI for an investment in cutting-edge software products. And even better, it can put you on the front foot of industry innovation.