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Automation and improvement

Warehouse management systems continue to evolve and the stock management software components of multifunctional and unified retail management systems have helped to transform warehouse inventory management, replenishment timings and pick and pack processes. Early adopters amongst retailers have used these systems to further leverage the benefits of omnichannel eCommerce. 

Managing a warehouse, as a distinct function, has seen huge changes in principles and practice over the past decade and the benefits of these new ideas and innovations are now more readily available from a whole host of software vendors, all of whom come at it slightly differently. Working out which one is best for you takes some thinking and so this article is aimed at providing some insights to guide you. 

RMS by Iconography
RMS by Iconography

Did you know that our Unified Commerce platform mixes eCommerce, RMS, CRM and EPoS to provide an award winning omnichannel solution?

It combines all of these into a single system with a single database for stock management for 100% stock visibility across all channels. 

Would you like to know more? ›

Why invest in a warehouse management system?

Studies show that retailers can lose up to 14% of their customers because they didn’t have an item in stock. At the very least your inventory management capabilities must help you keep shops and websites stocked with accurate information on products that your customers actually want to buy.


Increasing warehouse efficiency

How quickly and efficiently your retail operation can fulfil precious and hard won orders is fundamental to meeting your basic commitments to the transaction with your customer. And it’s the first next step, after persuading them to buy from you, in delighting them with a positive experience which will help retain them as a customer for future orders and lead to them recommending you to others. 

When has it not been important to increase warehouse efficiency? Now with smarter and more affordable  stock management software you can create things like system directed picks for getting goods out, and provide better organised rules for organising goods in. This alone can help to significantly reduce wasted time spent hunting for products you thought you had. Combine this with much better accuracy on what and where the inventory is or needs to be and you can be saving time in the warehouse and elsewhere in the business because the debilitating knock-on effects of wrong stock, wrong place are eliminated. 


Benefits of effective warehouse inventory management

More effective and efficient warehouse systems lead to real money savings on basic operating costs as well as reducing the waste of holding inventory unnecessarily.


Boost replenishment and picking efficiency

An efficient replenishment cycle means lost sales can be minimised and fulfilment lead times reduced.  Buyers are rightly concerned with making sure they get timely replenishment of stock. Make sure your system has the right logic built-in and introduce automation where you can. 

Maximise storage utilisation

A rigorous approach to understanding capacity, differential stock turnover rates and workflow management means the stock management software can automate in the right places and support staff in delivering efficiencies and optimising the warehouse inventory management. 


Real time view on stock

A single real-time view of product availability, warehouse location and sales channel means you can handle and manage store transactions, web and phone order processing, as well as returns in one system. You reduce the risk of overselling or missing sales and at any one time you can see what your remaining stock is worth.

Optimum picking efficiency

Additional levels of classification can also be helpful e.g. location codes assigned to racks. This means the warehouse user is able to go around with a handheld mobile device and scan the goods into that location. The stock is then held on the system with that location identifier until the goods are sold for delivery or transferred to another warehouse or store.


Choosing a warehouse management system - what to look for

Firstly it’s a good idea to understand where you are now by assessing what’s going well and what’s not. For a more detailed guide to approaching this see our related eBook: RMS Review, Planning for retail success with a Retail Management Systems Review. When evaluating the features and functions of warehousing management software it pays to look closely at how the system works in detail in relation to your particular commercial and business needs. 


A unified system

Warehousing system management is at its best when part of a suite of essential retail management functions delivered by a single coherent software system offering enterprise-level eCommerce, POS and warehouse inventory management. The old method where a retailer could spend at least a third of their time entering orders, updating accounts and combining data manually across systems is obsolete and should no longer be tolerated.


Stock location functionality

A good system will allow management to review inventory across multiple locations and types (store and/or warehouse). In the physical space it’s critical to optimise your warehouse operations by making sure you have everything arranged in a way that is well considered and follows the logic and flow of what’s coming in and going out. This includes combining adequate storage with enough space for staff to move around safely and complete their job roles. Then make sure the stock management software you select is easy to use and provide your staff with the training to get the most from it.


Live inventory updates

Real-time stock visibility helps to give confidence on the accuracy of inventory and the potential for successful order fulfilment.  Product information, stock levels, stock locations, refunds and return options available to staff and customers at store-level help to drive better margins and topnotch customer loyalty.  


Reporting features

More accurate real-time sales reporting supports a strategic and data-driven approach to making decisions about how to achieve the retail growth you want. On a day-to-day level it’s about knowing what stock you have, where it is and whether it’s allocated to a transaction. In the warehouse it’s about answering the questions “what is it we need? Have we got it? And where is it?"


Best warehouse management systems

The best warehousing management software is the one that works for you across features and functions, service levels and price. Comparing like with like between vendors on features and functions is not always easy. And the service promise you will need to take on trust as you won't know about for sure until after you receive it - or not. Being clear about your aims and objectives will help enormously to find a path through the various options. That and your own instinct for picking suppliers will lead you to the right decision.


““OMNIS is an end-to-end omnichannel commerce platform – a single coherent software system, offering enterprise-level eCommerce, EPoS, CRM and a suite of essential retail management functionality to optimise your operations and drive business growth.”  ”

OMNIS

The unified approach from OMNIS will remove the limitations, constraints and operational inefficiencies associated with integrating an eCommerce website with offline POS and legacy back-office retail and warehousing management software.


Key features

  • Sales order processing

  • Purchase order processing

  • Automated min/max stock re-ordering

  • No integrations required

  • Multiple stock unit types

  • Centralised inventory management

  • Real-time stock updates across every channel when stock is delivered

  • Real-time stock updates across every channel when items are sold

  • Specify stock locations for warehouse management (picking and packing)

  • Flexible fulfilment

  • Barcode scanning

  • Purchase orders per store or channel

  • Purchase and supplier management 

  • Changes to stock history


““Brightpearl is an omnichannel retail management platform for inventory management, order processing and fulfilment, contact relationship management, and accounting automation.” It claims to offer  “Everything you need to streamline the back office, from order management, to replenishment, retail accounting, inventory, warehouse management and more.” ”

Brightpearl

Brightpearl have come a long way since their early days of 2008 when founder Chris Tanner got fed up with the lack of flexibility in systems to support his Lush Longboards retail business. Now with multiple rounds of finance under their belt and with the momentum driven strongly from the US HQ in Austin Texas they have a strong offer.


Key features

  • Barcode scanning 

  • Inventory counts

  • Workflow Automation

  • Flexible fulfilment 

  • Integrations available

  • Sales order management 

  • Purchase and supplier management 

  • Customer service and accounting


““Innware is innov8's fully featured, real-time warehouse management solution (WMS) designed by our software experts with warehousing industry knowledge and background””

Innov8

By leveraging the commercial module within Sage, innware optimises stock accuracy and increases warehouse efficiency. Embracing the use of the handset technology, innware allows warehouse staff to find the correct product they need to pick first time. By driving warehouse efficiency, reducing picking errors and returns, innware will help increase customer satisfaction and profitability. 


Key features

  • Real time stock control

  • Barcode scanning

  • Sales order processing

  • Purchase order processing

  • Pallet/bulk storage management

  • Pick Management

  • Dispatch of stock

  • Quarantine facility

  • Returns facility

  • Route Planning

  • Integrations available


Meeting customer expectations

Succeeding in omni-channel retail means making the right investments in systems that allow a single view of the customer, inventory, and orders so that you can deliver the end-to-end experience customers expect. In the 2020s this is no longer a competitive advantage, but a basic requirement to thrive. 

Modern systems offer much greater flexibility and opportunities for automation and data-driven replenishment and reordering. Be sure to evaluate carefully just how detailed and flexible the system is in meeting your goals.

Eliminate duplication of effort by centralising product, sales and customer data in one system that feeds all of your retail channels. Solve inventory and order management issues by using real-time stock and sales reports and automated purchase order creation.


Finding the right system

When you’re shopping around for the system that’s the best fit for your business, and to ensure that you’re investing in the best product for your current and future needs, be sure to ask vendors the questions outlined in our eBook: Choosing the best Unified Retail Management System


OMNIS was born out of the needs of a leading direct to consumer brand to support their online and instore retailing formats in the UK market. They were facing the same problems and challenges that present obstacles for any retailer.

As a progressive and forwarding thinking brand, our client wanted to remove the limitations, constraints and operational inefficiencies associated with integrating an eCommerce website with offline EPoS and legacy back office retail software.

We quickly saw the vast potential OMNIS possessed. It’s a need we’ve recognised with many other retailers and DTC brands that have similar aspirations and want to remove the restrictions of old retail technology and software.

In OMNIS you can create multiple warehouses with any number of locations, place purchase orders and complete stock transfers. We have a full range of reporting and administrative control suite. Together, these give you complete control and oversight over your stock across all channels.


Online and instore retail
Online and instore retail

OMNIS Retail is a pioneering new retail solution that has been driven by D2C brands & niche retailers looking to the future. A single database eliminates any data integration issues between outdated systems, instead providing a cloud-based omnicommerce retail solution fit for the 21st century.

Would you like to know more? ›