Warehouse Management Systems for Ecommerce Stores
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As your ecommerce business grows and gets more complex, managing a warehouse can be a challenge. Luckily, with the rise of dedicated warehouse management systems (WMS), any ecommerce business can run their warehouse(s) similar to leading retailers.
What is a Warehouse Management System?
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a type of software that monitors and controls daily operations in a warehouse. WMS software helps ensure inventory is received, stored, picked, packed, shipped, and replenished in the most efficient way possible.
How a warehouse management system optimises your ecommerce operation
By focusing on tasks like inventory counting, cost management, order statuses and more, a WMS can help you build a more automated warehouse that reduces manual rework. Your WMS acts as the backbone of your ecommerce warehouse and will ultimately reduce inefficiencies and help grow your business.
More accurate inventory counts
When done correctly, a WMS can tell you exactly how much inventory is currently stored in real-time to help avoid inventory shrinkage. This is done by scanning in barcodes of both new inventory and the retrieval of each unit picked in an order.
Better order efficiency
A WMS can integrate with your ecommerce platform to keep your stock updated at all times. You won’t have to worry about customers placing an order for an item that’s incorrectly listed as being in stock. With fewer errors around inventory, orders are moved at a faster speed with more accuracy.
More productive warehouses
Rework is a major cost to warehouses. If your team is spending time recounting inventory or repackaging products, your warehouse is burning through cash. When order counts are accurate and orders are being picked and shipped efficiently, your warehouse moves more fluidly.
While a WMS can seem expensive, it makes up for it with efficiency gains. The cost of labourers wasting time manually double-checking inventory, or moving inventory to the correct location is lowered when a WMS is implemented.
Enabled logistical growth
Customers want fast shipping. Are you able to offer 2-day shipping via ground across the country? With a WMS, you can accurately determine shipping times and check to see if expanded shipping options are viable for you. Ecommerce shops can grow when their operations are working at optimum efficiency.
[Related Article: How to Get the Most From a Warehouse Management System]
How ShipBob’s WMS Helps Your Business
Have your own warehouse? ShipBob has a best-in-class WMS helps you manage inventory in real time, reduce picking, packing, and shipping errors, and scale with ease.
With Merchant Plus, brands can even leverage ShipBob’s fulfilment services in any of ShipBob’s fulfilment centres across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia to improve cross-border shipping, reduce costs, and speed up deliveries. Request WMS pricing here.
ShipBob is also a 3PL that lets you outsource fulfilment entirely. Our fulfilment centres use our proprietary warehouse management software. Unlike on-demand warehousing platforms, with our technology, you will know what’s going on in the ShipBob warehouses where your products are stored at all times.
You can search orders by tracking number, destination country, the number of items it contains, filter by sales channel, fulfilment centre location, as well as get full transparency into performance such as fulfilment speed, orders fulfiled on time, error rates, orders shipped claim-free, and much more.
Inventory tracking is monitoring stock levels so you know which SKUs you have in your warehouse. This also includes knowing the exact locations in which you store them, or if they are in transit from a manufacturer or en route to a store.
Having the technology to set up real-time inventory counts in fulfilment centre(s) allows you to view the status of inventory you send to us, inventory on hand, and metrics on inventory performance.
Picking and packing
Picking and packing are the two core functions performed in a warehouse. Our WMS generates pick lists for each picker to retrieve items in the most efficient way. The picker will receive a packing slip indicating the items ordered and will collect the ordered products from their respective locations.
Here’s how it works:
- All items in an order are picked
- Order is handed off to a packer
- Packer securely places items in a box or mailer, while adding in packing materials
- A shipping label is placed on the box or poly mailer so it can be picked up by a courier and shipped to its destination
Receiving and stowing
All warehouses receive inventory via parcel or freight from trucks at loading docks, and then stow them away in a storage location. Our warehouse management system scans each new box received with the inventory quantities it has. Next is the warehousing process, where it will be brought to its short-term or long-term inventory storage location, where it will be scanned again.
Based on the delivery options and shipping services you offer to customers, shipping couriers like Australia Post will pick up orders from the fulfilment centre(s) to ship packages to their next destination.
Once the order ships, our warehouse management system automatically sends ecommerce order tracking information back to your store so your customers can track their shipments.
A dedicated 3PL takes warehouse management to the next level
Warehouse management is often complicated and can be expensive for ecommerce brands. So many brands choose to outsource the entire retail fulfilment process to a 3PL that provides multiple fulfilment warehouses, also known as fulfilment centres. Here are some of the advantages of working with a fulfilment partner to store inventory and ship orders.
Regional warehousing optimisation
Unless you have a distribution network the size of a major retailer, you are likely only shipping from one location. Partnering with a 3PL means you may have the option to store inventory in multiple fulfilment centres (they often have several locations) to reach a larger volume of customers faster.
If you ship nationwide, it is a smart choice to have warehouses from the East Coast to the West Coast. 2-day shipping is becoming the standard for shipping and customer expectations, so you must be able to ship effectively.
For example, ShipBob has a presence in the largest cities and regions across the US, so you can ship orders via ground to large populations very quickly. This helps meet customer expectations around 2-day shipping by reducing the amount of shipping zones a package must travel through.
Ecommerce order fulfilment services from a 3PL eliminates the most time-consuming logistics tasks (inventory storage, warehouse picking, packing, shipping, order tracking, replenishing supplies, returns, kitting, etc.) and the stress of managing a warehouse.
Reporting and insights
Using a 3PL’s technology, you will have insight into the entire order management process. You can see your inventory flow, including when inventory is being received, stowed or put away, picked, packed, shipped, and any other movement.
Say goodbye to complicated WMS software
At ShipBob, our incredibly easy-to-use software gives you insight into how your inventory and fulfilment are performing every day. As the leading 3PL for ecommerce businesses, we handle logistics for you, so you no longer have to worry about shipping, order fulfilment, managing a warehouse, and more.
ShipBob empowers you to run your ecommerce business with fulfilment centres near your customers and the tools to maintain control over inventory, orders, and shipments.
Ready to get started with a 3PL? Request a quote from ShipBob.
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