Is your business's warehousing software scalable?

23rd November 2018

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Picking warehouse management software that's capable of changing with your business is key. As your business expands, your software should be able to grow with it and support your entire supply chain.

A scalable software solution means it can do just that. You could start your business with 10 products and grow it to 1000 over time without having to manage a software transfer alongside your increasing sales. Similarly, if you start off wanting to record a simple inventory but want to expand it to manage your entire supply chain, you need business management software that can handle the change without complications.

That's why it's important that alongside listing your products, your warehouse management software is capable of supporting your entire warehouse operations, from the arrival of goods, to their storage and shipping. It should optimise your process so it's easy for you to stay on top of your stock, however you choose to use it.

Warehouse management software gives you an understanding not just of what you've bought and what you've sold, but what's happening in between and how.

Here we explain why scalable software is so valuable to your overall warehouse management and how to know if yours is truly scalable.

A tool that allows you to quickly locate each item of stock makes your entire warehouse operation more efficient.

1) It can tell you more than just how many products you've sold

A solution that enables you to keep on top of everything about your stock is crucial for large warehouses. This isn't just about the ability to keep track of a larger stock inventory, but about being able to change and improve the way your entire supply chain operates.

You might start off selling black shoes, but if you then expand into selling the same shoe in 3 different colours and a wide range of sizes, you might want to start recording more details about each item of stock you hold. All these additional details let you drill down further into how stock is performing and what key aspects drive your sales, as well as ship or reorder the right product more quickly.

Furthermore, as your business grows, a tool that allows you to quickly locate each item of stock makes your entire warehouse operation more efficient. Too much time is wasted in looking for misplaced stock, while profit is affected when items can't be found or orders fulfilled. With a system that helps you pinpoint stock from the moment it arrives to the day it's shipped, your operations are as efficient as possible and your customer orders satisfied within your promised delivery dates.

Warehouse workers deciding on the most efficient method to fulfil individual orders.A good warehouse management systems allows you to choose the most efficient method to fulfil individual orders.

2) Shipping and stock management are part of the same system

Beyond knowing what's in your storage facility, having a shipping system attached to your warehouse software allows you to streamline the way you do business without migrating to a new business management solution.

With your shipping consignments working from the same database as your stock management, it's possible to direct the most efficient picking method for your warehouse. Modern warehouse management software allows you to organise orders to be batch or cluster picked according to the orders you have going out, and the resources you have available to fulfil them.

Having one system to manage two aspects of your warehouse operations provides real-time data, an accurate picture of stock and up-to-date knowledge of your storage space and options.

It also means you can keep track of stock that's being shipped between sites or branches, so that those products don't fall off your radar and create more work later down the line.

Business efficiency relies on good data.

3) You can produce detailed reporting

As your business changes, it might be important for you to be able to put your hands on easy-access data with a few clicks. Business efficiency relies on good data and an understanding of how your warehouse is working as it stands.

Being able to output this data in workable formats, direct from your stock system means you know it's completely up-to-date, which allows you to draw useful conclusions about workflow and productivity, and where you can improve efficiency.

You can use this data to inform your day-to-day operations too, ranking priority orders so that they are shipped first, or identifying products that need reordering soonest.

As well as general overviews, a scalable solution should be able to report on additional product aspects (such as colour and size of shoe) as you start recording them, to give you the ability to break down the details.

While you might not need all of these reports when you first start your business, it's crucial to know that your system can cope with this kind of demand as you grow.

Graphs and data in a warehouse management system.Warehouse management software keeps track of your stock from the day it arrives to the moment it's shipped, helping you understand how to work efficiently.

4) Multiple warehouses and branches

Over 50 per cent of business surveyed by Software Connect manage multiple warehouses. It's therefore important that any warehouse management software can help you manage more than one premises without switching between systems. 

With this type of functionality, you can organise stock appropriately and report on branch management individually or together, in identical formats. Identify which warehouses need more stock, are fulfiling orders more quickly or can make improvements.

5) It's accessible from anywhere with cloud-based technology

As your business grows, so will the number of users and the locations at which they're based. Cloud-based software supports scalability by being available to multiple users at various locations. Office staff can access data without being on the same site as the warehouse, you can work from home or check-in during business meetings.

It's also worth looking for software that has a mobile or tablet app, so you can access it quickly and easily when you're on the move or in client meetings. 

About Advanced Business Manager

Advanced Business Manager is a tool that caters for your entire business management. Our stock and warehousing management systems focus on single-entry work flow with comprehensive tracking. We want to free your time to focus on other aspects of your business, while ABM looks after your stock.

If it suits your business, you can get started with our core system and add the modules you need at a time that's right for you. Get in touch with our team today for a free demo.