Warehouse management systems are now called upon to perform omni-channel fulfilment functions regularly by distributors, retailers and even manufacturers. As new demands are placed on the software, it has developed new capabilities to match.
WMSs (warehouse management systems) were a fairly mature technology even before the omni-channel movement, and have risen to this new challenge rather well overall. This has always been a market subject to rapid change, so rapid development from the top names is to be assumed. DMG Freight Services advises on how to improve your omni-channel fulfilment services.
The e-commerce boom has changed the face of retail in a hundred ways. The shippers of retail goods are now more focused than ever on providing a good, and well integrated, customer experience and on reaching their market across a wide variety of channels. Customers demand the ability to shop via desktop, mobile devices, and good old fashioned brick and mortar showrooms. They expect top-notch customer service, exchanges, refunds and other support no matter what mode of interaction they choose. Indeed, this choice is what they demand most.
Distributors and manufacturers are using the same tactics to better interact with their wholesale customers, and those who offer truly seamless multi- or omni-channel user experiences are seeing the same kinds of success. Because all of these channels come together in the warehousing and distribution centre, a good WMS is the key to a good omni-channel experience, for anyone.
So how can your business implement a good Omni-channel experience?
A proper omni-channel approach demands more than just managing inventory at the distribution centre. It needs to encompass a total awareness of goods at every stage in the supply chain, at rest, in transit, and on the shelves. Stores, whether virtual or physical, must be treated as fulfilment points. This means that each channel must be able to handle a large volume of customer service and returns, even for items purchased through a different channel. A product bought online may be returned to the customer service desk or, increasingly, vice-versa. A proper omni-channel WMS must be able to deal with that demand, and do so smoothly and easily.
As a result, some systems are beginning to model stores as warehousing and distribution points, where orders can be picked, packed, and delivered locally. On the other hand, some systems are allowing manufacturers to send individual, single-item orders as easily as they commonly send whole pallets or whole truckloads.
The top developers of WMSs are moving towards ever increasing flexibility, and many experts project a further blurring of the lines between manufacturer, retailer and wholesaler as time goes on.
So, is your Warehouse Management Sysytem future-proof as it was supposed to be five years ago?