Future-proofing your Supply Chain

 In Blog

Future-proofing your Supply Chain by increasing agility and resilience

There’s nothing that’s much more constant than change… and that probably goes far more so when it comes to the supply chain, where every single component part is (ideally) in motion, all of the time.

But of late, disruptions have become increasingly commonplace, and their compounding effect has grown more significant than ever before.

The Pandemic wasn’t necessarily the cause of every breakdown in the supply chain, but it certainly highlighted where more contingency could have been built into the system. And since 2020, at the same time as not having totally recovered from those disruptions, the supply chain has continued to be affected by plenty of other factors: fluctuations in market demands, delivery disruptions caused by conflict or incident, or delays created by new legislation… just to name a few.

The Amazon Effect

All these things have been combined with an increased focus on eCommerce. The Amazon Effect (e.g. next day delivery) had already started pre-pandemic, but multi-channel fulfilment really took off when much of the world was locked down and couldn’t get out to the shops.

And this has all created a bit of a perfect storm, to be honest. It’s had a hand in increasing inflation around the world, bringing with it higher costs, smaller profit margins and a general weariness in the warehousing sector. How much more can things be squeezed before they go pop?

Some businesses have, indeed, popped. And there are plenty out there still feeling the pinch, riding the waves of that same perfect storm.

Maybe yours is one of them?

If you’re here, then I’m assuming that you’re in the warehousing industry – most people don’t read this kind of thing for fun. So, you don’t need me to explain what a warehouse management system is. But if you hang around until the end, hopefully I’ll be able to explain what an advanced WMS can do for YOU, specifically.

The Power of an Advanced WMS

As we’ve already discussed, warehousing, logistics and the supply chain are under constant pressure from lots of different directions. There are a multitude of external forces bearing down on them every day. These forces all demand efficiency, while at the same time insisting that your business withstands and mitigates against disruptions that are currently, usually, unknown. Or situations that even if they are known, are typically out of your control. They also require that you adapt quickly to sudden changes.

None of this is easy. But there is another side to the coin – an ability to do all these things will (and does) lead to huge business opportunities.

It’s a very carrot and stick situation.

And if you’re reading this, as already stated, you’ll be aware that there are tools available to you that will help you get it done. A WMS, or more specifically, an advanced WMS (like Dispatcher WMS) can help you with all the above. Configured properly, it’ll give you:

  • Visibility – so that you can set expectations with your customers, see what’s coming down the pipe towards you, and plan accordingly.
  • Real-time Analytics – so that you can see the actual state of play, right here, right now, and be able to make data-based decisions.
  • Integration – very few WMS are stand-alone these days. Having something that can talk intelligently to your ERP, TMS, LMS, OMS etc. and act on the information handed back is a game-changer.
  • Detailed Historical Data – so that you can see what worked and didn’t work last time… and be able to project when it’s likely to happen again.

All of this (and so much more) comes as part and parcel of a well-deployed Advanced WMS. And when you implement something that’s been developed (and adapted and upgraded and updated) for over 30 years, then you have all that experience and functionality at your fingertips. Standing on the shoulders of giants, as it were.

The Right WMS for You?

The right WMS has the data and the processing ability needed to help you pre-empt disruption and then dynamically adjust your warehouse operations as new situations arise.

And part of this power comes from the joined-up thinking that it provides. It can integrate seamlessly with your suppliers and partners, which means that your supply chain can (if it wants to) respond to emerging challenges with a cohesive plan of action. As opposed to plans made by many cats running in many different directions, for example.

Imagine being able to see things coming and being able to mitigate against them, or at least, be able to respond proactively rather than reactively. That’s the kind of agility that lets you take (or make) opportunities, rather than not even being able to see them in the first place. If you find the right WMS for you, it’ll allow you to orchestrate this kind of flexibility. You’ll be able to efficiently reallocate resources and adjust your strategies in response to changing market conditions. On the fly, if you want.

There are plenty of WMS out there, and choosing the right one for you is critical to business success. You’ll need to assess how well a system aligns with your business goals, and how closely it supports your digital transformation initiatives. If you’re at that stage, we’ve just written an in-depth article about how to best do this – you can find it here.

Things to Consider

We’d suggest that important things to consider would be scalability, integration capabilities and the quality of the analytics and real-time data that the system can provide.

We also think it’s important to point out that the success of your WMS implementation doesn’t just rely on the software you choose. The team that you choose to help you deploy it are also a significant factor in that success. We’d suggest that you look out for people who have a broad (and long standing) range of experience over lots of different verticals. You want people who will have already encountered most situations and warehouse processes before they get to you.

This is because every warehouse is different, and the more experience they have, the more likely they’ll be able to come up with a solution that works for you, quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Talk is Cheap

You should also look for people who have a proven track record. It’s easy for businesses to tell you what they could do for you; talk is cheap. Instead, we’d suggest you request proof, read Case Studies, and ask for site visits to existing customers. Maybe see if they’ve won awards for what they do.

Fundamentally, the better deployed your new WMS is, the better it will work for you and the faster you’ll see a return on investment. Which is, after all, the point of implementing it in the first place.

In our experience (which is, incidentally, some of the longest standing in the industry), businesses that have embraced advanced WMS and that have engaged experienced implementation teams when they did so, have not only streamlined their operations but have also transformed their supply chains. They have 24/7 engines that are helping them grow and innovate. They don’t fight fires constantly, they make data-driven, strategic decisions that propel them forward. They see efficiency gains that support a proactive approach to supply chain management, and they capitalise on the opportunities that others miss.

Blue Yonder’s Dispatcher WMS

Implementing an advanced WMS like Blue Yonder’s Dispatcher WMS is a strategic decision. It helps businesses to strengthen their supply chains and it fortifies them against vulnerabilities that could otherwise affect them. Disruptions are out there; they’re happening every day. And while you don’t know what’s coming, you can mitigate against a lot of it if you use the right tools.

Your choice of software and deployment team are pivotal to your future success because they set the foundation for a supply chain that can adapt and excel. Embracing an advanced WMS and having the support of a skilled implementation provider are steps that YOU can take towards securing your own competitive edge.

Are you ready for Future-Proofing?

If you’re at the point where you’re ready to take back control, contact us to learn how Dispatcher WMS could be the key you’re looking for when it comes to unlocking the full potential of your warehouse operations. You can email us anytime on info@socius24.com

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