In the earliest years of the Internet, it was difficult for retailers to combine in-store and online sales into a single fulfillment process. Today, the introduction of omnichannel logistics solutions makes it easier than ever for a single warehouse to manage shipments both to stores and to individual consumers. As a result, companies must compete against all other retailers in their sphere using the most up-to-date technology available. Warehouse Management Systems are a major piece of this puzzle and help improve the overall customer experience. Companies who fail to offer this level of service across their entire customer base will soon be left behind in favor of those who offer a more seamless shopping experience.
Along with Warehouse Management Systems often comes a greater reliance upon automation and high-efficiency work processes. For workers this makes a difference in whether or not they remain at a job long term. For many years, all warehouses were equally likely to require heavy-duty labor and offered few tools for maximizing efficiency. Today, workers are free to move to companies who have better processes in place and a more inviting work place. The big picture implications of this difference usually come in the form of high turnover rates and lower worker productivity in environments where they do not have the tools to succeed. Furthermore, the labor cost of fulfilling each individual order is higher without a proper WMS in place, leading to slimmer profits and less room for growth.
As warehouses continue to change and take on new technologies, we can expect to see even more uniform adoption of the high-level Warehouse Management System. This includes integration with ERP and MRP systems along with equipment like VLMs, carousels, pick to light systems and conveyors. All of these pieces work together with the Warehouse Management System to advance competitive sales and to draw in a reliable and productive workforce. Of course, the dropping cost of custom-fit WMS options is also making them more available to companies of all sizes.