In the world of warehouse replenishment, retailers and secondary distributors often get the most attention because they are closest to the customer in the supply chain. However, wholesalers face a different set of complications when it comes to warehouse replenishment that demand solutions. Many Warehouse Management Systems have been developed with the retailer in mind, leaving wholesalers with limited options for improving their processes, but some WMS programs can be adapted to wholesale use as well.
In the global marketplace, it is harder and harder for wholesalers to carve out a space for comfortable profits. Retailers are able to get their products overseas or directly from the manufacturer, completely circumventing the traditional supply chain. In order to stay competitive, wholesalers need to offer something that nobody else can in the form of lower prices, on-time delivery and accuracy filling orders. The use of a WMS can help lower warehouse replenishment costs by streamlining your system and reducing labor as much as possible while also enhancing the traceability of all orders to improve accuracy.
Calculating Lead Time
Another problem for wholesalers when it comes to warehouse replenishment is their dependence on manufacturers to keep things running smoothly. Retailers expect their wholesalers to always have a healthy stock of the most popular items, but wholesalers are often faced with shortages created by the manufacturer itself with limited ability to solve the problem. Wholesale distribution centers need to have the ability to accurately predict lead times with enough padding to avoid problems.
In most cases wholesale warehouses use one set of SKUs for large boxes of product or pallets. This makes it easier to move and work with a high-quantity of product with only a single tracking number. However, retailers use the SKU for each individual item, especially when a product is to be repacked before being shipped to the customer. Wholesalers need a way to track both sets of SKUs to translate between individual units and wholesale packages. Without the help of a proper WMS, this leads to an extremely complicated system of translating numbers manually. The more products you carry, the more the complexity multiplies.
Managers of wholesale distribution centers face many difficulties in their efforts to stay profitable while maintaining control of goods coming and going. While many WMS programs have been developed with the retailer in mind, the truth is that the same benefits can be applied to wholesalers to reduce lead times, minimize waste, and improve order accuracy. This is the only way for wholesalers to remain competitive against other options around the globe.