The holidays are a particularly challenging time of year for any warehouse. For consumer industries, the holidays are peak season months. This means that you need more resources and you have less room for error. The good news is that if you've invested in a quality warehouse management system and optimized your processes during the rest of the year, this will be the time that you see the greatest ROI. Here's why:
Managing Customer Expectations
One of the most important aspects of surviving the holiday peak is taking care of your customers. Unfortunately, people tend to overpromise and underdeliver in an effort to keep customers happy, only to leave them more frustrated in the end. With the help of warehouse management software, this problem can largely be avoided by using advanced forecasting and ordering systems to keep things flowing smoothly. If your WMS is integrated with your CRM, you can send your customers regular updates and let them know when plans are changing.
The day after Christmas may be the busiest day of the year for returns, but you will definitely see a spike in returns throughout the rest of peak season as well. Having a robust warehouse management system in place is the best way to keep these returns and claims from bogging down the rest of your system. Remember, the faster you can process these, the sooner you can recover any losses and re-sell items that are still in good condition. Ideally, your QC system will prevent you from having a ton of returns from broken or incorrect orders, but you can never completely eliminate returns from customers who bought the wrong thing or from merchandise that was damaged during shipping.
Perhaps one of the biggest losses that occur in warehouses during peak times is caused by too many employees being in a space without clear direction. Warehouse management software provides the necessary routing tools to utilize all hands on deck without causing traffic jams. Additionally, these systems can handle shift changes and transferring of tasks quickly without having orders fall through the cracks. If you are going to spend the money to hire extra hands, you definitely want to know that their hours are as productive as possible lest you begin seeing outrageous overtime numbers.
These are just three areas where the ROI of your new warehouse management software will shine brightest through the holiday season. If you haven't already implemented a warehouse management system before peak season, make a mental note of how well your warehouse performs in these three areas this year, and you will be sure to see the value that a WMS could provide.