This is a continuation from Part 1 of our top line summary of the “must have” features an advanced warehouse management system should deliver today.
Customer-specific Pricing. Warehouse management software gives wholesale distributors pricing power. Integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) and order entry modules, advanced software enables you to establish pricing on a customer-by-customer basis, so you can manage to net margin. Volume discounts can be automatically calculated and applied. And different prices can be established for online, telephone and front counter orders.
The Ideal Warehouse Management Solution for Wholesale Distribution. (Part 2)
Integrated Inventory Management. When you add an inventory item, a good warehouse management system should step you through the process of adding it to online catalogs, along with photos, captions, pricing and other product details. Inventory levels should be updated in real time, regardless of the sales channel, and be accessible to sales organizations and suppliers.
Multi-location Inventory Management. Growing organizations are bound to have more than one warehouse, in more than one location, and may even maintain stock on customer premises. Advanced warehouse management software, tied into you wholesale distribution system, should be able to keep track of inventory wherever it is. As procurement and sales activities take place, the system should prompt users to specify the ship to or ship from location. Naturally, you should be able to order up reports that provide inventory visibility on a location-by-location basis, or across the entire organization’s warehouses.
Product Combination Management. Everybody knows you never ship a widget with out a whatzit washer and a doohickey. And that Customer A always orders 7 nerbils for every doodad they buy. Advanced warehouse management software enables you to establish such combinations as separate SKUs, on a customer or product basis, and to assign special value-added or volume discount pricing. This saves time for sales people who would otherwise have to separately enter each item in a combination.
Lot Tracking Management.Increasingly, government regulations and industry practices require distributors to maintain bi-directional tracking on a highly granular basis. In the event of a mandated recall, warehouse management software should be expected to provide instantaneous visibility into what products were shipped where and when, on a lot number basis. Conversely, when a customer raises a product concern, suppliers must be alerted. Lot costing can also enable visibility into the cost associated with any recall.
There is a broad range of warehouse management systems on the market today, from many vendors beyond the few mentioned above. When comparing them, start with mapping their functionality against this must-have list.