More than a decade ago many medium sized companies in retail and distribution were using paper-based systems. Nowadays many companies have cut down their inefficiencies, redundancies, and waste, by moving to warehouse automation, scanning and other paperless warehouse management systems.
While paper based systems may be a thing of the past for some companies, there are still a number of businesses struggling with paper based processes. While the initial cost of shifting from a paper-based system can be overwhelming for some, making the switch can reap numerous long term benefits including:
Improved Visibility and Efficiency
Keeping track of every order and shipment is not an easy task. Changes occur almost every moment on the warehouse floor and, if your company is still tracking order and shipments by hand, you could be entering data inaccurately and inefficiently.
Warehouse Management Systems possess a number of reporting capabilities for each activity in the warehouse, where information is available in real time. In a paper based warehouse, the only method available for tracking productivity and performance is manual logs, which is not only time consuming but can lead to errors as they are only as good as the information each operator provides.
Going paperless will improve visibility in the warehouse, and will ensure that your information is always up-to-date and accurate. In fact, by using mobile devices on the warehouse floor, warehouse accuracy will increase to more than 99%!
Improved Warehouse Productivity
It takes a lot of time and resources to maintain a paper-based warehouse system. Once you’ve factored in the time and money it takes to maintain the printer, the cost of materials and the organisation of paperwork, your time could be better spent elsewhere.
By utilising a paperless warehouse management system, your company could reduce or completely eliminate the costs associated with paper-based management, and increase productivity levels.
Adopting a paperless approach ensures the risk of mistakes are small, while any issues that do arise can be corrected in real-time. Instantaneous access to easily amenable information allows workers to source highly accurate data entries and experience fewer information delays.
Improve The Flow Of Goods And Customer Service
Another important benefit of a paperless system is the ability to manage a complex flow of goods to and from a numerous warehouse locations. It’s often difficult for any manager or management team to track the location, destination, and shipping status of every product on hand. This means that time is often lost trying to determine where certain products are located, when they can be dispatched, and who will receive them.
In a paper-based system, if the inventory “on the books” and the physical inventory in a warehouse do not match, the situation is often chaotic and can lead to poor purchasing practices.
Customer service can also suffer when the flow of goods is not managed accurately. If your customer purchases a product and it isn’t in stock, this can cause longer wait time for customers and lead poor customer satisfaction. By switching to a paperless warehouse management system, you will be able to accurately track the flow of goods coming to and from your warehouse, ensuring that inventory is recorded and tracked accurately at all times.
Improved Space Utilisation:
A Warehouse Management System tracks every location and knows where each product and quantity received can best be stored in the warehouse. While a Warehouse Management System can inform the user of how to best utilise space, manual putaway procedures rely on the operator to find the correct location for a product.
If employees are manually storing items, you could find products are being stored in locations which are most convenient to the employee, rather than the location that best suits the size and the velocity of the product. In addition, not all locations may be visible to a putaway operator, leaving shelves and other storage areas empty.
Cost Reductions and Environmental Benefits
It takes a lot of resources to keep paper in a warehouse environment. While it can cost you thousands in ink, paper and maintainingthe printers are working as they should be, the environmental cost is also significant.
By going paperless, you’re not only likely to improve efficiency and reduce costs, but you will also be doing the environment a favour by reducing the amount of paper used.
While paper-based processes may be what your organisation is most familiar with, the reality is that this type of system is inefficient and inaccurate.
By removing paper from your processes, you will reduce operating costs, increase accuracy and optimise warehouse space.