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Combining Order Streaming and WMS: 3 Tips for Success

Combining order streaming and warehouse management systems (WMSs) is rapidly becoming the new gold standard in omni-channel supply chains. The combination has wide-ranging benefits, including decreasing overhead costs, improving employee productivity and accommodating more orders in a shorter time. As explained by Bridget McCrea of Modern Materials Handling, the volume of products and services being sold online reached more than $12.8 billion on Black Friday in 2016. This alone indicates future growth of online shopping will likely supersede previous demands. As a result, your company needs to consider combining order streaming and WMS now. To make the process easier, use these three tips for success.

  1. Know Your Limitations When Combining Order Streaming and WMS.

You can only improve what you understand. For the same reason, you must know your limitations to improve your supply chain operations, and the same concept is true in combining order streaming with WMS applications. Think about the volume capacity of your existing WMS. Can it handle increased use needed for implementing order streaming processes?

If so, does the system have the capacity to collect and leverage information gathered throughout the omni-channel supply chain to improve inventory accuracy, visibility, and productivity? If not, you need to begin working to integrate these systems. Furthermore, start with cluster-style order streaming. This means that you are not using full-blown order streaming initially, but it will help your team learn how to handle continuous work.

  1. Understand WMS Technology Is ALWAYS Improving, Changing & Growing.

Most existing WMS applications and technologies were designed to be obsolete within 15 years. While this may have been good for retailers in the past, continued growth of omni-channel sales has turned that notion on its head. Instead of devoting all resources to a single, unchanging WMS, your organization should select a WMS that can handle scalability.

Scalability brings up another point; modern WMS technology is always changing, improving and expanding. Your vendor may offer updates and patches, much like Manhattan Associates’ Order Streaming solution, to help companies keep up with the latest technology and systems. By understanding that continuous improvement is essential, you can begin to truly take advantage of your WMS for order streaming.

  1. Take Advantage of Your WMS.

Traditional wave picking is inefficient for warehouses in the e-commerce space. It leads to hostility and fatigue among employees, and it results in lower profit margins. However, modern WMS systems can overcome this challenge through advanced setting and re-setting software. But, you should still design your initial set, prior to implementing an order streaming and WMS combined system, with omni-channel sales in mind.

In other words, do not set your warehouse without considering the influence of omni-channel sales. As a result, it may be more efficient to not change the set of your warehouse prior to implementing an integrated system. Furthermore, you may need to divert order fulfillment during the re-setting process. Ultimately, you should take advantage of the tools and information, designed with high functionality in mind, throughout your WMS to make implementing an order streaming process as smooth and simple as possible, explains Clint Reiser of Logistics Viewpoints.

In fact, modern WMS solutions go further than their historic counterparts. According to Roberto Michel of Modern Materials Handling, consider using other WMS capabilities to enhance order streaming implementation, which may include the following:

  • Parcel manifesting and shipping.
  • Interfacing with automated technologies in picking.
  • Flexible replenishment protocols or rulesets.

Stop Paying for Lulls With Poor Peak Performance in Your Warehouse.

Order streaming can help your company stop paying for lulls during operation with poor peak performance. By combining order streaming and WMS systems, you can reduce the physical and mental burden on employees during implementation, handle orders in real time and reap the rewards of faster product cycles, greater profitability and more, asserts Adam Kline of Logistics Viewpoints. In the interim, use these tips to help you begin the implementation and combination process.