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How the Growth of E-Commerce Will Affect WMS and LMS in the Coming Year

E-commerce is expanding at a phenomenal rate, and the ability of warehouses and supply chains to meet demand will be put to the test in the coming year. Existing warehouse management systems (WMS) and labor management systems (LMS) will feel the pressure of increased demand. Supply-chain leaders need to understand the challenges created from the growth of e-commerce, the trends affecting WMS and LMS in addition to e-commerce growth throughout 2019, and a few best practices for maximizing the value of your WMS and LMS functions.

E-Commerce Growth Creates Major Challenges in Warehouse Management

E-commerce puts a significant burden of retailers and warehouses trying to meet demand, and the most significant issue involves labor and system capacity to handle more orders. The labor crunch is already underway, reports In a recent survey of supply chain leaders and warehouse personnel, the labor shortage ranked as the top concern for 2019 among 55 percent of warehouse survey participants. Meanwhile, traditional means of handling orders are being replaced by waveless picking strategies, reducing the peak and lull nature of the operation.

Trends Affecting WMS and LMS in 2019

Several of the trends affecting WMS and LMS capability in the coming year include:

  1. Increased competition among warehouses will
    attract talent, and keeping
    track of labor costs
    will be a crucial issue in the following
  2. E-commerce will surge ahead, reports DC
    , and as SKU proliferation continues, the risk of errors
    will increase. This will put the focus squarely on warehouse and labor
  3. Autonomous mobile robots will influence
    warehouse operations.
  4. Retail-to-warehouse conversions will continue,
    providing benefits to urban areas left with a “hole” from retailers that have closed
    and left workers without jobs.

How to Leverage Your WMS and LMS for Better Efficiency & Productivity

The potential benefits of a well-run warehouse and labor schedule are clear. Modern WMS use can reduce delays and increase order accuracy. Meanwhile, a well-run warehouse or distribution center may have a reduced labor turnover rate that’s lower than others reporting turnover rates of 35 percent or more, says Gary Forger of Modern Materials Handling. Supply chain leaders that want to get there need to follow these steps:

  1. Understand your consumer needs.
  2. Connect with employees, and provide
  3. Track employee performance, and reward
    employees appropriately.
  4. Manage inbound product flow.
  5. Leverage analytics to predict demand and
    plan accordingly, says Jim
    Gehr and Joe Mikes via Inbound Logistics.
  6. Integrate or bring your WMS and LMS under a
    single roof.
  7. Automate repetitive processes.
  8. Don’t
    overlook transportation management systems as an extension of both systems,
    Long of FleetOwner

Take Advantage of WMS and LMS Advancements Now

The increased capabilities within WMS and LMS functions through cloud based technology, and integrated services will help supply chain leaders position their organizations for success. As e-commerce growth continues, managers and personnel will need to turn to WMS and LMS applications to augment productivity, increase efficiency, and ensure all operations run smoothly. Make sure your WMS and LMS are optimal and ready for the growth of e-commerce. Talk to the experts at Veridian to learn more about how a WMS implementation or modification may improve your warehouse and labor management practices.