The Value of Using a Warehouse Management Solution with Your Shipping Automation Provider
Our integration partner SkuVault highlights what makes utilizing a warehouse management system and a shipping solution in combination so instrumental to your online company’s success.
Shipping is one of the most quintessential steps in the fulfillment process – you all know that. As the last step in the fulfillment process, it has the power to leave a lasting impression on your customers. Your website could be easily navigable and your prices could be low, but if a package arrives late or damaged, that’s all the customer is going to remember about your company.
That’s why so many e-commerce retailers spend a large portion of their time focusing on streamlining and accuracy-proofing their shipping processes – and rightfully so.
Inventory and warehouse management is where many e-commerce retailers struggle.
What’s more, is that many retailers are blind to see the direct correlation between inventory and warehouse management and shipping, and how properly managed inventory leads to improved shipping processes. This is why it is so important to use a warehouse management system (WMS) that integrates with your shipping software. Here’s what to watch for.
True Available Quantities
This is probably the most important feature that inventory management brings to the table when it comes to shipping. If you don’t have an accurate count of the available quantities within your warehouse, then you have no idea of what you have available to sell, and, in turn, ship.
A warehouse management software provides retailers with real-time inventory updates, keeping them (and more importantly, their marketplaces) informed of true available quantities—what they have on hand and available to sell. The only thing worse than mis-ships is out-of-stocks, and real-time inventory updates help to prevent both.
The most powerful WMS’s have built-in quality control features and, dependent upon the capabilities of the WMS, can help prevent mispicks, mis-ships, and damaged products.
SkuVault, our own WMS, utilizes barcodes and barcode scanners to assist in the quality control process, which is a good specification to look for in a WMS as it helps to hugely reduce human error. Once an order is placed, each item is picked from the shelf and scanned against the sale order to check for the accuracy of the quantity, the item, as well as any damages the items may have sustained that might make them ineligible for sale.
If the wrong color, size or item is picked, SkuVault promptly alerts the picker – preventing mis-ships and unhappy customers.
Pick Lists = Packing Slips
Pick lists indicate which inventory items need to be picked, packed and shipped to fulfill orders. Using a WMS that integrates with your shipping solution allows your WMS to pull orders from your shipping solution to generate a detailed pick list – insuring your orders and inventory are constantly in sync.
This is where it gets really interesting.
Once your pickers have used the pick list to pick inventory and check it against your WMS’s quality control features, that pick list can then double as a packing slip.
Sending the pick list as a packing slip to customers ensures that they understand exactly what items are included with their order, and helps you to conserve resources.
Shipping is a pivotal part of the e-commerce fulfillment process, and so is inventory management. Choosing the right WMS can benefit shipping processes as well as other day-to-day processes within a retailer’s warehouse. Utilizing them both in combination can streamline your processes and help you to drastically cut down on inventory, picking and shipping errors.
About the author: SkuVault is a cloud-based warehouse management system that integrates with ShipWorks to help reduce inventory, picking and shipping errors for e-commerce merchants.