What is Warehouse Management? Definition, Benefits, Strategies and Latest Trends in 2022

Proper warehouse management is essential for the success of any business. If you sell goods, you must have a place to store them. These places are often fulfillment centers, distribution centers, or warehouses. You can purchase land and buy equipment, but many things need to be considered when managing inventory. You can have the most modern and state-of-the-art warehouse but if it’s not operating efficiently, you will have lower profit margins, high operational logistics costs, ineffective leadership, and damaged customer relationships.

What is Warehouse Management?

Warehouse management spans all aspects of operation, from accounting to inventory. It includes receiving and supervising employees, as well as planning supplies and monitoring the flow of products through the warehouse. It is a very important aspect of eCommerce because much of the process of order fulfillment begins at a warehouse so efficient warehouse management is needed so that orders are picked, packed, and shipped efficiently and in the least amount of time possible.

WareIQ – Amazon-prime Like Logistics for Modern Brands in India

WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, empowers online brands with a superior-tech platform to compete with Amazon like service levels by bringing their average delivery timelines from 5-10 days to 1-2 days.

"With WareIQ, UTH is able to consolidate common inventory for all platforms and get much closer to the customer through access to WareIQ’s strong nationwide network of fulfilment centres, and last mile & hyper-local courier partners. We are excited about being able to offer same day delivery in several pin codes due to WareIQ."
- Samit Mehta, Founder, UTH Beverages

What are the Benefits of Warehouse Management?

A warehouse is an invisible process that works to ensure that the customer gets their product on time. The operations are central to the success of any warehouse, and good management helps these processes run efficiently. Some benefits of warehouse management are:

Optimized Space and Lower Operating Expenses 

Warehouse management seeks to make the most efficient use of available space by determining the area size and analysing the floor plans. This determines where and how products can be stored, such as placing in-demand products and products close to expiry at the front, the rate at which products can be located, either to be shipped or packaged and results in the saving of time, resources and money.

Inventory Visibility 

Warehouse Management can also give insights into inventory levels for various products in multiple categories. This helps retailers to accurately forecast demand and avoid over-stocking or shortages.

Effective Labor  

Warehouse management enables maximum utilization of labour by intelligently assigning them to a specific warehouse based on their proximity, their availability, and their skills to ensure the highest levels of productivity and the complete mitigation of underutilization. This, in turn, saves on time, and money spent on labour and removes any chance of manual delays. 

Traceable Materials 

Warehouse management enables the traceability of inventory because products are grouped in sensible ways such as by demand, perishability or expiry date. All products have serial numbers which makes them easily identifiable in any given situation.

Optimized Supply Chain 

Warehouse management is designed to optimize existing processes within a warehouse, which can also extend to the external supply chain. WMS systems can troubleshoot any activity that is causing a delay and suggest methods to streamline those activities to mitigate such a delay in the future. It can also remove any unproductive activities from the process to ensure maximum productivity is being achieved. This helps in saving resources, time, effort, and money.

What are the Various Strategies of Warehouse Management?

By optimizing warehouse operations and managing inventory, warehouses provide the best services for clients. Warehouses that have poor strategy will have increased costs and wasted capacity.

Quality warehouse management companies use a client-focused approach to their warehousing strategies. They provide logistics services to clients to support customer demand.

The top expense of any operation is the labour required. Nevertheless, 3,000 hours each year are wasted due to inefficient planning of operations. If you’re searching for strategies to increase your profits and lower costs, look at these nine ideas to improve your earnings.

Use Sales Forecasts

It’s essential to use both past and future data when strategizing your warehousing. By thinking about how many orders will come in, you’ll be able to plan accordingly. Planning for the future ensures that none of your employees is overworked. Having this strategy in place every quarter will help you foresee any potential problems and take appropriate measures to fix them. These strategies are especially useful in warehouses with heavy volumes, as they provide needed relief to your employees.

Determine your expenses 

It is possible to increase your revenue by reducing expenses. For example, there’s a lull in dock activity during the last week of every month. It is an opportunity to reduce costs in labor and equipment. Still, without first figuring out where you need to invest money in your warehousing strategy, you won’t be able to plan appropriately.

Automate your processes

Warehouses can use automation to increase efficiency by providing support for operations and analytics. The warehouse’s needs determine the type of automation used. Companies often make life more difficult by using inefficient or ineffective technology. Make sure the software you choose is tailored to your day-to-day operations. Too much technology can be a distraction to your employees. Find that balance between state-of-the-art features and simplicity so employees can quickly transition as they would with an old system.

When seeking a warehouse, find one where the talent is plentiful. Choose a location for your warehouse that provides access to the best possible employees for your specific needs. A competitive employer will find a place in reasonable proximity to its workforce when feasible, rather than being directly in the area of other businesses that might take away your talent. They also try to find a location within reasonable commute distance for their staff.

Get rid of old inventory

Unless you’re selling long-term storage space, inventory that doesn’t sell costs you money. Space is the primary factor in any warehouse and must be treated as valuable. Clear out your unused merchandise. When you find that the items you carry don’t sell or only sell marginally, you could be stuck with them longer than desired. Getting rid of these products and saving space is an opportunity to make some profit.

Choose centralized Warehouses

Warehousing is a popular strategy in warehouse management, against the traditional use of smaller, regional warehouses. Companies see the benefits of a larger facility that serves the same customer base due to increased savings. Warehousing is cheaper, which means that the logistics of processing orders will also be more affordable. Warehouses require transportation, staffing, security, climate control, and lighting, which often leads to increased costs when there are many facilities. A centralized warehouse can take care of this issue. 

Outsource To third parties

Some companies outsource their warehouse management requirements to a lower-cost alternative that doesn’t sacrifice quality to optimize profitability. Logistics providers understand warehousing well and can provide relevant information to help companies to improve quality while reducing costs. Read the blog on eCommerce Logistics Companies to know the benefits of partnering with them. Public warehouses are attractive to companies that outsource their emergency or temporary storage needs. 

You can also see many other services related to logistics, such as shipping aggregators, freight transport, rail and receiving, container delivery, and import-export logistics. These work well for clients who want full-service logistics for an as-needed basis at an affordable rate.

Use Electronic Monitoring Systems

Warehouses are no longer reliant on security patrols to maintain safety. While security staff still poses a vital function, warehouses employ technological solutions to reduce the risk of theft. 

Electronic monitoring systems work well for theft prevention, but they can also monitor against other threats like fire and water damage. Using this system is a great way to reduce your chances of being harmed by an internal or external source. 

This type of system may deter theft and reduce the number of people who need access to your items. For customers, it means product safety and low prices. With a reduced amount of labor, businesses can keep costs down.

De-clutter Warehouse Operations

When carrying out warehousing tasks, it is essential to carry out Lean Operations. By optimizing the resources at our disposal and taking into consideration a “just-in-time” approach, we reduce the time it takes to undertake these tasks:

  • Handling inventory
  • Better coordination for effective supply chain management
  • Looking for stock
  • Loading and unloading onto transport

Differences Between Inventory Management vs Warehouse Management

Inventory ManagementWarehouse Management
With inventory management, usage can be forecasted based on demand by reviewing seasonality and historical sales trends. Inventory consists of raw materials, parts, or finished products.Warehouse management manages the placement and shipping of products. You can find appropriate items in demand and place them near packing stations to speed up the sorting process.
Inventory management focuses on overall inventory levels and availability.Warehouse management tracks the location and movement of stock in the warehouse.
Inventory management provides information
on the effects of a market’s destination,
like calculating profits, sales and cost.
Warehouse management analyses
sales trends, profit margins and holding costs.
Inventory management helps to achieve the right inventory balance between demand and supply.Warehouse management reveals opportunities to streamline certain warehousing tasks.

What Facilities Should You Look for in a Warehouse Management Company?

No. of SKUs ( stock keeping unit)

Before you begin, you should assess your storage needs. Then, identify the SKU you want it under to track inventory in a warehouse. You can also think about the amount of space needed and what will be compatible or not.

You might want to invest in durable shelving made of metal, as it will be a cheaper alternative. Warehouses will charge you based on the SKU, and this can get expensive if you have too many cereal items with different expiration dates.

Warehouses often require a minimum monthly order from these companies. However, these minimum monthly orders are affordable if the inventory is readily available or rotated quickly. On the other hand, standalone warehouses are cheap for slow-turnover items with high SKUs.

Product Type

Warehouses usually don’t have cold storage facilities. The product you sell will help determine which warehouse management company is best for your business.

If a company requires space to store dairy products, it needs a warehouse that offers temperature-controlled storage. Customers will find glassware, manufactured goods, or perishable items like eggs or seafood in this store. Third-party fulfillment services provide workstations where value-added services are provided.

Consider what storage option is perfect for your business. If you sell products that require strict safety protocols, you would be better suited to choose a warehousing management solution with trained staff, fire alarms, sprinklers, and adequate risk-reduction measures.

Season

Finding a warehouse management solution for your business needs is essential. Public warehouses are ideal because they offer short-term storage and competitive rates. It would be best to think about the time it takes them to deliver and their prices. Public warehouses are worth considering when looking to carry and store seasonal goods.

If a company has a high demand, it might run out of space when they have periods of low sales. For example, if a store’s turnover is generally slow in the winter season, it may find that stocking shelves during that time is difficult. Warehouse management providers solve this problem by providing automated material handling and storage automation solutions, such as forklifts for factories and warehouses.

Contract warehouses offer reliable and long-term storage solutions, while short-term storage facilities are suitable for short-term needs. Under the contract warehouse, customers agree to the contract period before they’re paid. Factors like the maintenance fees of inventory equipment affect their charges.

Location

Your warehouse location will affect the efficiency of your business. Location can impact how quickly you can deliver goods to consumers and where they are stored at your warehouse. The closer you are to customer hubs, the quicker the product can be provided. Warehouse management companies with facilities close to a transport hub make fulfilling orders much more effective than those in big cities. Your warehouse’s location impacts your ability to meet the customer’s expectations, improve profitability, and get products to customers faster.; however, this can come with a higher price if storage facilities are in rural areas.

Read our blog on the 10 best eCommerce shipping companies in India to understand how you can outsource your shipping requirements.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • A small business should consider locating a warehouse close to their market or office.
  • Companies with large market bases should look for warehouses that can hold specific quantities.

Software & Technology

Invest in a warehouse management facility and warehouse management software to handle inventory and shipments better. With these tools, you can enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring that the product matches their order, so they are satisfied with what they receive.

Warehousing software is a vital tool for those who need to track and analyze each order. These programs are operated by intelligent robots, which automatically manage the order fulfillment process.

The automatic routing of customer orders to your warehouse allows you to track order fulfillment more efficiently. You can also use automation to collect purchase orders and manage inventory items.

Top 10 Trends of Warehouse Management in 2022

As we bid farewell to 2021, it’s also time to gear up for the future with new ideas and strategies to make your business more productive. Warehouse management plays a crucial part in the supply chains of any eCommerce company. But sellers often overlook staying up-to-date with eCommerce warehousing trends to help them stay ahead of the game.

As customers demand quicker turnaround times and pressure on eCommerce companies builds, warehouses will need to devise new ways of getting products picked, packaged, and shipped to meet the demands.

The best way to increase warehouse efficiency is by implementing warehouse management technology. Warehouse management technologies will likely grow exponentially by 2022, with some reaching full maturities, such as warehouse automation and post-purchase processing.

Automation (AI & Machine Learning)

As the warehousing industry in India enters a period of consolidation, it will likely begin to integrate more advanced technologies such as robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence by 2022. 

Although, in labor-intensive countries like India, the implementation of robotics can be difficult due to specific tasks only being performed by humans. Warehouse management companies are trying to incorporate machine learning and AI into the back-end.

Technologies such as autonomous vehicles will cause the cost of warehouse operations to decline, causing this industry to almost double in size over the next two years.

What are some ways in which we can plan for the future?

  • The advancement of automation technologies has led to better self-driving with autonomous vehicles and inventory systems that reduce human labor.
  • Receive instant updates about warehouse and shipping operations with the help of AI-powered inspections, packaging, and processes through business intelligence.
  • The adoption of warehousing solutions that predict demand will take off in the following year.

Robots

Robotics is becoming integrated into the labor market, and this trend is projected to continue. Robotics help companies increase productivity while also tackling warehouse management and supply chain challenges. 

Robots will become standard in warehouse management operations in the future. We will move away from fixed automation systems to miniature mobile robots. 5G connectivity and machine vision systems will also play increasingly important roles.

Cloud-based Technologies

Cloud technologies are advancing, and adoption is increasing. Current advances in hybrid cloud solutions, where components of a project reduce time and resources, will allow companies to implement better strategies.

Cloud computing motivates many people to move to the cloud because it reduces costs and increases efficiency. It also helps eliminate data silos that predominate in many warehouse management systems and supply chains.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things has touched every industry and affected how we see the world. It stretches across interconnected devices, including cars, factory machines, appliances, TVs, and phones.

Through IoT, your warehouse management processes can run simultaneously and increase efficiency. It can automatically complete tasks while you remotely access data and lowers costs since you have more efficient resource management.

Sustainable Warehousing

Many business owners will be looking for sustainable business methods in the coming year. It will change warehousing management techniques in 2022. 

Ways you can opt for Sustainable Warehousing:

  • Invest in Energy-efficient Equipment

You can make your warehouse environment more environmentally friendly with eco-friendly lighting. While the initial cost will be higher, they will last longer and save on energy costs in the long run.

  • Use Less Packaging

Packaging made from biodegradable materials weighs less and costs less to ship. Switch from traditional packing materials to biodegradable products. Packing materials made from synthetic plastics and biodegradable materials take a long time to break down. Biodegradable materials can only last for months or years, while synthetics take hundreds of years to break down. Making your packing more efficient may mean you need less of it. Biodegradable materials are also compostable and can reduce waste and carbon footprint.

  • Insulate your Warehouse Properly

Ensure that your warehouse is insulated to keep air-conditioned air within the building. Insufficient insulation in your warehouse building results in higher energy costs, increased thermal output, and wasted resources. Water in a warehouse management system leads to wear and tear and increased energy bills.

Block-Chain Technology

Many stakeholders such as manufacturers, suppliers, customers, auditors and warehouse managers, are involved in warehouse management efficiency. Warehouses are looking for technology to manage transactions, assets, and data. The use of blockchain in 2022 will be revolutionary for warehouses.

Big Data

Data is a significant point in supplying products and warehouse management since it helps with these tasks. Businesses rely on data for more reasons, and companies use more data-driven technologies now than ever before.

It also allows for data products that can be used in data visualization to understand trends better. Good access to data and predictive analytics enables cross-disciplinary applications, which are instrumental in warehouse management.

Proficient Last-mile Deliveries

With the growth in eCommerce, last-mile deliveries are becoming more critical for the industry. In 2019, global eCommerce sales grew by nearly 21.5%. In the next few years, many business owners will strive to provide a shopping experience reminiscent of Amazon by working out logistics in a way that would make deliveries close to same-day. When customers place orders, the company will need to invest in more facilities and distribution methods.

What are the last-mile facilities in supply chain management?

  • The Right Warehouse Location

Warehouses close to major highways and bridges reduce the cost of delivering to destinations.

  • Building Quality

Retailers should always look for properties that have features that allow for efficient utilization, given the demand for high volumes associated with today’s retail environment. The archaic nature of traditional warehouses has led to structural limitations, and stretching the electrical capabilities of these warehouses is becoming more and more difficult.

  • Substantial Ceiling Heights

For warehouses, it’s essential to optimize a high ceiling to set up modern racking systems. Every warehouse should consider the way goods flow in and out.

  • Cross-dock Capabilities

The food and beverage industry faces one of the biggest challenges regarding last-mile transport. A company may optimize its facilities’ capabilities by cross-docking groceries to solve this problem. Cross-docking is receiving goods at one door and then sending them out through another. Perishable items can be delivered to your shoppers more efficiently, and food does not need to be stored.

  • Sustainable Warehousing

Electric charging stations will be essential parts of future sustainable infrastructure for that last mile. The gas costs combined with labor for the final stretch of delivery can add up to over 30% of a delivery’s price, so cutting those expenses and providing an environmentally friendly solution could give you a winning advantage.

Design & Layout

One of the driving factors of warehouse management is its design and layout. It can be challenging to make changes to an existing warehouse, but you’ll be glad you made an effort once you see improved productivity and lower accident rates.

When you lack space for your automated systems, one solution is to use your vertical space. Technology solutions such as mechanical shelving and big data are also available to help more intelligent warehouse layouts.

You can use analytics to monitor where your employees spend the most time so that you can create more efficient workflows.

Introduction of Drones

With technology moving on, these drones are starting to find their niche in warehouses. They’re affordable and easy to use and can quickly map large areas. Drone technology has also been used in shipping and delivery, where it’s used for scanning barcodes and RFID tags, inspecting goods in the warehouse, and taking items to an airport.

Retail companies will likely use drones for warehouse management by 2022. Amazon has already had success in their warehouses by using them, and now smaller companies will probably start to do the same.

For example:

  1. Humans are being phased out of the workforce. As technology advances, positions are no longer available to humans, and they are being replaced with machines that can do tasks much faster.
  2. A drone equipped with a special camera with optical sensors can scan barcodes at 100% accuracy even when the items are 10 meters away.

Conclusion: Does Your Business Need Warehouse Management?

Warehouses have been around for years and have helped businesses with different storage needs. Today, warehouses are not simply storage facilities because they have changed to be more innovative. Companies that rely on warehouse management can expect increased productivity, satisfaction, and accurate demand forecasting.

Some warehouse management companies offer additional services that optimize the supply. Warehouse management must monitor your inventory with many companies providing this service, renting out space, and providing other essential information such as the amount of heat produced or stock being moved. WareIQ can help with all your warehouse management requirements.

Established in 2019, WareIQ, a Y-combinator backed startup, has rapidly grown to be the leading provider of full-stack eCommerce fulfillment services for some of the most reputed brands in India. WareIQ offers a full-stack platform for eCommerce companies to enable same-day delivery and next day delivery to customers – an Amazon Prime-like experience but accessible to everyone.

WareIQ has empowered brands to sell more, sell faster & sell everywhere due to:

  • Access to WareIQ’s strong nationwide network of fulfilment centres, micro-fulfillment centers & urban dark stores near their customers
  • Access to all major national & hyperlocal last-mile couriers at discounted rates for making same/next day deliveries possible
  • Easy integration across multiple online platforms & marketplaces enhancing multi-channel selling
  • Vertical marketplaces: NykaaMyntra etc.
  • D2C platforms: ShopifyMagento, WooCommerce etc.
  • Social commerce platforms: Bikayi
  • Access to a superior centralised tech platform for eCommerce operations
    • ML-based prediction engine for efficient warehouse network design & smart inventory placement
    • Centralised platform for core fulfilment & shipping operations
    • Post-shipping apps for delightful experience & zero to minimum supply chain leakages (Branded tracking page with smart marketing placements; Trigger-based updates & smart communication platform)

WareIQ has customised offerings for merchants experiencing different order volumes as well as having different delivery speed expectations. WareIQ is probably one of the very few fulfillment tech companies in the world that have same-day delivery service for their customers under their product “WareIQ RUSH”.

With world-class WMS functionalities, WareIQ handles the entire range of intricate operations in the eCommerce fulfilment process, ranging from Inbound Operations such as scanning and quality check, through 100% accurate Pick and Pack, to Inventory Management across all channels. WareIQ’s next day delivery and same-day delivery services are helping eCommerce businesses set new standards with respect to setting customer expectations and fulfilling them with high efficacy. At the same time, WareIQ customers realise significant cost savings and wider reach due to better negotiations with ecommerce shipping partners, strategically placed warehouses, economies of scale and scope in warehousing and data-driven decision making.

warehouse management_WareIQ
WareIQ Fulfillment Centers

WareIQ’s WMS, a centralised tech platform helps to better manage undelivered orders by reducing NDR processing time by 12 hours – a multifunctional NDR dashboard helps to track and take immediate action for undelivered orders in real-time, thereby reducing RTO by up to 10%. Automatic replenishment recommendations and easy purchase order creation capabilities on the WareIQ platform further empower eCommerce companies to leverage all possible ways of increasing their ROI.

Warehouse Management FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)