Nearly half (43 per cent) of UK businesses regard reducing the cost of running warehouse operations as their most critical challenge for business improvement - even more critical than speed of fulfilment. This was the finding of a new survey of warehouse operators, carried out for Access Delta, the leading Warehouse Management System (WMS) vendor, by Redshift Research, and is the subject of an accompanying White Paper: 'War on Warehouse Costs'. Redshift Research conducted the survey among 132 warehouse operators across manufacturers, wholesalers and 3PL warehouse services providers. Online ordering, pick and pack operations and wastage were found to be areas where companies are likely to be more successful at reducing their warehouse costs if they apply technology appropriately.
The survey finds that nearly a quarter of businesses now receive most or all of their orders online, and almost 50 per cent receive half or more of their business this way. Making online ordering a smoother and more capable process from the back office is clearly one way to reduce costs. Growth in revenue and the ability to reach new customers are also reported. The survey reveals that where firms are receiving a majority of orders online, they also tend to be advanced in their adoption of other technologies such as mobile and hand-held devices, barcoding, RF communications and voice technology headsets. Such firms will probably employ a dedicated WMS.
Pick and Pack operations are seen as a significant part of the business by over half of the firms surveyed - and others expect it to become so. 64 per cent of those surveyed reported growth in their pick and pack operations - and among 3PLs it is even more significant. Yet just 11 per cent of firms said that the IT controlling pick and pack was fully integrated 'end-to-end', while 15 per cent admitted that different systems, such as warehousing and invoicing, do not communicate.
Wastage was another area incurring cost. Almost half of the respondents reported that wastage occurs sometimes, often, or - for 6 per cent - at a level that is creating a significant problem, yet it is a challenge that can be addressed with the right WMS.
Robert Hodgson, Supply Chain Divisional Sales Manager at Access Group commented: "The 'War on Warehouse Costs' white paper, and the survey on which it is based, show that companies applying technology are getting to grips with reducing the cost of running warehousing operations. Integrating communications technology with WMS will reveal clearly where warehousing costs can be reduced and help businesses to tackle them. Appropriately integrated software makes operations more efficient and less manual, saving cash in every area from the cost of mispicks and returns to the overtime and weekend working costs of periodic stock checks."
To receive a copy of the white paper, 'War on Warehouse costs' and the survey, contact: Natalie.Smith@theaccessgroup.com