3 Ways to Increase Warehouse Productivity with Distribution Software

June 27, 2014

warehouse distribution managementYou can achieve improved productivity in your distribution business’ warehouse through a variety of activities, ranging from automating order entry processes to providing training for staff. By definition, productivity describes the input to output ratio on a final product, so warehouse oriented businesses are always looking for ways to better manage those inputs while still producing quality outputs. With the help of distribution software, here are three ways this can be done:

1. Optimize picking/packing processes

As a distribution business, it is very important to optimize the basic picking and packing processes in your warehouse. Saving time and reducing errors here presents a huge opportunity to increase productivity. Consider investing in distribution ERP software with barcode scanning functionality to streamline the receiving, picking, packing, and shipping process. A great alternative to a heavy, expensive, traditional barcode scanning machine is a mobile application that runs on iOS devices. This technology streamlines many processes in the warehouse including the ability to itemize products that need to be picked, mapping out how employees should go through the warehouse most efficiently. Pickers and packers can also quickly scan and look up inventory items at the source to retrieve information about the product such as descriptions, pricing and images and in the case of an empty shelf if the item is somewhere in overstock, on backorder or available at other locations. Using this kind of mobile barcode scanning application for handheld picking and receiving is a great alternative to traditional scanners, and will help eliminate the errors and time constraints of performing these tasks manually with pen and paper.

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Part 2 of 2: What You “Need-to-Know” about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

June 10, 2014

virtual-logistics-ediLast week, we wrote about the basics of EDI, and the advantages it can provide your company. As promised, we’re back for Part 2 with an overview of the opportunities EDI can provide, as well as some advice from Robin Smith of Virtual Logistics about picking a solution.

Like we said in Part 1 of this series, EDI represents a set of standards, outlining formats for how information should be electronically communicated between two parties. Oftentimes, large companies require their suppliers to follow these standards. If your company uses EDI, it opens up the door to be able to do business with these larger distributors or retailers. Furthermore, the automation associated with EDI works to reduce errors and operate more efficiently. This will allow your company to focus more energy on other parts of the business. Your team will now be able to think more strategically about growing the business or developing relationships with customers and partners, instead of getting bogged down with administrative tasks.  We also spoke a little bit about the importance of choosing an ERP system that will integrate with EDI. When everything from purchase to billing at your company must meet EDI standards, make sure you are using an ERP system that has the capability to facilitate integration with EDI translation services!

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Part 1 of 2: What You Need-to-Know about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

June 2, 2014

EDIYou may have heard the term “Electronic Data Interchange” (or “EDI”) being used around your office, warehouse, distribution facility, or even among your suppliers and competitors. But what does it mean exactly? EDI represents a set of standards, outlining formats for information that can be electronically exchanged between 2 parties. EDI is used in companies for many reasons. For example, it allows for easy communication between locations, it helps track and update inventory, and can even be used to transmit financial information and payment in electronic form (Electronic Funds Transfer or EFT).

While it may seem cumbersome to follow this set of guidelines, EDI can provide many benefits to your company, especially if it is properly integrated into a robust ERP system. When searching for an ERP solution to manage your inventory and accounting needs, look for something that can facilitate integration with EDI translation services. This integration will allow the import and export of transactions between your ERP system and approved EDI service providers. The use of EDI and proper ERP-EDI integration has many advantages for your business:

  • Automation: EDI-based transactions communicate the same information as paper-based transactions, but they involve far less human intervention. For example, if a sales order is received through EDI, the vendor will not need to key in the customer’s information and manually update inventory – this will be done automatically.
  • Greater flexibility: EDI allows companies to more easily work with electronic customer data, such as vendor tracking, purchases and returns, shipping, and inventory count.

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