5 Warehouse Management Problems and How an ERP Can Help


Is your warehouse overflowing with the wrong SKUs? Are you finding your mounting Excel spreadsheets less and less useful? Do you depend on a number of manual, tedious processes to keep your warehouse management afloat? If so, you are not alone. The wholesale distribution industry is stuck (sometimes painfully) between aged, legacy systems and modern business needs.

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An ERP like NetSuite can make all the difference. When implemented correctly, it’s solution stack was built for distributor success. In fact, here are five of the most common warehouse management problems facing distributors today and how NetSuite ERP can help.

Top Warehouse Management Challenges Facing Distributors

Problem #1: Inventory Management - or Lack Thereof

The most important part of a distribution business is its inventory. As one of our clients put it, “I don’t see products. I see cash on shelves.”

Being able to maintain accurate counts with agility is a necessity for your overall profitability. Awareness of your current inventory, dead stock, high demand SKUs, and seasonally driven products is made easy with today’s leading ERP systems and integrated warehouse management (WMS).

NetSuite WMS eliminates hours of tracking misplaced products and inaccurate, paper-based inventory counts. Automatic inventory ranking will rate your inventory according to industry leading practices to provide you with a clear picture of what inventory items are important, least important, and truly dead stock so you can be more efficient with the “cash” you put on your shelves.

Problem #2: Order Picking Confusion

Sometimes it just takes too long to find an order and get it from the warehouse to the customer.

Using RF bar code readers, designed exclusively for wholesale distribution companies, speeds up this process significantly. It easily syncs with your NetSuite ERP instance to improve efficiency and minimize the number of steps for your team.

Better yet? Pickers will know exactly where to go to get the product the first time. And you can even use the system to assign bins when new product arrives.

Barcoding and an integrated ERP will help minimize the level of human error in your business. You’ll also have improved visibility on which SKUs are on order, which are on the shelf, what lives in a different warehouse, and even what’s currently on your trucks. Now that’s efficient.

Problem #3: Rampant Redundancy

There is nothing worse than doing the same tasks multiple times. Not only is it terrible for morale, but it’s a waste of time and resources.

By utilizing a leading ERP solution like NetSuite, you can streamline your workflows to automate and reduce duplicate data entry. Not only will it boost productivity, but it’ll keep your team happy.

Why your ERP should be your WD MVP.

Using the right software – which for wholesalers means integrated inventory and warehouse management – will make all the difference in reducing manual processes and error. In fact, on average, wholesale distributors using NetSuite see a 10-25% increase in staff utilization and a 45-70% improvement in order processing efficiency.

Problem #4: Spreadsheets, Spreadsheets, Spreadsheets

We understand. Tracking is important. But there’s a difference between tracking, and tracking smart.

Eliminating spreadsheet overload is one of the most common asks we hear from our WD clients. They want to know how they can better manage their data so that’s actually usable without constant exports to Excel.

The answer is in an integrated warehouse management system. NetSuite ERP comes ready built with robust WMS and SCM capabilities. From what sales orders need to be picked to bin transfers and spot checks, an ERP with views of your supply chain and warehouse management will eliminate your unnecessary paper trail and folders full of date-stamped Excel Workbooks.

Problem #5: Time to Train

One of the biggest hesitations distributors face in choosing to move to a new ERP solution with a strong WMS component is the time needed to train their team. Beyond the initial set up, training new and seasonal employees also takes time.

But there’s something to be said for a system that is easy to use. A benefit of using a modern solution is that it comes with a modern user interface. No more tricky quirks or round-about ways of doing things. A straight-forward, easy-to-use system that scales as you grow. Plus, our team believes that end-user training is essential to a truly functional ERP implementation.

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Manufacturing Wholesale Distribution