AEIOU spells WMS benefits!
Basic alphabetic awareness aside, AEIOU is a convenient and useful mnemonic for remembering the chief benefits gained from implementing a good WMS system. Starting with A for Accuracy and E for Efficiency we have I for Improved productivity (slight cheat), O for Operational discipline and finally U for Utilisation. Let’s look at each in turn.
Accuracy, or improvement of it, is a key WMS benefit as it cuts errors, and by cutting errors you reduce costs. The cost of rectifying errors is commonly underestimated and in some warehouses it runs into thousands annually, meaning a good WMS with real-time technology can save an operation a small fortune. As such, it should top your list when looking at WMS payback.
Efficiency is what comes by using efficient processes for all warehouse tasks. A good WMS offers the leanest and fastest ways to perform warehouse tasks, reducing the time and labour needed. Not only can you make your processes leaner, in some cases you’ll remove them altogether as a result of re-evaluating your operational needs around a new system.
Improved productivity comes as a direct result of creating more efficient processes. You’ll start to find the excess capacity in your labour force, enabling you to redeploy successfully to meet expanded targets and cope with peak or seasonal demand without incurring extra cost.
Operational discipline is a much undervalued benefit. Many warehouses have experienced ‘maverick’ behaviour which leads to problems with stock or customer service. A good WMS allows you to create an efficient, disciplined process which ensures your staff do exactly as intended. Even if they don’t do it from day one, your WMS will easily identify the perpetrators to ensure it doesn’t continue!
Utilisation is a by-product benefit of greater efficiency and productivity, combined with the use of information and tools available in your WMS. A good WMS can schedule work automatically; ensuring staff are never under-utilised if work is available. It can also provide detailed productivity data to help you fine tune your workforce by skill and aptitude to meet operational demands.
Given a little thought AEIOU can also be turned into other mnemonics to encompass many more benefits available from a WMS, but perhaps this is enough for now! However as a simple way to remember the most important benefits, it provides a useful reminder of what a WMS can do for you.