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Signs Your Business Would Benefit from a New Warehouse Management System

Efficient warehouse management is more than just an operational necessity in today’s fast-paced world, it’s a competitive advantage. However, knowing when your current warehouse management system is falling short can be challenging. Often, what might seem like a minor inconvenience could be a significant bottleneck, impacting everyday warehouse operations and your overall business performance. Understanding the difference between small issues and critical deficiencies is crucial for maintaining an efficient warehouse.  

In this blog, we have explored some common problems associated with basic warehouse management systems that could be impacting the success of your business. While on its own each of these issues may seem unimportant, together they can significantly influence operations. By identifying these 10 signs, you can make an informed decision about upgrading to a more sophisticated warehouse management system (WMS) that not only meets your current demands but also supports future growth.  

1. No Multi-Location Inventory Tracking 

As businesses grow and expand, they typically require more than one location, whether it’s stores, warehouses or third-party facilities. This is when the limitations of entry-level inventory management systems become more apparent. These systems are typically designed for single-location operations, meaning they struggle to track inventory across multiple locations, resulting in a lack of insight. This can complicate order fulfilment processes and increase costs by not allowing for the optimisation of shipping routes or inventory pulling. Not to mention, it can hinder purchasing decisions. Without clear visibility into stock levels, ordering and allocating stock can become a guessing game, making the process more complicated.  

2. Manual Updates to Product Records 

Typically, basic warehouse management systems will store product details, yet they often need to provide more key information, such as item location by zone or special handling instructions. When your e-commerce and POS systems aren’t integrated with your inventory systems, significant manual effort is required to update product information across multiple platforms too, increasing the likelihood of human error. This seemingly minor inconvenience can lead to hours of wasted time each week manually updating and checking inventory records. Upgrading your software system can centralise information for every SKU, reduce mundane and error-prone tasks, and deliver an impressive ROI.  

3. Messy Demand Planning 

Effective warehouse management requires more than just current inventory visibility, you need insights into past SKU performance, seasonal trends and demand fluctuations to replenish stock. Starter systems may offer basic sales and inventory reports, but these often need to be manually uploaded into spreadsheets and it quickly becomes a messy, time-consuming process. As businesses grow and operations become more complex, the need for sophisticated demand planning increases. When sales and purchase orders increase, any mistakes will be magnified and it becomes even more important to have software you can rely on. Advanced WMS will provide you with reliable and accurate data, minimising the risk and impact of errors.  

4. Painful Inventory Counts 

Inventory counts are a necessary but time-consuming task, often requiring businesses to shut operations down once or twice a year. Without an effective warehouse management system, these counts are even more disruptive as they tend to involve stopping all inventory movement. Relying on spreadsheets for tracking expected quantities not only slows the process but also increases the likelihood of errors, such as double-counting items. Not to mention, without the right software, you can’t use handheld scanners that make inventory counts much easier, faster and more accurate. Similarly, cycle counts which can streamline full counts or prevent the need for them altogether, can take longer than should when you have a manual system.  

5. Lack of Traceability 

In highly regulated industries where recalls aren’t uncommon, being able to track every item sold is essential. You need to be able to trace products back to suppliers and the raw materials used to make them, and also trace them forward after they are sold to the customer so you can notify them of any product issues. Without a software system to automate tracking, the process can get very confusing and any inaccuracies can risk customer safety and brand reputation. A robust inventory management system can simplify traceability by automatically generating and assigning lot numbers to production runs, enabling you to keep precise records and easily reach customers if any issues arise, reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction.

6. Lack of Integration 

A WMS system that lacks integration with essential business processes, such as accounting or sales, can create significant inefficiencies. Without integration, for instance, accounting teams can struggle to reconcile inventory accurately, leading to financial reporting discrepancies and it will be harder for sales teams to access real-time inventory data, resulting in errors in order processing. Similarly, without CRM integration, customer service representatives may lack visibility into customer histories or preferences, impacting service quality. These integration gaps often result in fragmented information across different systems, making it almost impossible to get a comprehensive overview of business operations and performance.  

7. Difficulty in Forecasting 

When your current system fails to forecast demand or capture seasonal trends accurately, it causes several challenges, including the risk of stockouts or overstock situations that don’t align with actual customer demand. Inaccurate and unreliable forecasting often results in lost sales opportunities and dissatisfied customers, as well as inventory tying up capital and space. Difficulty forecasting can disrupt supply chain operations, inventory planning and pricing strategies too, preventing you from being able to take advantage of anticipated demand. Ultimately, the inability to generate accurate demand forecasts and understand seasonal trends negatively impacts operational efficiency, profitability and customer satisfaction. 

8. Poor Reporting and Analytics 

Inadequate reporting capabilities and a lack of actionable insights from current warehouse management systems can restrict your ability to make informed and strategic decisions. Without visibility into critical performance metrics like inventory turnover rates and sales trends, it’s difficult to identify and correct inefficiencies. Additionally, not having reliable data prevents you from being able to develop effective pricing strategies that consider demand trends, competitor pricing and product profitability, leading to missed opportunities for maximising revenue. Not to mention, poor reporting limits the ability to assess supplier performance, making it difficult to address issues and negotiate favourable terms.  

9. Over Stocking 

Excess inventory that’s taking up valuable space in your warehouse and tying up capital is a clear sign that your software system isn’t working as effectively as it should be or providing the insights you need. Excessive inventory levels can lead to increased warehousing costs and reduce the available space for high-demand items, impacting overall warehouse productivity. This inefficiency not only impacts operational expenses but also restricts cash flow, preventing your ability to invest in growth initiatives. Excessive stock also increases the risk of stock obsolescence or depreciation, as products become outdated or sustain damage over time, leading to lower turnover rates that negatively affect profitability and liquidity.

10. Customer Experience 

When your current WMS leads to poor customer experiences, such as delayed shipments, out-of-stock items or inaccurate order fulfilment, it sets off a chain reaction that impacts your reputation and bottom line. Delayed deliveries and unavailable products can be frustrating for customers, potentially driving them towards competitors who can meet their needs. Inaccurate fulfilment can cause further damage by undermining your competence. These days, negative experiences are often shared through word-of-mouth or online reviews, damaging your reputation and deterring prospective customers. Ultimately, these issues result in an immediate loss of sales, as well as long-term damage to your brand’s competitive standing in the market. 

Upgrading Your Warehouse Management System in Ireland  

All in all, replacing your old warehouse management system is key to addressing current inefficiencies and supporting business success. A new cloud-based WMS solution can transform your warehouse operations and provide you with the comprehensive tools you need for inventory management, supply chain management, logistics processes and much more.  

Here at OSSM, we are a dedicated NetSuite Solution Provider, and we can help you streamline your business with the right warehouse management system software. We have experience across various sectors, including distribution, manufacturing and field services, and our team will make your NetSuite journey as hassle-free as possible. We can help you integrate the right software into your warehouse operations and we will support you through the entire process, ensuring a quick and cost-effective transition. You can trust you will be in very capable hands when you turn to us for assistance with managing all aspects of your warehouse.  

Why not explore our NetSuite Guide?

Download our guide: Where Warehouse Management and Finance Collide, where we have explored some common problems associated with basic warehouse management systems. 

On June 20th, we will host a webinar to help businesses maximise inventory ROI with NetSuite.

The following topics will be discussed:

• Key Challenges for Distributors
• The Critical Role of Inventory Planning
• Precision Forecasting
• Efficient and Green Warehouse Management
• The Impact on the Bottom Line

See link to register: https://ossmcloud.ie/ossm-webinar-from-chaos-to-control/

About the Author

Picture of Naren Sompalli

Naren Sompalli

Naren holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from BNM Institute of Technology. As a NetSuite specialist, he is involved in implementation at OSSM, collaborating with a team of experienced consultants. Naren conducts workshops for solution implementation and delivery, providing technical support and expertise.

The Impact of Inventory Control on Cash Flow

How Tighter Inventory Control Can Improve Cash Flow

The Impact of Inventory Control on Cash Flow

A healthy cash flow is crucial for businesses, especially during challenging economic climates when many are concerned about their near-term future. In uncertain times, businesses often experience a reduction in revenue, while expenses and operating costs remain constant or even start to rise. Without adequate cash reserves, businesses may struggle to meet their financial obligations and finance teams need to go back to basics, carefully review their finances and properly manage their cash flow.

For any business that buys and sells products, inventory control plays a huge role in cash flow. It’s key to ensure that you have the necessary resources to sustain operations and meet demand, but this can result in money being tied up in inventory. If you’re looking to optimise your cash flow, minimising expenses related to buying, holding and selling items is key, and the importance of improving inventory management shouldn’t be underestimated.

Fortunately, having tighter inventory control can help to improve cash flow and if you’re concerned about the current economic climate, now is the time to focus on your inventory. Below we have explored how inventory management can help with cash flow and how NetSuite can support inventory-related savings.

The Impact of Inventory Control on Cash Flow

Inventory is a significant investment for companies and managing inventory levels can have a direct impact on cash flow.

One of the main ways that inventory control affects cash flow is through the cash tied up in inventory. When a business purchases inventory, it ties up cash that could otherwise be used for other purposes. Additionally, maintaining high levels of inventory can result in increased storage and holding costs, which further drain cash reserves. On the other hand, too little inventory can lead to lost sales and lost revenue. If a business is unable to meet customer demand due to low inventory levels, customers may take their business elsewhere.

Effective inventory control involves finding the right balance between having enough inventory to meet customer demand and minimising the amount of cash tied up in inventory. By finding the right balance, businesses can maximise their financial resources and better position themselves for long-term success.

Revolutionising Inventory Management with NetSuite ERP

Businesses can use technology to help manage inventory levels and optimise cash flow, like NetSuite. Inventory management software can provide businesses with the insight they need into their inventory levels and help to identify opportunities for cost savings. By using technology to manage inventory, businesses can make informed decisions about when to order inventory, how much to order and how to allocate resources more effectively.

NetSuite’s comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution provides businesses with financial management and inventory management in a single system. This enables you to see how your inventory is affecting your financials, and it makes it easier to understand the impact that these two key components have on day-to-day business operations as well as one another. 

Analysing Sales Data

A popular strategy for effective inventory control is to analyse sales data and identify products that are slow-moving or have a low-profit margin. This enables you to reduce the inventory levels of those items and concentrate on items that contribute most to your bottom line.

NetSuite will help you to strategically manage your inventory levels and minimise the amount of cash tied up in inventory without losing sales or sacrificing customer satisfaction. The user-friendly dashboards make it easy to access real-time data and the consolidated reporting enables you to analyse historical data. It will be easy to track things like sales trends and margins, so you know which SKUs are profit-makers and need to be pushed.

Forecasting Demand

To prevent you from ordering too much or too little inventory, it’s essential to have accurate forecasts. When you order the right amount of specific items, you can ensure that you’re able to meet demand but you’re not stuck with unsold stock, increasing your bottom line.

When you use NetSuite ERP software to your advantage, you will have access to the mission-critical data you need to make better decisions. You can create accurate reports about inventory levels and performance, and use these to support purchase decisions. It will be much easier to ensure you have the right amount of inventory at the right time and NetSuite forecasts can meet the complex needs of different businesses.

Monitoring Inventory Levels

Having ‘safety stock’ is important regardless of which sector you operate in. However, incorrect or outdated safety stock targets can result in holding too much stock. When money is tied up in safety stock, it can’t be used elsewhere and inventory levels could be draining cash reserves.

Integrating NetSuite software into business processes can help you to monitor inventory levels and ensure that safety stock is kept up-to-date. By taking into consideration things such as historical and seasonal demand as well as supply chain predictability, the accuracy of safety stock targets can be improved. NetSuite can also calculate reorder points, helping to ensure you’re always holding the right amount of inventory.

Improving Inventory Data

To improve inventory control, it’s essential to ensure the numbers in your system match on-hand quantities. Far too often inventory isn’t accounted for and businesses don’t have accurate data, which causes an abundance of problems later down the line.

NetSuite ERP can be used to increase the reliability and accuracy of inventory data, and it will be easier than ever before to update inventory records. You can perform cycle counts as well as full inventory counts with this smart business software, and counts can be adapted to your specific needs. When you account for inventory properly, you can avoid discrepancies and make decisions based on accurate inventory data.

Reducing Fulfilment Costs

When you operate across multiple locations, knowing the location of your inventory is crucial and it can help to support fulfilment decisions. By shipping from the best locations, you can reduce shipping costs and boost your profit margins.

Using a comprehensive ERP system like NetSuite can help to improve real-time visibility across locations. You can also save a considerable amount of time and effort by removing the need for manual order reviews, and the system will automatically assign orders to the best shipping locations. Making better fulfilment decisions won’t just reduce shipping costs, but it will also reduce shipping times which can have a knock-on effect on customer satisfaction.

Working With a NetSuite Business Partner in Ireland

Ultimately, improving inventory management is key to improving cash flow and it’s undoubtedly worthwhile focusing on inventory control if you want to free up cash for other purposes. If you’re interested in NetSuite business software and you’re wondering how it can benefit your operations, don’t hesitate to contact our team at OSSM. We collaborate with businesses across a range of industries and help them to overcome unique challenges.

As a trusted NetSuite Solution Provider in Ireland, you can rely on us to deliver flexible and long-lasting cloud solutions. Our team will happily assist you with your NetSuite project and help you to establish the best solutions to your needs. We can even provide you with a NetSuite product tour to help you determine whether it’s the right option for your business.

Why not explore our NetSuite Guide?

Download our guide: Where Warehouse Management and Finance Collide, where we have explored some common problems associated with basic warehouse management systems. 

On June 20th, we will host a webinar to help businesses maximise inventory ROI with NetSuite.

The following topics will be discussed:

• Key Challenges for Distributors
• The Critical Role of Inventory Planning
• Precision Forecasting
• Efficient and Green Warehouse Management
• The Impact on the Bottom Line

See link to register: https://ossmcloud.ie/ossm-webinar-from-chaos-to-control/

About the Author

Picture of Naren Sompalli

Naren Sompalli

Naren holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from BNM Institute of Technology. As a NetSuite specialist, he is involved in implementation at OSSM, collaborating with a team of experienced consultants. Naren conducts workshops for solution implementation and delivery, providing technical support and expertise.

Meeting boardroom - agreement 2

Top 7 Proven Strategies for Successfully Scaling Your Business

Scaling your business is a transformative step towards achieving sustainable growth and enhanced profitability. When you strategically expand your business operations, you open your organisation up to a wide range of benefits including economies of scale, greater brand recognition and increased market share.

No matter the size or stage of your business, scaling encourages innovation, attracting top-tier talent and elevating your organisation into a formidable industry player. As you continue to expand, the potential for increased revenue becomes substantial too. Ultimately, embracing scalability both future-proofs your business and unlocks opportunities for diversification. In this blog post, we have explored seven top strategies for scaling your business and elevating it to the next level.

1. Going International

Expanding internationally is a logical progression for a business demonstrating product-market fit and success in its home market. Venturing into global markets, however, poses challenges. If international expansion is on the agenda, then it’s important for a business to ask key questions about currency conversion, transaction consolidation, shipping options and costs, taxation (like EU VAT), and compliance with local regulations such as GDPR.

Adopting NetSuite OneWorld is an effective strategy to streamline your operations across multiple countries and currencies. It can enable your organisation to evolve into a global player, facilitating the transition from local to global operations.

NetSuite OneWorld enables businesses to manage multiple subsidiaries, business units and legal entities from just one ERP solution. It supports 27 languages and 190 currencies, so it’s simple to work with customers and suppliers around the globe. With country-specific configurations, you can ensure compliance with local accounting, tax and regulatory requirements too.

2. Building Processes that Scale

Achieving rapid growth necessitates a shift in operational processes to accommodate increased sales, customers and staff. For example, when a distribution business experiences accelerated success, it can lead to a surge in daily orders and the need for a larger warehouse. When this occurs, the old way of doing things simply doesn’t work anymore.

Manually downloading orders and using spreadsheets to track inventory is no longer possible. As a result, there is a need for consolidation and automation. This is where NetSuite’s solution comes into play. With this cloud-based software, a rapidly growing retailer can stay on top of all financials, inventory, order management, e-commerce and advanced analytics in one solution.

Steps can be automated in the order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes. And, connecting sales, inventory and financials can provide valuable insights into the relationship between these core business drivers. All in all, businesses that grow rapidly need to invest in tools that provide them with real-time, comprehensive data and automation.

3. Expanding Product & Service Offerings

Expanding product and service offerings is another proven growth strategy. When executed correctly, it effectively meets current customer needs and attracts new clientele. Possible diversification avenues include exploring adjacencies, adding capabilities to existing offerings or introducing related products/services.

A hybrid approach, integrating services with products (or vice versa), can enhance revenue streams and stabilise cash flows. Another noteworthy trend is the rise of “second engine” or “engine 2” growth, where investment in a second core business leverages assets from the initial core to drive expansion.

If your business is contemplating product expansion, it’s crucial to ask questions about the problem solved for customers and why it persists, the current market and the advantages offered, who your competitors are, your organisational readiness, and how you’re going to measure successful product or service expansion.

4. Acquiring & Integrating Businesses

The fourth strategy, acquiring and integrating businesses, can pose critical challenges and opportunities for fast-growing companies. While acquisitions offer avenues for growth, they also entail risks and complexities in blending products, cultures, systems and business models. Leaders facing such decisions must carefully consider factors like deal pricing and the level of integration between the acquiring and acquired entities.

Approaches to integration vary, with some businesses tightly blending operations and others maintaining a more independent structure. Key questions to ask include the acquired company’s values, the extent of operational and data integration, and areas for mutual learning.

5. Prioritising Education Around Technology

Technology can play a pivotal role in fostering business growth. But, to achieve this, it’s important for companies to emphasise the need for comprehensive employee training on their technological systems. Effectively upskilling or reskilling the workforce has a hugely positive impact on innovation, productivity and market competitiveness.

A Deloitte survey in 2022 highlighted that organisations fostering a strong learning culture were significantly more likely to innovate, be productive and lead in product/service launches. NetSuite can address this challenge with NetSuite Learning Cloud Support (LCS), which offers continuous education to enhance users’ proficiency in the NetSuite system.

6. Tapping Private Equity or Venture Capital Investment

Entering the world of private equity or venture capital investment is a significant shift for CFOs and their companies, with growth taking centre stage. Despite a recognised need to turn data into actionable insights, a report by Accordion reveals a gap in CFOs’ ability, with only 17% deemed excellent in this area.

However, 80% of investors acknowledge CFOs’ effectiveness in using value levers for robust growth. CFOs are urged to play a larger role in identifying growth opportunities, aligning with investor priorities, emphasising key performance indicators (KPIs) and providing reliable data.

Strategic and operational enhancements, supported by unified data systems like NetSuite OneWorld, are crucial for maximising private equity returns in 2024. The focus lies in balancing cost-cutting and fuelling future growth to navigate the evolving exit market landscape.

7. Divesting to Reinvest

Lastly, leadership teams can strategically divest non-core segments to drive long-term growth. This is a move synonymous with “rightsizing” and rather than being solely about reducing costs, it’s about refining focus, structure and product mix for future success.

Bain & Company’s study of 2,100 public companies reveals that those engaging in focused divestment outperformed inactive counterparts by 15% over a decade. Essential divestment questions surround your strategic goals, the financial benefits, market favourability, deal specifics and robust data management during due diligence.

Speak to a Trusted NetSuite ERP Partner Today

At OSSM, we are a leading NetSuite partner based in Ireland, offering a comprehensive suite of NetSuite software solutions, including industry-specific software and robust reporting tools. Alongside our expertise, these solutions aim to revolutionise business capabilities. We enhance informed decision-making through the world’s leading cloud ERP software.

Our groundbreaking solutions cover financial management, inventory management, manufacturing, order processing and field service management. This empowers businesses to oversee operations in real time within a unified cloud-based platform. We are committed to efficiently and cost-effectively implementing the globally adopted NetSuite ERP system, ensuring transformative benefits for businesses.

On March 20th, we hosted a webinar discussing ways in which you can scale your business with NetSuite.

The webinar delivered valuable insights for businesses looking for a new Finance/ERP system to accommodate their expansion plans or are currently using NetSuite and wish to collaborate with a local solution provider.

See the link to the webinar: https://youtu.be/wzo2EdAnFGg

Field Service Management Solution

Finding The Best Inventory Management Solution For Your Business

Field Service Management Solution

Having a suitable inventory management solution for your business is incredibly important, especially in these times of supply and personnel uncertainty. More and more warehouses are moving away from time-consuming manual inventory processes and investing in technology that can help them better position their business for success.

If you currently use spreadsheets to manage inventory, there is a high chance you frequently find yourself with stock levels that are too high or too low and you have to deal with stock counts that don’t align with what’s really in your warehouse. When you implement the right inventory management solution, you can minimise manual work, streamline day-to-day operations and improve efficiencies. This, in turn, will help you to overcome common challenges faced by businesses, adapt to future changes and achieve your goals.

Ultimately, inventory management is all about stock ordering, storage and control, and having the right quantities of the right products at the right time is key to ongoing success. When you’re trying to find a new warehouse stock management system for your business, there are a few key features to look for. Using technology that is cloud-based, all-encompassing and adaptable, like NetSuite solutions, is beneficial for several reasons and it can help you to effectively manage your inventory process. Below we have looked into these three key features in more detail.

Cloud-based solutions

Implementing cloud-based solutions can help you to manage your inventory smartly and efficiently. Cloud-based software systems don’t have the same limitations as on-premises systems and your warehouse stock management solution will be able to handle everything required. With the help of a NetSuite cloud-based warehouse stock management system, your business will become more intelligent and you can directly benefit from the increased flexibility and transparency this type of system provides.

Leveraging cloud-based platforms within your warehouse will enable you to get real-time updates of inventory levels whenever required. All information stored within your cloud-based management solution will be readily accessible to users across multiple warehouses and locations, and this visibility will be invaluable. When you’re no longer restricted by an on-premises system and you have all of the capabilities you need to effectively manage your inventory, you can focus your time and attention on other important aspects of your business.

All-encompassing solutions

The best inventory management solutions will extend from the point of origin to the end-user. Having visibility of the whole supply chain is incredibly beneficial and using technology to support the movement, management and fulfilment of inventory is a cost-effective way to significantly improve customer satisfaction. End-to-end stock management solutions can revolutionise your order fulfilment process by automating several processes.

When you invest wisely in technology, whether you implement a basic NetSuite solution or integrate different applications that support native NetSuite functionality and extend its value, you can improve profit margins. Not only can a warehouse stock management system increase inventory accuracy, but it can maximise order picking efficiency, driving costs out of the distribution process. Not to mention, all-encompassing inventory management solutions can help to reduce human error and the costs associated with this too.

Adaptable solutions

Being able to adapt your software to your changing warehouse needs and the changing external environment is crucial for growing businesses. Implementing an inventory management system that you can build upon will help you to ensure your business remains automated, streamlined and profitable, regardless of what the future holds, and you can maintain high levels of performance. It is likely that some features you need in years to come won’t be seen as requirements when you first invest in a management system, and adaptability will enable your inventory solution to scale and change with your business.

The right technology will help you to gain better control during challenging times too and no matter how uncertain market conditions may be, your adaptable inventory management solution will help you to continue delivering exceptional service. Predicting the future needs of your business can be incredibly difficult, but having software installed that can help you to achieve maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort and expense is always advantageous.

Speaking to a NetSuite consulting partner about Inventory Management

Investing in a warehouse stock management system that is cloud-based, all-encompassing and adaptable is something that all businesses should do, and using the right system can have a direct impact on your ongoing success. Should you have any questions about NetSuite solutions and the integrated apps available, don’t hesitate to contact our team at OSSM. As the leading NetSuite consulting partner and solution provider in Ireland, you can rely on us to provide you with the tailored advice you need when finding the best technology for your business.

Here at OSSM, we have collaborated with lots of businesses, across a range of industries, and we are committed to helping our customers overcome any problems they’re facing with new NetSuite solutions. We can integrate your chosen inventory management system into your operations efficiently and effectively too, so you can start reaping the benefits straight away. To find out more about how we can help, explore the rest of our website today.

Book a NetSuite Demo

Click here to book a short, 30-minute demo of NetSuite, where we will show you the benefits that this solution can bring to your business.