Warehousing changed considerably when warehousing management systems (WMS) first arrived on the scene and helped these asset-heavy enterprises significantly streamline their assets, manpower, and operations. Manual intervention reduced resulting in error reduction in transactions. With time, WMS systems got smarter and started managing almost all verticals in warehouses. Most players in the industry had one or the other WMS system that helped them utilize their resources optimally and make profits. Warehousing players enjoyed being an important link of the traditional retail chain that was heavily dependent on them.
Then, technology started seeping into traditional retail and e-commerce saw the light of the day. Though the change was not overnight and took a few years for e-commerce to take its current shape, it certainly changed the face of retail to a great extent. Importantly, the e-commerce-induced upheaval did not restrict itself to retail alone. It systematically permeated disruption into other ancillary sectors like logistics and warehousing. These two sectors that had experienced unparalleled supremacy in the retail chain saw their importance and utility dwindle with each passing day in the new retail scenario. Traditional retail stores saw a dip in sales, which directly affected the bottom lines of warehousing firms. Hence, the new-age consumers’ choice of shopping online directly affected traditional warehousing too. In such a scenario, warehouses had a bitter choice to make: change as per new requirements or face continued redundancy and perish.
E-commerce is now an established reality. It has given rise to newer versions of logistics and warehousing, the ones that suit its requirements. Traditional players from these sectors feel sidelined in the new order because they cannot fulfill the new requirements of e-commerce that are essential aspects of its very nature. But, can warehouses wait for the revival of traditional retail, which nobody is sure about? Should they continue serving the old retail stores and try to survive on their ever-decreasing profit margins? Or should they try and change the very character of their offerings so that they become relevant again, even to e-commerce businesses? I bet this isn’t a tough choice to make!
Yes, warehouses—even those that are on the brink of closing down due to slack in business—have an enormous opportunity of turning their fortunes. All they have to do is either get a cutting-edge e-commerce warehouse management system or upgrade their existing WMS to eWMS! In Is Your Warehouse E-Commerce Ready? I have enumerated various aspects of eWMS systems and how a great eWMS can literally turn a flagging warehousing business back to profitability. It’s just like completely overhauling your warehousing offerings and services, opening your warehouse to seamlessly serve e-commerce players such as online sellers and marketplaces, and allowing the marvel of SaaS technology to work unabated for your business growth!
And the best part? Well, warehouses can do all of this and more without any heavy investment in new assets and hardware. On the contrary, an eWMS actually enables them to leverage their existing assets to the maximum and become an important part of a network that sends business opportunities their way.