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6 warehouse insights enabled by cloud technology


6 warehouse insights enabled by cloud technology

When it comes to the supply chain, visibility is paramount to profitability. If your warehouse is shooting blind, it's probably not hitting the target.

That's why warehouses are looking for every chance to peek under the hood wherever possible. By taking any and all opportunities to understand your warehouse operations, you'll learn what is happening, why it's important and how you can improve it.

This process is made much easier by taking advantage of cloud-based technology. The latest innovations teach supply chains how to stay ahead of the curve. Here are six warehouse insights you can obtain from cloud-based systems.

1. Avoid costly stockouts and better manage your inventory
Thanks to the cloud, supply chains are safeguarding themselves like never before. Cloud-based warehouse management systems (WMS) are a great service to supply chains. A good WMS can provide valuable insights that help warehouses steer clear of potential disruptions, like a stockout.

According to IHL, stockouts cost retailers over $1 trillion in 2020. Warehouses can optimize their inventory management by taking a closer look at it through a good WMS. You'll know exactly how much product they have in stock, efficiently keep track of orders and make sure every delivery is fulfilled on time.

2. Prepare for disruptions before they happen
Disruptions are costly to the supply chain, whether you're a manufacturer or a fulfillment center. Thanks to predictive analytics, however, warehouses can foresee delays, bottlenecks or other disruptions before they actually happen.

By collecting data, artificial intelligence supported by the cloud can help warehouses analyze information in real time. Not only can warehouses learn when a disruption is occurring, they'll have a chance to prepare and maybe even prevent it.

3. Demand forecasting
Likewise, predictive analytics also enables a warehouse to forecast future demand. This is especially important for planning ahead of the busiest times of year where volume is at its peak.

Predictive analytics uses a holistic approach — combining both current and historical data — to make an accurate forecast, per Schaefer Systems International. AI can even make suggestions based on these forecasts to help optimize and streamline fulfillment processes.

4. Follow your assets through their product lifecycle
Cloud-based asset management tools are a great way to keep track of your warehouse assets at all times. From warehouse equipment to product inventory, it's important to manage all assets effectively and efficiently. Asset tagging allows you to follow a product through its lifecycle and ensure it's delivered on time. This process also helps warehouse managers maintain warehouse machinery and schedule proper maintenance to stay compliant with regulatory requirements.

5. Know the most optimal layout of your warehouse
Many cloud-based warehouse management tools have features that help you visualize your specific warehouse's physical layout. In the fulfillment business, ease of operation, speed and accuracy are paramount to success. This software helps managers allocate warehouse space to the most high-volume goods at the closest location to the loading dock.

6. Know exactly how much labor you need to schedule
The predictive abilities of cloud computing are also valuable human resource tools. With the ability to forecast demand or disruption, warehouse managers can determine exactly how many workers they need on the job at any time. This helps mitigate the overhead cost of scheduling too much labor, but also ensures your warehouse is never short of appropriate help.