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Management of online and offline store warehouses and inventory with xTrack WMS

Axes Software » Management of online and offline store warehouses and inventory with xTrack WMS

With the xTrack WMS warehouse and inventory management system, companies in various industries can benefit from automated management of the flow of goods and services in the warehousing component of the supply chain (SC – Supply Chain). Managing online and offline store warehouses and their inventory using modern technology offers a number of benefits that ensure profit maximization.

What is xTrack WMS?

xTrack WMS is a WMS system designed to automate a company’s warehouse workflows and operations. Implementing the system helps to increase productivity and efficiency of warehouse operations, enables the management of a wide range of activities, identifies sources of inefficiency and minimizes labor costs, while maintaining optimal delivery quality in terms of order processing time and accuracy of products shipped to customers.

In most cases, the xTrack WMS solutions implemented by Axes Software are integrated into its clients’ software ecosystems. This integration is achieved through dedicated modules for connecting (interfacing) with different applications, especially ERP systems. This ensures a continuous information flow among the various departments within the same company (accounting and financial, customer relations, commercial, human resources, etc.).

Axes Software clients can choose xTrack WMS cloud-based systems or the web-based version of xTrack WMS. This reduces the costs of purchasing hardware and the salaries of IT specialists to maintain the system, as well as maintenance costs. In addition, users are highly mobile and can access the application from anywhere and at any time via a simple Internet connection, without the restrictions imposed by a physical server (limited storage space, technical failures).

xTrack WMS implementation in online and offline store warehouses

To illustrate the benefits of using the xTrack WMS application developed by our company, we present below one of our projects completed recently.

Two months after the implementation of xTrack WMS at one of our clients, the average number of orders processed daily increased by about 30%. It’s not just theory, it’s the reality in the warehouse of this partner with whom we recently started working. Naturally, such an increase is seen with most of our clients…

The advantages and benefits you can get when you automate your warehouse don’t just remain in tables and charts, but will be felt by you as a business owner and by every member of your team. Digitization in SCM has multiple benefits, and xTrack WMS is no exception, as it is streamlining and optimizing every step of the warehouse processes.

WMS applications optimize warehouse management

WMS applications have become mandatory in the current pandemic context, when businesses have had to move online to survive. Stores, whether they are online or offline, need good management to be able to quickly fulfil a large number of incoming orders, especially now that more and more people prefer not to go shopping in person. Implementing a WMS solution in warehouses is no longer just an option, but an obligation for those who want to optimize their business. Especially since optimization goes hand in hand with cost reduction – a goal not to be neglected in a time of economic crisis.

Axes Software has deployed its own xTrack WMS application in warehouses of customers who have specific activities and tens of thousands of items in their product portfolio. Elefant.ro, Modlet and Kalapod are just a few of our customers who operate either online only or both online and  offline.

The customer referred to in the previous chapter owns a network consisting of a central warehouse and several other warehouses associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, with “offline” sales. It turned to us when the number of daily orders increased so much that it required automation of warehouse workflows. It has been eight weeks since he started using xTrack WMS and the average number of orders processed daily has increased by about 30%, even though demand has not yet peaked (statistically, the summer season is not the peak season for sales of products sold by this company).

Central warehouse management with WMS

Our client’s central warehouse has two main areas: the wholesale receiving and storage area and the storage area for products destined for the online store. The first area is the entry point for all the items sent by suppliers, but also the departure point for the second area, the “online” area, and for the other “offline” warehouses (i.e. the warehouses of the brick-and-mortar stores).

The flow we describe below works for any company with a similar structure, but the functionalities of our xTrack WMS application can be customized to meet the specific needs of any client.

Transfer between warehouse areas

Upon receipt, each box of products coming from suppliers to our client receives a unique warehouse identification code automatically generated by xTrack WMS. The label is then scanned with Zebra Technologies mobile terminals and the initial data is thus entered into the system.

The packages are divided into separate items, to which individual product labels are applied; these are automatically generated in the WMS based on existing data (item name etc.). Labelling is either done when the products are manually checked by designated operators in the warehouse, or can be imposed automatically by the application when it checks stocks to find items ordered online.

If in the central warehouse – “online” area the application determines that stocks of certain items are insufficient to fulfil online orders received in the system, it automatically checks the stocks in the central warehouse – “wholesale” area as well. If it finds the needed products here, it generates replenishment tasks (information and written instructions) which result in the individual products in question being labelled and moved from the “wholesale” area to the “online” area.

xTrack WMS therefore manages the transfer of goods between the different areas of the central warehouse and other warehouses. More specifically, the application monitors all outgoing goods from the central warehouse – the ‘wholesale’ area – and incoming goods to the ‘online’ area and the ‘offline’ warehouses.

Integration with the client’s website

The xTrack WMS application is interfaced with our client’s website so that there is an automatic, real-time synchronization between the system and the online platform. Therefore, all data related to orders placed on the website and their status (active, cancelled) are permanently imported into the application. This ensures the accuracy of operations that are automatically coordinated through xTrack WMS, e.g. replenishment activities from the central warehouse – “wholesale” area to the “online area.

Interfacing xTrack WMS with our client’s website also allows the display of prices, which are entered in specific lists in the application. These price lists included in the xTrack WMS application are a first novelty element and they are very useful when the price tags that are applied in physical stores are created.

Delivery flow to end customers

The delivery flow is fully automated via the application, after the required goods have been moved to the central warehouse – the “online” area. xTrack WMS creates so-called aggregate lists, i.e. groups of several orders placed online by customers, which are to be collected from the shelves in one trolley.

How is this picking carried out efficiently? With the help of data identifying the requested items (in stock) and their location in the warehouse, the application generates the optimal route to be followed by a warehouse operator (“picker“) so as to minimize the time and effort spent on this activity. The effect is an increase in the productivity of all those involved in this activity. Workers receive automatically generated tasks on their mobile terminals via xTrack WMS as they follow the set route and pick the items specified in instructions.

Upon completion of the picking activity, another worker in the warehouse takes the trolley with the collected products and performs the splitting operation – separating and grouping products according to customer orders. The items are scanned one by one and placed, according to the tasks received for this purpose, in the locations indicated for each individual order.

Once the sorting and grouping of all collected products is completed, the xTrack WMS application automatically exports order information to Postis (courier integrator) which then relays the AWBs to xTrack WMS; these are imported into the application and printed. The AWBs are separately applied to the resulting final parcels after the items corresponding to each order are packed.

Next comes the loading task, which starts with the scanning of the code applied to each courier’s trolley. This is followed by the scanning and uploading, into the application, of the data for each parcel to be placed in that trolley, and the actual loading of the parcels into the trolley. Once the scanning of all items in a trolley is complete, the consolidation is declared complete. The next step is for the couriers to pick up the parcels for delivery to the end customers.

Returns from customers

The application also manages returns. Information about parcels returned by “online” customers is sent to xTrack WMS by Postis. Returned items are picked up in the central warehouse – “online” area and are included or not (depending on the condition of the products) in the stock available for online sales.

The stocks displayed on our client’s website also include stocks in the “offline” warehouses of brick-and-mortar stores. If customers order products online, xTrack WMS checks the stocks in the following order, moving to the next warehouse if it does not identify the items ordered in the previous warehouse: stocks in the central warehouse – “online” area, stocks in the central warehouse – “wholesale” area and stocks in “offline” warehouses.

If the products are identified in the stock in the central warehouse – “wholesale” area, they are sent to the stock in the central warehouse – “online” area. If they are available in “offline” warehouses, they are picked offline, the items are received by transfer to the central warehouse – “online” area and become part of that stock. The same circuit is then followed for the delivery of online orders, as described above.

Offline store warehouse management with WMS

As already mentioned, our client also runs activities in brick-and-mortar stores that have their own warehouses. xTrack WMS integrates and automates these activities as well.

Receiving in the offline warehouses of the physical stores is done piece by piece, following transfers from the central warehouse (both from the wholesale and online stocks). All inventory changes are monitored through xTrack WMS.

A second new element included in xTrack WMS is the establishment of three zones in a physical store. Products are scanned when they are moved between these zones so that a detailed record can be kept.

xTrack WMS continuously monitors the variations that occur in stocks by simple scans with the mobile terminal. Negative adjustments – the subtraction of the goods sold in the physical store from the stocks displayed on the website – or positive adjustments, which occur in the case of “offline” returns, when the customer returns the purchased items directly to the store, are automatically recorded.

If items are needed from “offline” warehouses to fulfil orders placed online, an outbound order is placed. This is followed by picking from the shelves according to the transmitted tasks, which is an operation that is recorded in the application by scanning the products. The next step is loading the goods into the client’s own vehicles for transfer to the “online” area in the central warehouse (without prior splitting because picking is not grouped in this case).

Benefits of using WMS in managing your warehouse

The benefits you gain when you use automated activity management in your stores and warehouses have been confirmed in the case of the client we are talking about in this article. During the first evaluation we did since implementing the application we ticked all the benefits on the checklist.

Elimination of human error from procedures

The application automatically records incoming goods and outgoing products as well as their movement inside the warehouse. It sends clear information and instructions to mobile terminals. This almost completely reduces the possibility of human error and has a positive cascade effect: eliminating picking or delivery errors significantly reduces returns, and this means that the time previously spent processing returned goods can be reallocated to other objectives.

Ease and safety when using equipment

xTrack WMS is user-friendly for both office operators and those actually working in the warehouse. Also, Zebra handheld terminals (barcode scanners, printers, etc.), the hardware that complements the software application, are easy-to-use rugged devices.

Increase in employee productivity

The tasks set by the application help reduce employee’s time and effort allocated to each individual operation, for example centralizing orders or identifying items. The system can do quick automated checks across all stocks (online and offline) instead of time-consuming physical checks and it offers business optimization solutions. It thus contributes decisively to increasing the number of orders processed daily, avoiding delivery delays and reducing operational costs.

Online and offline customer satisfaction

Increased productivity and improved accuracy of picking and deliveries results in reduced waiting times for ordered products. The customers get exactly what they want in a much shorter period of time.

Automatic determination of replenishment needs

Based on the customer orders, the application automatically calculates the quantities of items needed for seamless warehousing and delivery activities.

Application flexibility

Interfacing xTrack WMS with our client’s website and Postis allows automatic processing of a variable volume of information as well as immediate adaptation to changes. For example, cancelling orders placed online leads to the immediate cancellation of tasks related to the deleted items and a re-evaluation of the priority of remaining tasks. The application keeps a clear record of available stocks according to negative or positive adjustments resulting from returns and online or offline sales.

Traceability

By automating warehouse workflows and interfacing with the online store website and Postis, xTrack WMS keeps a clear record of all the activities performed. Whenever you wish, you find answers to questions about who (receiver, picker, courier, etc.), what (items), where (putaway location, picking, moving, delivery) and when (receiving dates, delivery dates, etc.).

Labelling

The application automatically generates various informative labels that help to easily track the circuit of items. In addition, it also generates price tags – very useful in brick-and-mortar stores. The shop assistants are no longer forced to write the price on the labels with a pen and can concentrate on serving customers.

System control

The application provides complex access rights, depending on the operations carried out, and records data on the persons carrying out transactions in the system.

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Do you want to enjoy the benefits of xTrack WMS? Fill in the request form (above) or the contact form and our consultants will reply within 48 hours.

24 September 2020

Over 250 successful software deployments

Our customers come from various sectors of activity that have a common denominator: the need for logistics software solutions.

+ 30%

Optimization of warehouse processes

+ 25%

Increase in transport performance

+ 30%

Improvement in production efficiency

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Antim Mogos
Sales Manager
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