Essent Webinars: Warehouse Management Systems Optimize Inventory and Fulfillment

Warehouse Management software allows a business to take control of inventory and fulfillment with tools for product information management, inventory accuracy, inventory replenishment, inventory valuation, fulfillment picking, fulfillment packing, and fulfillment shipping.

Watch the Warehouse Management software Webinar

Slide 1: Make the Most of Your Warehouse
Hello and welcome to the latest webinar from Essent. Today we’re going to show you how warehouse management software helps optimize inventory and fulfillment to boost efficiency and add value to every order and a business as a whole.

Slide 2: Moderator: Douglas B. Brill
My name is Doug Brill. I’m the Essent marketing coordinator and I specialize in the promotional products industry. I’m also your moderator today.

Slide 3: About Essent
Before we begin, a very brief overview of Essent. Essent is the leader in providing Comprehensive business management solutions since 1981 Essent has been serving Distributors, Decorators, and Suppliers in the promotional products industry since the year 2000 $3 Billion in Commerce flows through Essent’s solutions each year

Slide 4: If You Have Questions
We want to answer everyone’s questions in a way that’s sensitive to your time and everyone’s time. So if you do have questions we ask that you please submit them in the webinar dashboard. And then we’ll be happy to answer those questions offline after the webinar has ended.

Slide 5: What Happens After the Sale?
Many businesses think of themselves as sales-driven. But what happens after the sale? There is a whole range of critical operations between the point of a sale and final delivery that contribute to the value of every transaction. These operations occur in inventory and fulfillment, and they represent a sizable opportunity for any business.

Slide 6: The Opportunity in the Warehouse
That’s because optimizing inventory and fulfillment makes every order more valuable. Every order needs to be fulfilled. So limiting the time and costs of fulfillment reduces the cost of the order, making it more profitable. Optimizing inventory and fulfillment also means the business can also sell more, because it can process more orders in less time. The accuracy of information will reduce the mistakes that are so costly to go back and fix. And efficient picking, packing, and shipping will lead to increased customer satisfaction. Customers receiving accurate, hassle-free orders, in a timely fashion are more likely to come back for more.

Slide 7: The Opportunity in the Warehouse
Let’s just take a moment to highlight the value that warehouse management creates. Third-party fulfillment providers like fulfillment houses and fulfillment centers take control of the warehouse and run it with tremendous efficiency. They’re not necessarily selling products. They’re just selling the service of an efficient warehouse, which is a business model in its own rite. The ecommerce giants that we’ve all become familiar with are another great example. When you think about it, their sales operation is pretty minimal: they list items on a website. Almost the entire value proposition is to pick, pack, and ship more efficiently than anyone else can. These are multibillion dollar businesses built largely on inventory and fulfillment efficiency.

Slide 8: Inventory and Fulfillment: A Business Model in Itself
So this goes to underscore the immense value in inventory and fulfillment efficiency. It’s such a value-add that it can be the crux of a big business all by itself.

Slide 9: Presenter: Chimaine Shadd
And with that, here to bring you a closer look is your presenter, Chimaine Shadd. Chimaine will detail how warehouse management software supports efficient inventory and fulfillment to bring more value to a business.

Slide 10: Does Your Business Need Warehouse Management Software?
Does your business need warehouse management software?

Slide 11: 7 Signs
We’ve put together a list of indications that a business is in need of an Inventory and Fulfillment Software:

1. Do you find yourself manually Tracking Inventory on paper and spreadsheets, often leading to errors, extra work, and extra re-work.

2. Are you finding it difficult to access complete, accurate, real-time information on products and their counts?

3. Is it hard to know the value of your inventory, whether it’s business or customer owned?

4. Many businesses hold products on consignment yet don’t consider those products to be their own inventory. But any business physically storing items needs to manage it.

Slide 12: 7 Signs (continued)
5. Does it feel like inventory, operations, and workflow are running on different schedules?

6. When the warehouse isn’t integrated with the rest of the business, it’s usually a sign of manual processes that are unnecessarily time-consuming and error-prone.

7. As you can see, without warehouse management software, it can be rather difficult for your business to stick to its own inventory rules while keeping stock levels optimal.

Slide 13: Warehouse Information Management
Warehouse management isn’t just a matter of storing and moving products. It’s a matter of storing and moving information.

Slide 14: Warehouse Information.
A warehouse full of products carries with it loads of vital information. Every product has hundreds of data points attached to it. And this information ultimately is what drives warehouse operations. There is information about the Product itself such as: Category, Subcategory, SKU, Supplier, Manufacturer, Lot Numbers, Serial numbers. There is information about inventory, stocking and replenishment. This would include inventory counts, reorder points, reorder quantities, required quantities, and backorders. Then there’s the Fulfillment information. This includes location, pick lists, wave-picking lists, weight, dimensions, and everything else needed to pick, pack, and ship.

Slide 15: Warehouse Information (continued)
We must not forget the financial information such as: costing and pricing. How about the business documents associated with products, like purchase orders, sales orders, advanced ship notices, and order statuses? And perhaps most importantly there is workflow information that defines just how the warehouse is going to perform it’s inventory and fulfillment.

Slide 16: Warehouse Information (continued)
Warehouse management software is the solution for storing and processing that sheer volume of information. Reams of data that would take hours to manually enter can be entered instantaneously. One way to seamlessly log information is to receive it against purchase orders. The purchase order already exists electronically. So once the items are received, the purchase order information can flow into the warehouse management software to update the inventory Since that information is entered automatically and in real-time, inventory information remains accurate and up-to-date at all times. And all of that information is now in one central electronic repository. So it’s easy to find the desired information by using the search tools that the warehouse management software provides.

Slide 17: No Matter How Big the Warehouse, Warehouse Management Software Handles the Information.
No matter the size of the warehouse... Warehouse Management Software provides product information when it’s needed.

Slide 18: Inventory Management
When we’re talking inventory, we’re also effectively talking about cash flow. So it’s important to have accurate inventory information at all times, to keep stock levels optimal, and to know the value of the inventory. Warehouse Management Software should be equipped with tools that aid in the accuracy, replenishment, and valuation of inventory.

Slide 19: Inventory Accuracy: Barcoding
Barcoding is an extremely useful tool for inventory accuracy. It transmits inventory information instantaneously and accurately.

Slide 20: Inventory Accuracy: Barcoding
Barcoding is one of the major tools that warehouse management software can provide to keep inventory counts accurate. With Barcode-Verified Fulfillment, items can be scanned to communicate inventory changes and update the count. Even for thousands of products spread throughout multiple warehouses, barcode-verified fulfillment helps keep inventory accurate. Warehouse management software should also support auditing to verify inventory accuracy. Whether it’s a traditional inventory audit or cycle counting audit, which involves auditing only portions of inventory at a given time.

Slide 21: >99% Inventory Accuracy
With barcode-verified fulfillment and inventory auditing tools, warehouse management software can help achieve inventory with greater than 99% accuracy.

Slide 22: Inventory Replenishment
Keeping inventory counts accurate is a major consideration. And the next consideration is keeping inventory counts optimal – in other words, keeping stock at the levels the business wants. This is where inventory replenishment comes in…

Slide 23: Inventory Replenishment (continued)
Warehouse management software is equipped with tools to manage replenishment, keeping stock levels optimal. It starts with the business setting its rules for Minimum Reorder Points and Reorder Quantities. When inventory counts fall below these thresholds, the warehouse management software displays what needs to be re-ordered and how much. The warehouse management software also automatically calculates required inventory, which is a powerful tool for defining rules for safety stock, Material Resources Planning, or required stock in general. For the situations when a business does run low on stock, warehouse management software also has backorder management tools. For businesses with multiple warehouses, these rules can be set up on a per warehouse basis so that every warehouse keeps stock levels optimal.

Slide 24: Know What’s Needed When it’s Needed.
Warehouse management software with built in replenishment tools lets a business know what items are needed when they’re needed.

Slide 25: Inventory Valuation
A business needs to know the value of its inventory at any given time, whether it's company-owned inventory or customer-owned inventory.

Slide 26: Inventory Valuation (continued)
The inventory valuation affects significant financial and compliance considerations. For example, the value of the inventory affects tax deductions, capital, assets, and equity. The inventory is part of the value of the business. Therefore, it’s important to know the value of the inventory. Inventory valuation also affects cash flow. Without accurate inventory valuation, it would be easy to overstock and constrain cash flow. Since the value of inventory is equity, inaccurate inventory could affect the ability to borrow. Inventory valuation also has insurance implications. In order to have appropriate insurance coverage, the business needs to know the value of its inventory. This is equally important whether the business owns the inventory outright or is holding it on consignment.

Slide 27: Inventory Valuation (continued)
Warehouse management software has tools to manage inventory valuation so that accounting, cash flow, and insurance considerations are met. Perhaps the most critical piece is inventory accuracy, previously noted. Knowing what’s on hand is the 1st step to knowing the value of what’s on hand. Meanwhile, cost analysis tools track average cost, standard cost, and actual cost for each product or group of products. This provides a clear picture of the cost to acquire items. On the pricing side, the system can offer both default and custom pricing models. This gives businesses nearly unlimited flexibility in creating special pricing for certain customers, without having to define pricing for each and every customer.

Slide 28: Know the Value Of What’s in Stock
Warehouse management software provides the complete, accurate picture of inventory valuation so a business always knows the value of what's in stock.

Slide 29: Inventory Recap
Warehouse management software helps with inventory in a number of ways. Barcode-verified fulfillment and inventory auditing tools maintain inventory accuracy at greater than 99%. With Minimum re-order points, required inventory, and back-order management, inventory levels are optimal. And costing and pricing models assist businesses in knowing the value of what’s in stock in real time.

Slide 30: Fulfillment Management
Between the sale and final product delivery, there’s a critical range of operations that move the product from its current location to the buyer. And that’s where fulfillment comes in. The business that can pick, pack, and ship efficiently keeps order costs down, which drives order profitability up and allows a business to process more orders in less time.

Slide 31: Fulfillment: Picking
And when a sales order arrives, the fulfillment process begins..

Slide 32: Fulfillment: Picking (continued)
Efficient picking is basically physically gathering specified items in the minimum amount of time. The first step in picking is knowing where to find the item. A stock locator in warehouse management software can track zone, row, shelf, and bin to help find items as quickly as possible. Warehouse management software can also generate pick lists. Sales Order information can flow into the fulfillment software to define the items that need to be gathered. Order Picking Priority defines which items should be picked in which order. It can align with deadlines, workflow, production time, back orders, preferred customers, freight carrier arrivals, in-hands dates, or other criteria so picking is optimized for real-world deadlines and logistics. Integration with the Business Management System makes the warehouse management software even more powerful. The submission of a sales order can be automatically communicated to the warehouse management software, which in turn generates pick lists.

Slide 33: Picking: What, Where, When, and in What Order
Warehouse Management software helps define a picking workflow that aligns with other workflows and logistics.

Slide 34: Fulfillment: Packing
Once picking operations are efficiently executed including any necessary production, the next step in fulfillment is packing the order.

Slide 35: Fulfillment: Packing (continued)
Warehouse management software with rule-based fulfillment assists in creating efficient packing workflows. The business can set rules based on order classes, customers, in-hands dates, and other criteria. These are rules to ensure that packing is performed in the correct order and as efficiently as possible to satisfy customers. The warehouse management software then can generate workflows based on these rules. For example, it can give packing priority to preferred customers. Or even dictate that rush orders are to be packed first. Packing is more than placing a single item in a single box. And that is why warehouse management software needs the flexibility to handle variations that arise, such as kitting and bundling, bill of materials, and partial shipments.

Slide 36: Packing Efficiency, According to the Rules
Warehouse management software helps ensure packing is performed as efficiently as possible according to the rules set by the business.

Slide 37: Fulfillment: Shipping
Now that the item is picked and packed as efficiently as possible, it’s time for shipping. warehouse management software with shipping integration provides the complete, accurate picture on shipping prices and logistics.

Slide 38: Fulfillment: Shipping (continued)
The warehouse management software is going to make shipping as efficient as possible. It can hold the information on weight, dimensions, and number of parcels. And it also knows shipping rates if it’s integrated with popular carriers such FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service. Having accurate pricing helps the business ensure it charges the right amount for shipping instead of overcharging or undercharging based on manual estimates or one-size-fits-all rates. Integration allows customer names and addresses can be automatically communicated to the carrier. And the carrier can automatically communicate actual weights, shipping charges, and tracking numbers back to the business. The system can also automatically transmit shipping documents like shipping statuses and advance ship notices, as well as invoices upon shipping.

Slide 39: Costs, Logistics, and the Complete Picture of Shipping
Integrated warehouse management software tracks and communicates both costs and logistics for the complete SHIPPING picture.

Slide 40: Fulfillment Management
Warehouse management software offers picking, packing, and shipping with ultimate efficiency. It helps define a picking workflow that aligns with other workflow processes and logistics. Warehouse management software can ensure packing is performed as efficiently as possible according to the rules set by your business. And, remember, integrated warehouse management software tracks and communicates costs and logistics for the complete picture of shipping.

Slide 41: More Features
Warehouse management software can also assist in production, managing services, and even inventory that’s not on-hand yet.

Slide 42: Production
Warehouse management software with built-in work order management assists in production. The work order manager can show the services associated with an item in unmistakable detail. That can even include a photo or artwork to show exactly how the final product should appear. The software may also include Barcode-supported work order management. With this functionality, scanning the barcode opens up the work order associated with the item so it’s easy to see the work that needs to be done. On the flip side, an item can be scanned so that the someone can enter the services then the next person to scan it can see what needs to be done.

Slide 43: Services
When we think about sales we usually think about products. But there are services to manage as well. Warehouse management software can help manage them. We have mentioned how the work order manager can display the services that need to be performed. And integration with the order management system and accounting system will ensure that all of the services are accounted for and billed correctly. Whether it’s embroidery, screen printing, or additional charges like tape creation, all of the services and charges can be reflected accurately. The software can also show services history such as what services where performed where and when, which comes in handy when services are performed at multiple locations.

Slide 44: Future Inventory
And finally, warehouse management software can even help with inventory that in a way doesn’t even exist yet. Software with built-in Pre-Order Management helps businesses sell items before they’re even purchased from the vendor. This can be leveraged to build buzz for a product, generate bulk quantity before a purchase, or just to continue the flow of a popular product without interruption. Related, the software can also show inventory that has been ordered but hasn’t been checked in. That way, a business knows what’s on its way and what will be inventory in the future. The opposite of that is showing inventory that’s soon to leave your warehouse. Packing Lists for partial shipments can show remaining items that need to be fulfilled.

Slide 45: More Features Recap
So warehouse management software can aid production with built-in work order management, with barcoding support. Services aren’t just listed in the work order manager but are integrated with order management and accounting so that everything is billed correctly. And there are tools that help manage your future inventory.

Slide 46: Software that Makes the Most of the Warehouse
From inventory to production to fulfillment and beyond, warehouse management software helps a business make the most of the warehouse.

Slide 47: Moderator: Douglas B. Brill
And with that, I’ll turn it back over to Doug who will tell you how to learn more.

Slide 48: Make the Most of the Warehouse
Thank you very much, Chimaine. Essent is dedicated to providing efficiency in the promotional products industry, and Essent solutions support all of the capabilities discussed today. Essent has integrated warehouse management software built into its business management technology solutions. To learn more about warehouse management software, you can visit There you can learn more about everything we discussed today, review the webinar, and also get in touch with an Essent representative for a free consultation. Again, that’s to learn more. Thanks again to everyone for attending today’s webinar. Make the most of the Warehouse with warehouse management software.