The current state of the automotive industry has changed the way manufacturers and distribution facilities do business for better productivity and proficiency. As the manager or owner of an automotive parts warehouse or manufacturing plant, you know how important it is to have complete, accurate, and efficient warehouse and inventory management to prevent any problems with filling customers’ orders. Manual processes can quickly become overwhelming and inefficient, leading to costly mistakes. Investing in automotive inventory management software or a warehouse management system can help streamline your operations and improve your bottom line.
It’s important to first understand the state of the automotive industry to learn why it’s more important now than ever to invest in a warehouse management system (WMS) software solution for your auto parts warehouse or plant.
State of the Automotive Industry
With the ever-evolving industry trends, automotive parts manufacturing and warehouse managers are having to stay on their toes and adjust their warehouse management systems accordingly. For instance, auto parts eCommerce stores have become increasingly popular, leading managers to think in new ways about how they can better see and control their inventory, as well as ensure complete and efficient order fulfillment processes.
Additionally, coordinating manufacturing and warehouse operations with other business sites requires knowledge of major automotive industry trends. These can include new vehicle technology and software, volatile sales cycles, and competitive delivery strategies. By monitoring these fluctuations vigilantly, managers can ensure that their warehouses remain profitable and competitive.
The changing automotive landscape affects both original equipment (OE) and aftermarket parts manufacturers and distributors. The OEM sector specifically saw a trend in the need for improvement in transparency within their industry group. In a 2021 article, McKinsey Quarterly stated, “As with car buying, digital is driving greater transparency in manufacturing. Until recently, OEMs and tier-one suppliers had only limited insight into the processes and inventories of suppliers at lower tiers, including raw-material suppliers at tier four. Now, components are more routinely tracked across the supply chain.”
The aftermarket sector is also beginning to adapt to industry trends in the supply chain. With the new vehicle shortage due to chip availability, consumers turned to purchase used cars which need more maintenance and replacement parts. Since the aftermarket is very expansive, it results in more parts distribution.
(Image courtesy of automotiveaftermarket.org)
As a matter of fact, Automotiveaftermarket.org noted in their 2021 annual summary of the size of the automotive aftermarket industry that the US aftermarket industry as a whole (light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles) is expected to be near $500 billion in 2023 and close to $560 billion in 2026.* This income is generated by 535,000 companies like independent manufacturers, repair shops, distributors, marketers, and retailers for 280+ million US-registered vehicles.
Benefits of WMS Software for Your Warehouse
1. Automated Inventory Tracking Features
One of the primary benefits of investing in warehouse management software is automated tracking. This means that any changes made to your inventory that happens during receiving, picking, packing, and shipping are automatically tracked in real-time through the warehouse management software. This rings true for all complex warehouse situations or across multiple locations. Implementing WMS solutions helps to ensure accuracy and track inventory, as well as provides up-to-date data on stock availability, which can be used to optimize the order and restocking processes thus improving overall customer service.
2. Improved Automotive Warehouse Inventory Visibility and Reporting
Automotive inventory management software also provides improved data visibility and reporting capabilities. A good WMS has the ability to aggregate data from multiple sources into one central repository, allowing you to access a 360-degree view of all your information at any time. Advanced features in the WMS system make it easy to plan for seasonal inventory changes, better manage the picking process, and the ability to provide better logistics management. You’ll also be able to generate detailed reports about stock levels, logistics details, and inventory locations, giving you valuable insights into your business operations for the future.
3. Realize Greater Efficiency and Cost Savings with WMS
Using warehouse management software also helps reduce costs by automating manual tasks such as cycle counting and replenishment. Implementing new technology features like radio frequency (RF) scanning and voice picking with your WMS will greatly improve proficiency for your employees. Additionally, with automated tracking functionality, managers will have the ability to quickly identify discrepancies between actual stock levels and what the warehouse management system reports, potentially saving thousands of dollars each year in unnecessary purchasing due to overstocked items or inaccurate accounting.
Furthermore, automated warehouse software systems allow for ERP integration, faster order fill rates, more productive teams, better logistics and forecast planning, and efficient support services throughout the entire organization, from receiving and production to packaging and shipping to make your company more competitive!
4 . WMS Software Leads to Enhanced Customer Service and Satisfaction
Another key benefit of using a good WMS is that it helps to provide a high level of service and satisfaction due to improved accuracy when fulfilling orders. With automated tracking capabilities, customers will receive their orders more quickly — reducing wait times — while also knowing that their orders are being tracked every step of the way in real-time, via warehouse management software. In addition, an automated WMS allows for a complete and proactive communication process with customers prior to shipping, which helps build trust between them and the manufacturer, warehouse, or distribution center. Company customer service representatives will have all the tools they need to assist clients easily and provide the best support services no matter what the task or account.
5 . Increased Employee Productivity and Accountability
Investing in warehouse management systems for an auto parts business will increase productivity among employees by eliminating tedious manual tasks such as counting inventory or manually entering data into spreadsheets. An automated WMS system for your warehouse or manufacturing plant also helps improve accountability among team members by providing visibility into who is responsible for what task, ensuring that everyone is held accountable for their actions and how they affect the business. Labor management and productivity reporting are important byproducts of a good foundation set by the warehouse management system.
6. Improve Visibility Into Supply Chain Processes
Having visibility into supply chain processes is essential for any business looking to improve proficiency and reduce costs. This includes logistics, technology options, ERP integration, and software solutions. The automated functionality of the warehouse management system provides real-time visibility into orders so that managers can see exactly what’s happening with each order at any given time, from receipt, fulfillment, and shipping to products arriving at their final destination. This way they can choose a solution when managing any issues, leading to greater customer support, making better business decisions, and managing costs proficiently.
7. Easier Collaboration Between Businesses
Finally, having an automated system in place makes it much easier for different businesses within your industry (or even outside) to collaborate on projects without having to worry about discrepancies between different sets of data from different locations or warehouses. This could include your raw materials dealers, packaging vendors, or logistics companies. By having everything logged into one unified system, select WMS features and information are accessible to anyone with permission from the manager responsible for overseeing the database itself, giving the system maximum functionality. This allows teams from different locations or businesses to work together seamlessly on projects without worrying about cross-referencing different databases every time something changes or new information needs updating. Supply chain visibility is critical to remove inefficiencies, analyze trends and make better business decisions faster.
Cadre Has Your Automotive Warehouse Management Solution
Automotive inventory management software is incredibly important for businesses in the automotive and auto parts industries, as we highlighted above. But did you know that whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, or 3PL, Cadre has the perfect solution to meet your inventory management and operational needs with Cadence WMS.
Cadre recognizes that automotive products manufacturing and distribution require part numbers to be both serialized and non-serialized. Cadence WMS inventory management system has the ability to automatically input part numbers and components with a higher value upon entry through your facility’s receiving process and the information is carried through to the final shipping stage. This allows you more control and traceability over the quality of your inventory throughout the complete distribution cycle.
Cadence also has the ability to manage kitting, specialized picking and packing, and outside system integrations. Cadence WMS even allows for custom inventory rules for specific SKU requirements.
Whether you choose on-premises installation or access Cadence WMS through the cloud, our team of dedicated Cadre professionals is ready to work with your company to meet your specific automotive industry needs. Contact us today to learn how you can take your business to the next level.