In order to turn a profit, campus stores are hugely reliant on the accuracy of their inventory management processes. Handling a large number of ever-changing SKUs is no easy task when there are multiple locations, rotating inventory and you’re regularly training new staff. Without adequate systems in place, mis-picks and mis-ships will quickly eat away at your margins. Justin Crull, NetSuite Sales Executive, explores how a WMS can help to alleviate these challenges.
Q: What should campus stores be looking for when they’re selecting a WMS to work with NetSuite? For campus stores, there are 3 key aspects that should be considered while undertaking this sort of project:
Safety and security - Many campus stores are affiliated with universities, so it is vital to ensure the information they transact is secure.
Ease-of-use and trainability - There is often high staff turnover in this space, so it’s important new team members can easily learn the system and quickly become effective in their day-to-day roles.
Accuracy - Campus stores have multiple points of service – in-store, shipping on and off campus, online orders, transfers to and from warehouses, etc. There is a heightened need to ensure they are managing and recording their inventory accurately to minimize errors and returns between all locations.
Q: How does mobility impact these considerations for campus stores? As we mentioned, campus bookstores spend a lot of time training due to employee turnover. Staff will often consist of students who graduate and move on to new positions. This means leveraging a system that’s easy to use is even more important. With a mobile inventory solution like RF-SMART, retail and campus businesses are able to use devices that essentially look like smartphones, meaning they’re extremely user friendly and require little training. The interface is color coded and the intuitive screens guide workers through the store.
Another key issue is picking. A lot of the time, staff will pick orders manually using a piece of paper, which makes it easy for mistakes to occur. Instead, it’s extremely beneficial to have a mobile device that gives you real-time feedback, such as seeing which items still need to be picked.
And speaking of accuracy, campus stores need to ensure they are accurately labeling and accounting for their inventory. The costs associated with the movement of inventory and how many returns the business accrues will be especially important for bookstores given the margins they work with. Make it your goal to be as accurate as possible so that you can maximize your profits.
Q: What ROI can campus stores expect to see from a WMS? When it comes to ROI, a NetSuite WMS can greatly help to expand your e-commerce offering. With the example of the ongoing pandemic, many factors have led to an increase in demand for services like delivery and in-store pick up. Adopting a WMS can enable you to expand your e-commerce presence and equip your employees with the tools they need to make fulfilling these services easier.
Employee productivity is also a key metric. How do you ensure your employees are being as productive as they can day-to-day? A mobile WMS affords them the ability to:
Retrieve better analytics and gamify your processes
In addition, one way to keep the team engaged could include gamification - fun competitions and games that encourage use of the WMS in NetSuite. PetShop.co.uk is a great example of using gamification to increase productivity; they recently discussed their successes with this strategy on our podcast.
If you're a campus store struggling with inefficient manual processes, the next step is to speak to our team and see if RF-SMART could be a suitable option for you.
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