By Curt Sardeson, December 22, 2020
WMS Implementation – Are You Ready?
The benefits of implementing warehouse management solutions are unmatched in the ability to maximize almost every area of your warehouse operations. A robust WMS prepares your warehouse operation for the future and provides the foundation for dramatically enhanced productivity, as well as the ability to adapt and grow with your organization.
Your warehouses and distribution centers – critical components of the supply chain – are under increased pressure to adapt to rapid changes in consumer demand. Without the proper WMS and technology in place, your logistics operation will not be able to meet this increasingly demanding standard of service. When you evaluate your business and determine it is time to make the change, here are 7 steps to preparing for a successful WMS implementation.
1. Find the right supply chain solution provider
There are many providers of WMS solutions. From simple to robust and small to large, it can be daunting to understand the marketplace and offerings. Look at similar warehouses in your industry to get a feel for what may work best for your organization. Industry associations such as MHI, WERC, and CSCMP frequently offer tours in different regions of the country that could help you network and see other facilities. Here are some additional tips for making a selection.
2. Find a supply chain technology company that will be a partner you can trust
This may be the biggest step in your implementation. Unless you’ve got a lot of experience with the solution you’re considering – and you have resources with the time to devote to the implementation project, you’ll want to consider partnering with a supply chain technology company you can trust. Working with the wrong partner can cause glitches and setbacks that may permanently impact your business. Look for financial stability, excellent customer support, experience, and credible client references. In some cases, you can purchase all aspects of a solution through one single supply chain technology company. Open Sky Group offers these advantages in a way no one in the industry can top. One of the first Blue Yonder WMS accredited partners, we are industry-recognized with awards from many organizations including Inc. 5000, Blue Yonder, Food Logistics, and Supply Chain Brain. We have also completed over 900 supply chain projects to date.
3. Consider and select team members for your WMS implementation
The implementation team is a critical piece in a successful project. Do you have the skills internally that will be needed, and even more importantly, will those resources be freed from their daily responsibilities so that they can dedicate time to the implementation? Communication is vital in any large-scale change such as this. IT and operations will need to work together to establish the implementation schedule and prepare for the implementation as the project proceeds. Click here for more insight on building a solid WMS implementation team.
4. Calculate the total cost of ownership of your WMS
It can be easy to assume that the costs of a WMS include only the licenses, maintenance, and implementation. There are many other costs that you might encounter, depending on the WMS you’ve chosen. Here are some tips for calculating and analyzing those costs more thoroughly.
5. Consider starting the training on the new WMS as early as possible
Training is key to a successful implementation. A good partner will help provide training to key individuals in your company during the implementation and provide support as you get the system up and running. Training is another element in the total cost of ownership as well as an influencer on the timeline in your implementation. You will want to schedule time for training either before or during the implementation as this will greatly increase the effectiveness of your users with the new solution. Who will be your designated WMS Super Users?
6. Where will the WMS reside?
This step is connected to choosing a provider as well as calculating your total cost of ownership. You’ll want to understand the capabilities and limitations of your internal IT staff first. Then consider the pros and cons of purchasing a hosted or cloud solution vs. SaaS vs. housing the WMS software on your own hardware.
7. How will maintenance and support work for your WMS?
Once you’ve made the decision to go forward with a new WMS, it’s not too soon to start thinking about what will happen once the implementation is done. How will your organization handle any issues – does the software provider offer support? Does your chosen supply chain technology partner provide support?