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7 Steps for Approaching a WMS Implementation



7 Steps for Approaching a WMS Implementation

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.

Bottom line?

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?

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Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

Senior Vice President of Technology

As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich


Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.

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