The Proof is in the Pudding. Well, actually, that’s only our modern take on the proverb which by now is probably something more like #pudding. In this case, the Proof we’re talking about is the WMS Proof of Concept, one of many phases to a successful WMS implementation. Our implementation projects generally begin with a discovery session, then transition to design, quickly move on to blueprinting of processes, which then leads to a Proof of Concept (POC). Much like an architect rendering their first model, a proof of concept is my first opportunity to see the framework of my WMS artwork. This may sound exaggerated and fluffy; I guarantee you these are my authentic feelings regarding a POC. I enjoy the discussions leading up to the POC, it’s just that nothing beats seeing the pieces all come together.
An Open Sky Group WMS Proof of Concept (POC) is a demonstration of a client’s solution. Ideally, a POC is configured in a client’s WMS/WLM development environment (often referred to as Dev). The environment is loaded with a sampling of the client’s items and locations and is configured to match the client’s operational needs and requests as described and documented during the discovery and design sessions earlier in the project. A POC will generally use the clients ‘real’ inbound and outbound orders and inventory. This will be the first chance to see the solution coming together and understand how the solution will work in day-to-day operations.
Full disclosure; if I were to describe what a POC was to me, it’s my chance as a Solutions Architect to show off a little. After all, I sit in meetings and take a bunch of notes and ask a lot of questions up until the POC, where I get a chance to show my talents. Much like an athlete telling you how fast they run or how well they catch, actions speak much louder than words. The proof of concept is my debut and an opportunity to show my abilities.
An informative and expansive Proof of Concept is crucial to a successful project for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s the realization of documentation and discussion. Imagine describing a house in detail and discussing the intricacies of each architectural element. Seeing a model for the first time affirms that your descriptions were correctly understood, translated, and applied. Also, seeing the model allows you to confirm that your requests are functional and applicable in a real-life format. Much like an architectural model, the POC version of the WMS allows an operations team to verify that their solution is satisfying expectations and requests. The conversation and discoveries during a POC serve as a compass for the build and testing phase of the project.
A successful WMS Proof of Concept will also serve to align the operation. As your Open Sky Solutions Architect demonstrates the solution, having key team members participate in a POC allows for them to align expectations and understand the changes that are coming. In a successful POC, there is always a clear understanding of the future, along with plenty of discussion regarding what will and will not work in a real-life setting. By executing a POC prior to the build of the final solution, Open Sky and the project team can identify any gaps in understanding.
Most importantly the WMS Proof of Concept symbolizes progress. In a short time period, a system has gone from imagination to reality. Understanding that there is still a lot to come in a project, a POC symbolizes that a solution is a reality. This launches the project into build and testing activities with a team that can envision their goal. There’s no doubt, a proof of concept is a vital piece of a successful WMS/WLM implementation.