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WMS Upgrade – Five Questions You Need to Ask

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WMS Upgrade – Five Questions You Need to Ask

September 21, 2022

Wondering whether to start a WMS Upgrade now? We’ve got five questions you should be asking yourself to get to “yes” or “no”. Upgrading can get a little complicated; sometimes the differences between an old and a new version of software are so huge that an upgrade becomes more like a new software implementation. So, how do you know when you should upgrade your supply chain software, such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)?

The Five WMS Upgrade Questions

  1. “Why the WMS upgrade?” and “Why now – can it wait?” This will help you develop a list of reasons for upgrading.
  2. What useful new functionality does the new WMS version provide that the current one does not? Anything compelling? Common reasons include new supported processes or vendor compliance requirements.
  3. What are your key complaints about the current WMS version? These commonly fall into lack of performance, functionality, or compatibility.
  4. How soon will a third party render your current WMS software obsolete?
  5. Does your corporate IT vision include significant changes in the future that make your current WMS software configuration outdated or out of sync with executive plans? Common IT vision elements include third-party hosting; moving to the cloud; virtualization and operating system, hardware, and DBMS standardizations.

Estimating Cost, Effort, and Savings

After you’ve got a solid list of reasons pulled together, the next step is to estimate costs, effort, and savings to know what you’re actually getting into with a WMS upgrade. This is a really important part of the project and what is developed in this step becomes the basis for judging the project as a success. To have something considered a success, you’ve got to define what that means. Particularly in a tighter economy, it can be tough or impossible to get approval for projects where you haven’t spent time outlining the return.

Is Now the Right Time?

If you determine upgrading now is the right thing for your organization, we have a word of caution for the planning portion. One of the most frequent mistakes we’ve observed is poor organization and execution for the implementation of the WMS upgrade. This almost always stems from lack of definition around project roles, and, more specifically, over-reliance on a software vendor to implement the project. That’s not a negative comment about software vendors – it’s a realistic statement about what they commonly provide vs. what the purchaser of the software is expected to provide (in general, a software vendor will provide 25% of the tasks required for a successful implementation, which leaves the purchaser to provide the remaining 75%).

It can be a good idea to hire some outside help to make sure you get the expertise you may not have internally. And, sometimes it’s not even a question of having the capabilities on staff; it’s a matter of having the right kinds of time to devote to an extra project outside of the daily responsibilities.

If it turns out that an upgrade isn’t justifiable now, you still do have some alternatives of course. There are many systems that have a way for customer created enhancements to bring the needed functionality that may be faster and less expensive than an upgrade to your software system. Another possibility to consider is that maybe it’s time for a different system altogether? This of course can be as daunting a process as an upgrade but like a car you’ve had for many years, at some point it doesn’t pay to keep sinking money into it if it’s not meeting your requirements for reliable transportation.

Final Thoughts

When you’ve got your list of reasons and the associated costs, savings and effort estimates, your team will be in a good position to make the decision about when to embark on a WMS upgrade.

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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

CEO

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.