Your WMS is a powerful tool that will help you to maximise your existing or new distribution centre space constraints, operate more efficiently and in the long run, extend your time in a building. Whether you are building, retrofitting or simply altering an existing facility, there are many benefits of involving your WMS partner right from the beginning.
Why do you need to involve your WMS partner in the design of your warehouse layout? The short answer is this: it will ensure that the physical design will match your WMS capabilities from the outset.
Think of your WMS and warehouse layout and flow as pieces of a puzzle - if the two don’t fit, you won’t be able to completely finish the puzzle. You might be able to guess what the picture should be, but you’re not going to be able to get a complete (and accurate) picture.
Your warehouse design team typically consists of architects, warehouse consulting and engineering, internal WMS expertise and your WMS partner. They are all critical in helping you plan, design, source and implement the changes required to achieve your goals.
Alignment and involvement of these teams from the beginning is critical… after all why would you ask one party to design your warehouse without ensuring they have as much data, insight and information into all aspects as possible.
By drawing on this knowledge right from the start of your warehouse redesign, you’ll enjoy the full benefits of following industry best practices - helping you achieve your business goals faster and more efficiently.
Nothing is more frustrating than having to rearrange your warehouse layout shortly after a lengthy (and costly) redesign or, even worse, finding out that your new building layout has some serious gaps when it comes to the capability of your WMS.
Once you have the right WMS partner, they will bring a wealth of experience to your desired physical warehouse process requirements, as they will advise on how the features and functions within the WMS will or will not meet the physical layout, design and flow vision.
The advantage of having the entire team on the same page is that you can align on the end state and the journey towards that end state, build on shared experience, avoid frustration, wasted time and additional, unplanned costs. Your WMS provider will help ensure that your warehouse layout matches your system requirements and vice versa, so that you only have to set up your warehouse once.
Taking your employees’ input into consideration gives your WMS provider crucial insights into your daily operations.
By getting your WMS partner involved during your warehouse redesign or build, they can work together with your team (who will use the system on a daily basis) to ensure that the WMS configuration you’ve decided on meets their needs. This not only helps you with change management and getting staff buy-in, but it means that your team can give their input into the process so that the processes that get implemented are well thought out, are possible to execute and align with the facility design principles.
When you bring your WMS partner in after the warehouse design is complete, implementing a WMS is more challenging. You may encounter misalignment between the design, the software and what is possible, which is likely to result in changes that could have been avoided.
During the design process, your WMS partner should help you understand complex functional capabilities that will assist your warehouse consultants and engineers design within the system capabilities.
For example, when designing a pick module, how do you plan to ensure that the replenishment process is timely and never causes a picker to arrive at a pick slot prior to the replenishment being finalised, whilst not causing bottlenecks in other key process flow areas. If you use these kind of insights to plan your warehouse layout, your design and process flow will be more efficient and streamlined.
Your WMS provider has an intricate understanding of their software and how it can best support the physical flow, MHE and design of your warehouse
Whether you buy or rent your warehouse, floor space and land are expensive. The last thing you need is a facility that you will outgrow in five years time - causing you to go through the entire warehouse build and design process again.
By leveraging the power of a well designed distribution centre, combined with a WMS that has been configured to optimise the design, you’ll find that your ability to increase throughput, with fewer resources and effort will allow your business to extend its time in the facility and continue to exceed your customer’s expectations.
Need help finding the right WMS for your business? Contact Supply Chain Junction for a needs analysis to help you find a solution that meets all your requirements.
Take a look at the results from a real-life example of a successful WMS and design implementation. See how Tarsus Distribution, in collaboration with Supply Chain Junction, managed to boost overall efficiency by 60% in their warehouse.