The more information we can access, the better - and this is as true for warehousing as it is for any other big decision. In order for vendors to best assist businesses, and businesses to get the most our of their WMS budget, we need the best information possible.
How much, you ask? ALL OF IT, we say!
What are we actually looking for when we prepare to tailor a solution and develop and WMS budget and project plan for implementation, and why is it important?
Who will you be appointing the manage the project, to coordinate change management, and to lead the teams in training and onboarding? The team of "Super Hero's" that our customers assemble on their WMS team is critical to the success of the implementation.
You may need to appoint external personnel to make this happen, and this should be factored into your overall budget.
Find out more about appointing - and managing - these teams in our blog below:
Have you planned your implementation according to a realistic schedule? Or have you outlined an ambitious schedule that may let you down? Ensuring that you set the right timeline will help to ensure that you don't incur emergency last-minute costs of labour, client placation, and loss of earning.
Consult with your vendor to ensure that the deadlines you're working toward don't flash past you in a haze.
Read the blog on how long it takes to implement a WMS here:
If you are uncertain of what you would like to achieve, it makes the success of the implementation uncertain. This includes things like timelines, ramp up volumes, new business process objectives and return on investment (ROI). You may need to allocate additional funding to a corporate strategist to help you identify and enforce these objectives.
Read the blog on preparation for a WMS implementation:
Have you budgeted, allowed enough time, and allocated the right teams to training and change management? Without the correct personnel, your implementation may get off to a rocky start.
If you want your WMS implementation to run smoothly, you need to prepare your team appropriately. You should ensure that staff have enough time for training, testing and change management, and that these requirements are factored into your WMS budget.
Get the checklist guide on change management here:
The size of your warehouse will dictate the technological offers you may require for optimisation, and impact your WMS budget - picture the conveyor belts and automated forklifts of an Amazon warehouse, and you have an idea of how far this could go!
Knowing the dimensions and requirements in full can assist us in deciding the best and optimal storage solutions for your products, as well as calculating shipping and logistics solutions for getting stock in and out - this also means a more accurate budget to work from.
Is it just one warehouse, multiple warehouses in one location, or multiple warehouses in multiple locations? In order for these systems to be synchronised to talk to one another and share data (and stock) seamlessly, your WMS vendor needs the above information to accurately structure the systems you will need to harvest this functionality.
In order to facilitate rollout to multiple sites, you will have a budget that accommodates this requirement.
We have discussed realistic time frames for a WMS implementation and what goes into creating that, but ultimately the decision is the client’s. As discussed above, your timeline impacts you business - but also impacts the budget of the project. Do we need crew on overtime to get it done in a hurry?
Perhaps you want to start the implementation more slowly to allow growth and staff support to catch up, or maybe you share our feelings and want to roll it out yesterday! Your communication and clarity will help us to accurately gauge the budgetary requirements here.
How many users need what kind of access to your systems? This is a big decider as it will dictate the sizes and access points to any number of databases to leverage the best system , at the most rational cost. Licensing will depend heavily on these numbers, so ensure that you don't leave anyone out in the initial costing.
The common user roles in a warehouse may be:
Each of these people require different kinds of access, but in many small warehouses the same user may have picker, packer, and receiver roles at the same time, for example, although we do not suggest combining supervisor roles with normal employee roles.
Warehouse throughput refers to the number of units that are processed and moved through your building, either during stocking and inventory processes or when fulfilling orders. It speaks to the busy-ness of your system, and when combined with the amount of users that need to move these units it can dramatically affect the scope of the budget to pay for what you really need to maximise your WMS.
While your WMS vendor may be able to guide you in the management, architecture, and integrity of your data, the implementation period of roughly 6-8 months for a WMS is not enough time for us to get familiar with your entire product set, your data requirements, and your particular requirements of your master data; we need this information to help accurately ascertain what will work best for you.
Will your master data present problems down the line, or will you have smooth sailing? It all comes down to how you plan, manage, and structure your data before WMS implementation.
It comes down a little to dollars-and-cents, a little to the ambition and potential of your company. Sometimes it is really worth extending yourself when you can know the ROI will be worth it; on the other hand if you haven’t got it, you can’t do it… (yet, of course). Knowing upfront what you are planning on spending can help us to accurately budget a solution that is tailored not only to the specs of your company, but to your pocket.
SO, READY FOR THAT QUOTE?