To remain competitive in the marketplace - and keep your customers and supply chain partners - you know it is time to implement the rapid evolution that technology has brought us over the last few months. As the economy embraces digital pathways, so must you to stay relevant!
To fully optimise your supply chain and succeed in meeting your customers’ expectations with regard to delivery, quality, and consistency, you need a warehouse intelligence dashboard that pulls data into set KPIs to assess the health of your business and make key decisions to help it stay on track.
The most common mistake in a WMS implementation is to underestimate your own requirements and misrepresent the scope of your own - and the vendor's - involvement.
Whether you choose to upgrade an existing system, add or activate a new module in your ERP system, or go with a best-in-class, stand-alone warehouse management system (WMS), you stand to gain great benefits, and they are generally easy to justify and to realise if you do the project correctly.
The key is full-time project management and support not only for selecting a system, but for implementing it and training your people, too.
We give you the breakdown of what to look for and how to plan below:
There is no off-the-shelf package that does not require some degree of customisation, so knowing what your business requires, and which of these requirements can be satisfied by a WMS is a critical point to reach before you select your vendor.
If the software cannot be customised to your operation, then your operation will have to be customised to work within the parameters of the software.
Your aim is to expedite the system development with the correct functionality and addition of modules or features that are correctly, effectively, and practically deployed.
You get what you pay for, and you should know exactly what that is before you engage with any vendor. Your software costs, hardware outlay, licensing fees, and implementation costs will contribute to the bill at the end of the day, and if you cannot guarantee that you'll finish the process with a functional, for-purpose, best-in-class system, you'll need to adjust your selection at the start of the project.
Carefully identify your operational requirements and prioritise them by both the financial benefits and the by the qualitative benefits to customer service and accuracy.
Once you know the multiple impacts and their cost implications, you are better-equipped to make informed decisions.
Monitoring your system developer and your own team is critical, as well as the ongoing change management processes you need to implement to ensure your entire organisation starts and stays on board with the implementation.
Choose a reputable partner, using your vendor-selection team, to pass on the implementation to a qualified and proactive task-force which can ensure your implementation process is transparent, efficient, and well-executed.
The more you communicate, the better your implementation process will be, and the more successful your outcomes.
Assuming that the system will work as designed the day you start it up and ignoring all the possible (often inevitable) troubleshooting is a common mistake.
Allow time for the system to be developed, implemented, tested, and fired up. 100% efficiency on day 1 is rare, and so is a smooth and perfect design and development process, so plan to be flexible, and ramp up your efforts over time.
Keep your teams, management, and affected staff informed form the outset, and implement training programs as soon as possible to ensure your organisation takes on the task of implementation as effectively as you can.
Everyday users must be informed of the changes coming and potential challenges they may face, and training must be prioritises.
Faulty and incomplete data will hinder your success with your new WMS. It's critical to ensure that the data you use is clean, curated, and correct.
It is your responsibility to provide your vendor with good-quality data, so ensure that you start off on a high note with the best tools at your disposal.
What is Master Data?
Your existing inefficiencies will not disappear on the implementation of a WMS, no matter how impeccable your implementation is. What you should be doing vs. what you're currently doing are likely different, and in order to make a competitive change, your team, management, and all other players need to be aware of what is possible vs. what you're currently achieving.
You need to improve both the flow of information (with your implementation) and the surrounding processes (by examination and audit) in order to build a truly unstoppable warehouse.
Ensure that you're hitting the right targets at the right time, with a roadmap that truly reflects your organisation, your people, and your capabilities. This will help you to ensure a smooth implementation, and promote a healthy adoption of new technologies in the long-term.
Browse our resources to get up to speed with the components of your WMS implementation that you'll need for a successful project, from start to finish: