The benefits to implementing a warehouse management system (WMS) are countless for maximizing your warehouse operations. A WMS can bring your warehouse operations into the future while providing the foundation for enhanced productivity and the ability to scale. Warehouses are under increased pressure to keep up with the rapid changes in consumer demand. Without a WMS in place your logistics operations will not be able to keep up with the increased standard of service. Below are six steps to prepare for a successful WMS implementation.
- Select a Vendor Who Will be a Partner You Can Trust
There are so many providers of WMS systems out there, so it can be daunting when choosing your provider. Since you probably don’t have a lot of experience with the software you are considering it is especially important you select a vendor you can trust. Working with the wrong company can cause glitches and setbacks that can permanently affect your business. Be sure to select a vendor with financial stability, excellent customer support, extensive experience, and positive client reviews.
- Put Together an Implementation Team
The members of your implementation team will be critical in ensuring the success of your WMS implementation. You need to make sure that the people you select have the skills needed as well as the time to devote to the implementation outside of their daily tasks. Communication is also a critical component so your IT and operations teams will need to work together to create the schedule and prepare for the implementation as it proceeds.
- Understand the Total Cost of Ownership
It may seem that the costs of a WMS only include the licenses, maintenance, and implementation. Depending on the system you’ve chosen there may be many other costs to consider, such as integrations with current systems.
- Develop a Training Plan
Training is key to successfully implementing a WMS. Your vendor should help to train key individuals during your implementation as well as provide support while you get the system up and running. Training is a component in your total cost of ownership as well as the timeline for implementation. By scheduling training before or during your implementation you’ll greatly increase the effectiveness of your users with the new software.
- Decide Where the System Will Live
This step should be a part of selecting your vendor as well as calculating your total cost of ownership. You should understand the capabilities of your IT team and consider the pros and cons of buying a hosted or cloud solution vs. housing the software in house.
- Figure out Maintenance and Support for the WMS
During the implementation process you should consider what will happen once it is complete. How will you handle any issues that may arise? Your vendor should have an ongoing support plan to help you through any potential problems. You should also consider designating some WMS super users to help with day-to-day items that can be quickly solved in-house.
Implementing a WMS can bring many benefits to your warehouse operations including lowering costs and improving productivity. It allows managers to pull dashboards and reports to have better visibility over their operations and achieve their goals. By having dedicated and experienced resources for the implementation you’ll ensure the future success of your warehouse operations.