The Importance of the Project Team
The success or failure of WMS projects is not usually down to the software and its features and technical performance, but more to do with the people involved and a lack of buy-in and project management on the customer’s side. There are many tasks that must be taken on-board by the project manager and reportees to ensure key milestones are met to keep the project moving along. For example simple things like, barcode labelling the locations in the warehouse, organising servers, installation of equipment, etc. There is a quote from Benjamin Franklin "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail", this is ever true in terms of WMS projects. The importance of a project plan with timescales, tasks, milestones and probably most important, responsibilities, is essential.
Appoint a Project Team
Don't underestimate the effort you will need to put into the project and the importance of appointing an internal project team with members from all the functional areas that will be involved in and affected by the WMS implementation. Assemble and appoint a team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that can maintain the commitment and motivation required to see the project through from start to finish. Implementing a WMS system is not "plug and play" and will require focus and determination, not just from the warehouse team but also from supporting functions including finance, technical and administration staff. Include representatives from key areas to build a functional project team. A typical project team organisational chart from one of our customers is shown below.
Meetings and Reviews
You should hold regular project team meetings as the project requires but keep focused on the objectives, tasks and milestones. Don't let the meetings become free for all’s where discussion can easily wander off into non-project related topics and why we have to do things in a set way. Focus on the new methods that the WMS project will bring to the business and stay positive.
Do not underestimate the importance of staff training, this can make or break a project. The system can be the best in the world but an under-trained staff can be a major cause of troubled implementations. Don't suffer from the "No one showed me" or "I don't know how it works" syndrome.
Get Staff Buy-In
Make sure that you get everyone one on-board and on-side early in the project or you may face the "No one asked me" attitude which can hamper and derail proceedings. Ask the key staff members their opinion, get them involved early and they will feel it’s their project too.
Testing, Testing, Testing
Testing the WMS system goes hand in hand with the training programme. Have a testing plan and supporting documentation to make sure that you test every process to make sure you understand how it works for your warehouse. We will provide all the checklists and documentation you need but you will need to use it methodically to check system operation and report any issues found.
It’s all so simple really! Careful planning and your attention to these basic project principles will facilitate a successful WMS system implementation from start to finish and we're part of your team and supporting you all the way.