• Jim Southern

Our Top 5 WMS Implementation Tips

WMS Tips

1. Consider the future

When considering which is the right WMS system for your business, don’t just settle on today’s requirements and a narrow view of “it will do what we want for today’s operation” – look to the future and some of the more advanced functions that the WMS system can provide. Room for growth is essential otherwise you may be stuck with a system that will in fact hamper how you can operate in the future. Look for useful, flexible and configurable options that can be enabled in the future to support your future business growth and different ways of operating in the warehouse.

2. Ask the right questions during system selection

During the selection phase you will sit through a number of presentations and demonstrations. The demos can often cover the basic functions of the system but do not show the flexibility of how the system can be configured to suit the operation. Ask about how the software is setup and specifically whether it is parameter driven or whether specific features are bespoke written to suit. Look for software “configurability” as opposed to bespoke programming for the basic warehouse operations.

3. Try to minimise tailored software

During the selection and design phase of the project there is always a temptation to design and insist on tailored features to meet some “unique” way of working that you have now. The chances are that you do things in an odd way to fit in with the inadequacies of the system you use now, e.g. not designed for the job, paper based, etc. Think about how the new system can deliver in a different and often more efficient way. Don’t get hung up on “we have to do it like this”, consider better ways to achieve the end goal and think about the bigger picture. Bespoke or tailored software has a great impact on the development time, cost and the future maintenance of the system.

4. Include the right people from the start

Involve the right people right from the outset. This will pay dividends further down the implementation road. Both management and operational staff should be involved to bring a balanced view including some decision makers and the people who are going to be responsible for the WMS system operation.

5. Allow enough time for system testing

UAT’s (User Acceptance Tests) are an essential part of project implementation and delivery. This goes hand in hand with user training both from your supplier and in-house training which will focus on staff operational jobs and functions within the warehouse, setting up responsibilities and assigning tasks to individuals. System testing and user familiarisation will be the key to the success (or failure) of the project.

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