WMS Success Factors
The Project Scope
This is the blueprint for the project and should be clearly defined. Define how the processes will be managed by the new system and identify any "gaps" in the fit. This is called "fit gap analysis" in the software world. It is imperative to spend time and get this stage right, if you don't know what you expect from the system how will you know when its successfully delivered. It is strongly recommended that during the sales cycle that a detailed walk through by means of a workshop day is performed. If process or operational gaps are identified, they should be documented. Once the scope document is finalised and agreed, any issues that arise that were not covered in the scope document are understood to be handled as out of scope changes.
Understand The Roles of your Team
A common misunderstanding is the roles of the supplier and you the customer. The supplier is contracted to deliver the elements of the project to the satisfaction of the customer and are obligated to perform the required tasks competently and within budget to the agreed project scope. The customer also has obligations to assign sufficient internal resources required to meet the project objectives. The challenge for customers is that this work is in addition to keeping the normal operations going in the meantime - (Customers normally have more work and effort in delivering the project than the supplier!). There needs to be time for project meetings, system testing and workshops, staff training, etc. This should not be underestimated. It is important to define the roles and expectations of the project team up front.
Setting the project timeline is another crucial factor to ensure its overall success. Too short and it means important elements will be skipped (system and user training seems to be the thing that people think they can manage without!). Too long and the project loses momentum and is seen as something that will get delivered at some point but its not particularly "top of our list". Armed with a well defined project scope and defined roles you can then determine the timeline required to complete the project tasks. Then you can plan possible "Go Live" dates (notice the plural here, sometimes there are unexpected delays). Give yourself some flexibility in the timeline to "catch up" and get back on schedule.
Dedication to the Project
It can't be over-emphasised enough the importance of the whole customer project team "buying in" to the success of the WMS project. This is particularly applicable to senior management - A lack of management support is the top reason for project failure. www.project-skills.com/top-7-reasons-for-project-management-failure.html. The senior managers will normally be responsible for assigning resources and settling disputes so without this support the project can go off the rails or stall altogether - make sure you have it. A successful WMS project implementation requires dedication from senior management and throughout the departmental stake holders.
The Importance of Testing
The project plan should have a significant amount of time allocated to the testing phase. Testing identifies issues before project go live, processes that don't quite work, technical glitches, misunderstandings of processes, etc. It is also invaluable to reinforce user training which in turn makes users more familiar with system operations. There are different elements to testing: Testing each process from end to end, goods in to goods out and systems integration testing to make sure everything "talks". A detailed test plan (check list) is essential to make sure nothing is missed and a formal sign-off document to focus the mind when you think you've completed all the tasks.
If you pay attention to these basic project rules and methods you'll have a successful WMS implementation and less stress and worry.
We have a wealth of experience in implementing our specialist Dexterity WMS Systems to help clients realise the benefits of a smart Warehouse Management System. Please get in touch for a no obligation and no pressure discussion on how Dexterity WMS could help your business.