How to Choose the Right Warehouse Management Solution - Part I
Knowing what to look for when selecting your warehouse management solution (WMS) can feel overwhelming. But using the steps here can help you choose the best WMS for your organization’s specific needs.
Read on, as we cover the first steps in our two-part series: How to Choose the Right WMS Software.
1. Analyze Your Current Operations
First, look objectively at your current logistics operations. Where are you strong? These areas can be leveraged for a quick fix that optimizes what’s already working. Now, look at which areas in your operation are weak and need to be improved.
To figure both of these out, think about the following:
- Existing hardware scalability/reliability
- Current business processes
- Your warehouse layout
- Latest e-business capabilities
- Your process for allocating staff and other resources
- Any customer feedback and comments you’ve received
WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS TOP TIP > Use your findings from the exercise above to first list, then prioritize, what specific technology requirements you need or want in your WMS.
2. Identify/Prioritize Requirements
During your search, you’ll come across and evaluate multiple WMS software platforms with features and functions that may sound impressive, but may not be beneficial to your organization. The list you create can help ensure you’re on track. It will keep you focused.
WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS TOP TIP > Don’t forget post-implementation support as a requirement…over the life of your solution, it’s the support that could make or break your satisfaction.
3. Allocate Budget
Be wary about spending more than what you truly need for your organization. Determine (and stick to!) a budget you can realistically afford. Your budget should cover all costs. Think about everything: hardware (server/RF); software (don’t forget user licenses), services (implementation/modification), maintenance/support, etc.
WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS TOP TIP > You may also want to consider leasing options.
4. Define Timeline
Timelines are one of the most essential parts of preparing any project plan. Figure out your end date and work backwards.
WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS TOP TIP > Mentally prepare your team for the road ahead (get buy-in by explaining the benefits). And don’t forget to give both customers and vendors notice of any upcoming switches.
5. Delegate Roles
It’s always best to have one primary project manager. Clearly define all roles and requirements, and be sure to give explicit authority to act from senior management. This can drastically improve both efficiency and effectiveness of the planning process throughout the project, ensuring communication and consistency across all points.
WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS TOP TIP > The project manager should also be the primary liaison between software vendors you invite to respond to your RFP and your organization.
6. A WMS Experience & Designed for Your Industry
If you’re a 3PL provider, choose a WMS solution specifically designed for multi-customer logistics management.
WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS TOP TIP > It may seem more difficult, but a modified WMS will simply not do the job as well for 3PLs.
Check out the upcoming part two in our series to get more helpful tips on how to choose the right WMS software for your operation.
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