A WMS implementation can be a complex, multi-phase process if not effectively planned
Many elements make up a WMS implementation and some of these occur simultaneously throughout the implementation. Success is determined on how well the entire implementation process in managed. It will not only save you time and effort but will also help ensure that you complete all the steps required for a successful implementation.
It can be daunting knowing where to start and remembering all the processes and elements you should consider before you get started with your cloud WMS implementation. Numerous companies have enjoyed the benefits of using a real time Warehouse Management Software (WMS) system and when properly deployed, this technology can enable companies to reduce labour costs, improve accuracy, and greatly increase visibility of inventory and workflow.
No matter what size business you are, to get the best results from your new system, successful implementation is vital. Failure to plan effectively can lead to data loss, reduced efficiency and even system failure.
So where to begin?
1 Expectations and Motivations
Implementing a new warehouse management system involves differing sets of expectations and motivations from the people involved. Key management are seeking a speedy ROI and smooth implementation, whilst warehouse managers expect the new system to be user friendly in order to make their job easier, eliminating inefficient processes and bad warehouse practices and habits. Warehouse staff expect their work to become easier, with fewer errors, but without their job being threatened. It is the job of the warehouse management system provider to communicate clearly and manage expectations from the start in order to assist employees at all levels adjust to imminent changes in the warehouse operation.
2 Risk reduction
Reducing risks is an essential part of warehouse management system implementation. The main objective is to assess the risks that may arise from the implementation and take measures to minimise them. The experience of the implementation team within the warehouse management system provider is paramount. An experienced WMS provider installation team will be steeped in experience in terms of working with a diverse range of warehousing scenarios and processes can lead to a wide variety of risks. The more experienced the client and provider personnel taking part in the project, the less the project is exposed to unexpected risks.
3 Business Assessment
The business review at the start of the warehouse management system project allows both parties to discuss, dissect and understand how the warehouse functions and what are the needs and requirements of the warehouse. The types of issues that should arise are the disadvantages of the incumbent warehouse management system, risks and expectations. The implementation schedule and process should be built around the business review.
4 Schedule & go live dates
Many warehouse management system implementation projects fail to meet their schedules. This issue may be regarded as a project risk. It is often the result of improper planning and unexpected obstacles. A flexible, realistic implementation plan allows space and time in the schedule for unforeseen events and can therefore accommodate them. Once again thorough planning is the result of an experienced warehouse management system provider’s installation team.
5 Project Team
Two teams are required for WMS implementation: an implementation team and a team of client warehouse managers. Selecting the right team can make the difference between success and failure. The process is more complex than merely selecting the best personnel. Issues such as communication between client representatives and implementation team leaders, personal chemistry are critical to the success of a warehouse management system installation.
6 WMS Design and customisation
The warehouse management system installation project is designed based on the aforementioned business review, and the existing software is customised to meet client needs. The more flexible the future WMS, the less customisation required. Minimising customisation is usually one of the keys to a successful project. Although most warehouse management systems are built to meet industry standards, changes may be required in the way the warehouse works. Risks and expectations should be addressed accordingly.
7 Staff Training
During design and customisation future users of the system should undergo training. Software vendors typically offer training sessions for client warehouse staff. This is critical for facilitating the transition from one warehouse management system to another. Although user training is a time-consuming process, do not neglect it. The success of the implementation depends greatly on the ability of the users to handle the new system.
8 Processes & Data
Part of the implementation of a new WMS involves transferring warehouse data from one system to another. This means that the entire database used by the old system to manage the warehouse must be adapted to the data scheme and terminology of the new system. Moreover, missing data must be added, and data must be modified to fit the new system requirements.
9 Review & Testing
Testing is usually performed using real warehouse data, comparing the results of warehouse process execution in both systems. Different warehousing scenarios are tested, and bugs in the design are fixed by the warehouse management system supplier. Bugs in configuration are also addressed by the WMS provider implementation team.
After testing and modifications, the implementation of the warehouse management system reaches its critical stage in the deployment. On an agreed date, an accurate data snapshot of warehouse data is uploaded to the database of the new WMS and work begins using the new system. At times both systems are used at the same time for certain processes to ensure data accuracy.
11 Installation Support
Working with a recently implemented warehouse management system often reveals issues that were not addressed during implementation. Support is an important part of a successful project because the complexity of a warehouse management system project always demands solutions to problems that arise during operation. This is where a cloud based warehouse management system provider like Clarus WMS comes into its own.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.