7 tips when considering a WMS
Before we get to our tips, let’s start by saying that the chances of finding an off-the-shelve WMS that suits all your needs are close to zero. You don’t have to believe us (yet), but let us tell you a bit more about this from our experience. There is a vast supply of WMS solutions on the market and we have worked with a lot of them. Customization was always on the agenda. The reasons for this are multiple:
- Warehouses vary in setup, size and location.
- Products in the warehouse can have specific requirements and restrictions.
- Language can be a barrier.
- The WMS needs to connect with numerous different platforms through different protocols, of which some are pretty outdated.
At Aratus we have a seen it all in our 20 years of experience with both global and local players. We also know that the decisions that are made at the start, can have reaching consequences further down the line. Therefor it is crucial that projects like this are approached in the correct way so the solution will work from the start but is also sustainable in the long run.
1. Involve and inform employees prior to purchasing a new WMS package.
Make it clear for everybody why you are considering this investment, what it should bring the organisation and how it will be implemented. Over 30% of WMS systems are not found in organizations because they are not collaborated internally or even counteracted. Fear of change, afraid of own job and / or functioning.
2. Long term vision of the company is of great importance when considering a WMS.
Prevent long-term limitations by including all strategic goals in the potential of the WMS system. To give you a few examples:
- 39% of companies with WMS systems want more locations
- 33% of companies want larger areas in m2
- 25% want to roll out to E-com or E-fulfilment (fluctuations ask for the process to be flexible within the standards).
3. Select WMS Suppliers with proven and very wide industry experience.
Ask for references and which industries they have proven experience with. What were the best practices and how were they implemented in the WMS system?
4. Go for a Basic WMS system with simple fixed core elements and connectable to all other internal running IT systems.
Connect WMS, TMS and ERP! You want to combine this with accessible, transparent and scalable – custom made – options, that suit your needs. Use the WMS Supplier’s experiences to get feedback where it comes to additional custom wishes for your organization.
5. WMS systems in CLOUD solutions, yes or no?
It is very important that ALL systems / apps can be linked for maximum OUTPUT, such as Business Intelligence and Business Analytics.
- 58% of companies with a WMS System do not use all running systems and applications.
- 44% of businesses with a WMS system prefer a on premise (run BI on local server instead of in the cloud) solution where it comes to business intelligence.
Cloud solutions generate far more output, cheaper (cost per user) and are more flexible (from 10 users to 15 users).No excessive licenses and implementation costs.
6. Pick a WMS system that offers sufficient capacity for optimization layers.
Returns become an increasing part of the business (depending on denomination per customer) IN AND OUTBOUND packages returns have been a subordinate part of automation since year and day, while there is increasing pressure on this. As deliveries become more crucial and increasingly efficient, faster and above all, they need to be flawless.
7. Invest in a WMS system that supports new technologies both in the software and on site.
- High-capacity wireless network and uninterrupted linking with the BackOffice.
- Boost order picking Handy and easy-to-use scanners or smartphones / tablets
- Devices with real-time communication capabilities (e.g., voice barcode – pick-to-light)
- Bluetooth sensors, to improve speed in process by specifying location