WMS selection and security tips for SME
Finding the right WMS for your organization can be a considerable search because there are many WMS’es out there and there are a lot of factors to take into account when selecting a WMS. Of course the investment is important and this goes beyond the purchase alone because after implementation there is always an ongoing optimization needed. In addition, there are factors such as scalability, safety, reliability, specific functionalities and customization. Certainly the latter is something where the alarm bells start ringing at many companies because customization is always closely related to the investment that has to be made.
Choose a WMS with your team
To make the right choice for a WMS it is crucial to map out exactly what is needed in the short term, but also what should be possible in the longer term. This way a well-considered decision can be made. In order to ensure that you can make a good decision, it is important to make these considerations with the right team. We therefore always advise you to involve your team from the start in all choices and therefore also in the choice for a system to be purchased. So don’t only involve your IT manager, but also a team leader, the warehouse manager, your database manager, a WMS expert and last but not least a Go Live Team that is involved both during and after Go Live to optimize the system. In the case of upgrading and integrating multiple systems, a specialist in integration will also be a smart addition.
Implementing and optimizing a WMS is a major operation for many organizations. The team responsible for the WMS often has its hands full with implementing, configuring and testing where it is all too often the case that multiple systems have to communicate with each other that were not actually made for this. In this case, another important factor can arise: security. Security is not only about the physical stock and a good understanding of who is present where in the logistics process, but also about the security of all hardware and software. In order to ensure that you can run a better and safer process, we have listed a number of tips for you:
1. Realize the importance of safe processes
It all starts with ensuring that your organization recognizes the importance of good security. This also ensures that protocols to guarantee this safety are better monitored. The people in the organization, including yourself, are the biggest risk when it comes to security. If all employees are not well aware of this, you as an organization are easily at risk. A few examples:
- Is there a policy for the use of (foreign) USB sticks?
- Do all employees have strong passwords?
- Are employees allowed to use their mobile devices in other locations including free and therefor unsecure Wi-Fi networks?
- Is there a protocol in case of theft or loss of a (mobile) device?
These are just a few of the questions that you should ask yourself when it comes to safety. And so we can continue for a while …
2. Insufficient protection of personal data
You have undoubtedly heard of the new AVG / GDPR legislation that will come into force as of May 2018. This law says that companies have to put more effort into the safe storage of personal data. If you think this does not apply to your business, then you are likely to be wrong. This law applies to all organizations that to a greater or lesser extent do storage of personal data. So these are almost all companies that do anything in business services or consumer goods. It is important to ensure that you comply with this legislation because the fines that can be imposed can amount to 20 million euros or 4% of the annual worldwide turnover.
This law does not state that you as an organization must be able to guarantee 100% that everything is safe, but you must be able to demonstrate that you have done everything to ensure the best possible security for each other.
3. Online access to your digital systems
Of course it is useful to make the systems that you have run available online. Customers can then log in and communication can be faster and more efficient. But as with all systems that are available online, there is again a security issue here. Online systems are interesting targets for hackers. With an SSL certificate and strong passwords for your users, you’re not there yet. The hardware and software that is used can also have vulnerabilities. We have all read the news about the ransomware issues and recently about the unsafe chips in the majority of mobile phones. When your organization becomes a victim of an attack or hack, the consequences are often incalculable. Information can be changed or stolen and your entire operation can even be paralyzed. The consequences and costs of this kind of disasters, can not be overseen.
4. The growing influence of robotisation and the ‘Internet of Things’
Beacons, robots, RFID, self-propelled fork-lift trucks, drones, smart labels. The influence of the ‘Internet of Things’ in the logistics sector is increasing and will continue to be disrupting. This is of course fueled by the benefits it offers. But here too, the danger lurks because these systems are often linked the internet. It is not only that in many companies security could be better, it is also common that the awareness in the organization is not or insufficient. One does not know what is linked to each other and certainly not what the possible risks are that are associated with this. It works fine, right?
5. As strong as the weakest link
It seems like we are sketching a gloomy picture and that security can actually always be improved. The latter is certainly the case. Even when all systems are regularly tested, system and software updates are implemented immediately and all employees are aware of the importance of good security, every organization can still become a victim of cybercrime. The importance of continuous attention to security and limiting risks must be on the agenda 24/7, 365 days a year. Combined with this, good back-up scenarios can ensure that the damage can be kept to a minimum in the event of a possible attack.
At Aratus we have been around the block in the logistics sector, especially in the area of safety. Do you want to know more about our approach or do you need a reliable party that does a number of security checks? Contact us because prevention is better than a cure.