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3 Ways to Ensure Your Warehouse Has a Successful WMS Software Implementation

WMS software implementation has come a long way from what it once was a few decades ago. The ease of getting your warehouse management system up and running all boils down to the warehouse software you pick for your operations. It’s the difference between a long, expensive, excruciating process and a quick, cost-effective, pain-free implementation.

You’re selecting WMS software but are worried about implementation problems. Let’s look at some common issues and possible solutions to guarantee a smooth transition.

In this blog, we’ll help you understand:

  • Common WMS Software Implementation Problems
    1. Software Unable to Meet Requirements
    2. Unforeseen Implementation Costs
    3. Speed of Implementation Too Slow
    4. Hard to Set Up
    5. Workers Resistant to Change
  • 3 Ways to Ensuring Your WMS Software Implementation is a Success
    1. Make Sure You Understand the Business Requirements
    2. Make Sure You Have the Right Team
    3. Make Sure You Have the Right System
  • Seamless Implementation | Minimal Disruption
  • FAQs

Common WMS Software Implementation Problems

Up until recently, the complex nature of WMS software was the stuff integration nightmares were made of. They required a ton of technical expertise just to implement them successfully and get them to align with an organization’s functional requirements.

Thankfully, these robust systems have come a long way since then. That’s not to say they all meet the best practice procedures and business requirements most industries require to run their warehouse operations effectively.

Let’s explore some common warehouse management software implementation problems you might run into when trying to go live.

1. Software Unable to Meet Requirements

The capabilities that come with today’s off-the-shelf warehouse software exceed those of their traditional counterparts. They include a wide array of built-in functional requirements designed to match the needs of organizations in different industries.

But, even the best WMS software on the market may not adequately fulfill every business need. You might need to modify the system to align it to your company’s functional requirements. Before you go this route, there are two things you need to think about:

  1. Are the changes you intend to make necessary, and will they improve your warehouse operations?
  2. Would you benefit from changing your processes to match the best practices approach built into the WMS software?

Rather than stick to the “this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it” mentality to justify software modifications, it’s important to consider the downside of modifying the code. Some potential challenges you’re likely to run into include:

    • Integration integrity issues
    • Drawn-out implementation timeframes
    • Higher-than-average total cost of ownership
    • Increased maintenance and support fees
    • Limited upgradeability with new version releases

2. Unforeseen Implementation Costs 

You and your team have met with various WMS vendors and analyzed every possible detail over the past several months. You’ve narrowed down your provider selection and have a pretty comprehensive estimate of the total implementation costs associated with the new system. Management has given the nod for the project to proceed.

While everything might look great on paper, some unforeseen implementation costs will likely blow your budget once the project kicks off.

Staffing Costs

WMS software implementation is a resource-intensive undertaking. Whether you’re introducing cloud-based WMS software or an on-premise solution, the bottom line is this: You’ll be working with a lot of data.

This data will need to be converted from your existing legacy system into a format that the new WMS warehouse and inventory software can use. Company staff will likely be processing these conversions (although it might be better to consider automating the migration process altogether).

In addition to being on your project team, these employees will also have to manage their day-to-day tasks, resulting in significant overtime. You may also need to hire temporary staff to fill in the gap and supplement your IT team for the duration of the WMS software implementation.

That’s not all, though. Many organizations also hire consultants from their WMS providers to share their expertise during the project. Although their experience and input are invaluable, these consultants don’t come cheap.

Coding Costs

High coding costs are also a significant expense that many companies fail to consider. The level of integration you seek will determine how far over budget you’ll go.

For instance, integrating your WMS with other supply chain systems in your organization will inevitably pile on the coding costs. The more connections you desire, the more it will cost the business.

Other Hidden Costs

In addition to staffing and coding expenses, other widely recognized, unforeseen WMS software implementation costs include:

    • Employee training: Accurately estimating the cost of training at the time of implementation and project completion can be difficult.
    • Testing and re-testing: You will need to run hundreds (if not thousands) of test scripts to check that every process in all functional areas of the system is working. If the converted data fails to fit into the schema or some default configuration generates system errors, you will need to fix the issue and test again.
    • Process re-engineering: The goal of any business is to complete the WMS software implementation as quickly as possible. In most cases, re-engineering a process is generally cheaper than modifying the system. Nonetheless, it does come with a cost implication, so keep that in mind when drawing up the budget.
Devices Comparing warehouse inventory system

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3. Speed of Implementation Too Slow

This is a common issue that wreaks havoc on warehousing operations. Adding a brand new WMS system takes time, especially if your organization runs on outdated tech.

Software implementation can take anywhere from 6 to 8 months, depending on the quality of the existing data, the required integrations, and the supply chain complexity. Cloud-based WMS software might be faster to install compared to on-premise solutions, but once again, the speed of implementation will vary depending on:

    • Interface requirements, material handling, and automation
    • Inventory accuracy and data sources
    • The number of available fulfillment channels such as direct-to-store, eCommerce, etc.
    • Processes and workflows, which may vary based on the available channels
    • Training and change management

At Logiwa, we take a different approach to warehouse software installation. Complete WMS implementation takes four to six weeks. It means that you can have your operations up and running in the shortest time possible with minimal disruption to your business processes.

4. Hard to Set Up

Unfortunately, one of the major selling points of the best WMS software is also its biggest drawback: Complexity.

WMS inventory software is capable of so much, which also means that it requires a lot of technical expertise to implement it successfully. It gets even more complicated if modifications are needed to customize the software to meet an organization’s functional requirements.

Additionally, if the new system is configured manually, WMS implementation and software implementation can take several months longer than anticipated.

5. Workers Resistant to Change

There will be those within your organization who will be excited about the new cloud-based WMS software and its benefits to the business. On the other hand, there will be those who resist the change—individuals who are happy with the existing way of doing things.

If you don’t deal with the issue effectively from the outset, these employees may not only hinder the organization’s efforts to implement the new system but also go as far as to sabotage it. As a result, you might experience delays or even total derailment of the implementation process.

3 Keys to Ensuring Your WMS Software Implementation is a Success 

The best WMS software is at the heart of every retail business. To reap the full range of benefits that come with these applications, every stage of the implementation process needs to be well-planned and well-executed to see an increase in efficiency and profitability in your supply chain.

How can you ensure your WMS software implementation goes off without a hitch? Below are three critical things you need to keep in mind.

1. Make Sure You Understand the Business Requirements

The terms “business requirements” and “system requirements” are often used interchangeably. Many believe that they mean the same thing. They don’t.

Business requirements describe what the system needs to deliver to provide value to the organization. System requirements describe how the software will work to achieve that value.

Nonetheless, the two concepts go hand in hand, so you need to be clear on your deliverables and how they align with the business objectives.

A great way to do this would be to get your supply chain managers to work closely with IT and carry out an exhaustive gap analysis. That way, you ensure that the warehouse software you get doesn’t just meet the business objectives; but also aligns with the organization’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

2. Make Sure You Have the Right Team

A major part of any successful WMS inventory software implementation involves having the right team. You want to assemble a diverse group of professionals who bring a different perspective and skillset to the table and whose unique experience you can leverage for your project’s success.

At the very basic, your on-premise or cloud-based WMS software implementation team should have the following individuals on board:

    • A project manager: They should have experience implementing WMS projects.
    • A warehouse manager: They should already be familiar with the organization’s warehouse and every facet of its operations. They also need to have a solid grasp of the project requirements.
    • An on-staff engineer: They are the go-to IT person for the WMS implementation.
    • A WMS expert: They should specialize in using the new system and train other warehouse staff to use it in their day-to-day operations.
    • Supporting team: These are extra warehouse workers already familiar with the new system. Their role is to assist with the ongoing implementation.

We recommend having the cloud-based WMS software provider representative on-site with you during the implementation process. If you run into any system-related issues, you can get them resolved swiftly.

3. Make Sure You Have the Right System

As supply chains become more complex with accelerated time frames, the flow of information is now at the core of proper supply chain management. Any successful WMS implementation needs to be unit-led rather than IT-led. There are unique things to each operation, and you must, therefore, understand the individual needs of each business unit. The WMS solution you pick should be able to address each of those sophisticated needs.

Implementing the wrong solution can very quickly put a company out of business. Implement the right one, and your business will be catapulted to new heights, putting you several steps ahead of the competition.

One of the reasons Logiwa is a top choice for many warehouse operators and directors is its ease of implementation. It’s faster to set up than most WMS software on the market today.

You can implement Logiwa in as little as four to six weeks and not six to eight months, as with other WMS applications. As a result, you can optimize your supply chain processes in the shortest time possible with virtually no disruption to your warehouse operations.

Seamless Implementation | Minimal Disruption

Warehouse management systems offer an infinite amount of potential benefits. We’re talking: efficient labor management, increased stock traceability and visibility, remote data visibility, accurate inventory counts—you name it.

However, before embarking on a WMS software implementation, you need to ensure that the benefits you’ll reap from the project outweigh the risks involved should things go awry. Senior management and your entire warehousing team need to have the commitment, drive, and enthusiasm to ensure that the new system is set up properly, used correctly, and optimized frequently.

Want to learn more about what WMS software can do for your business? Reach out to us today to get a demo and discover how you can turn high-volume DTC fulfillment into your competitive advantage.

FAQs

What is WMS implementation?

WMS implementation is the process of integrating a warehouse management application into your organization’s supply chain, automated workflows, and systems. The basic principle of implementing a WMS is to provide comprehensive information in real-time. That way, you can control the flow of products into, out of, and within the warehouse.

How long does it take to implement a WMS?

There’s no standard time frame. It varies based on several factors, including the quality of the existing data, the required integrations, the supply chain complexity, and the warehouse software you pick. Logiwa has a speedy implementation period which runs at 4-6 weeks, compared to most WMS software solutions that take 6-8 months to set up.

How do you implement a warehouse system?

First, ensure that you pick the right WMS based on your business requirements and the complexity of your supply chain. Once you’ve identified the WMS vendor you’ll go with, proceed with the implementation process as follows:

  1. Put together your project team
  2. Come up with a project plan
  3. Institute change management
  4. Create an implementation budget
  5. Clean up, back up, and migrate your data
  6. Train your staff to use the new WMS
  7. Prepare to launch by testing the system, testing the network, and verifying your data
  8. Go live
  9. 9. Continuously review and improve

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