5 Common WMS Mistakes

Warehouse Management Systems have drastically altered the way warehouses operate. Thanks to the developments seen within tracking technology, such as RFID, and better software functionality, many warehouses can now benefit through the implementation of a WMS. The benefits of the system offer efficiency and accuracy; stock counts are instantaneous and orders can be dispatched with a reduced chance of human error due to increased automation. However, Warehouse Management Systems will not do all the work for you, and require certain measures and implementation methods in order to be fully successful. Here are some common mistakes that investors in the technology make, which hinders the productivity of their new, expensive WMS.

 

Not gathering enough information on the service offered

The service that WMS providers offer changes from provider to provider; there is no industry standard. Therefore, it is essential a variety of providers are considered. More so, you should be certain that the WMS in question can cater to your needs. If in doubt, contact the company who will provide the WMS and get them to answer any questions you have. It is better to make sure the system has all the features you need, rather than realising it is not up to the task when the time comes to implement it within your warehouse.

 

Cost over quality

When looking for a WMS, obviously you will have a budget. However, a common error is taking a punt on the cheapest service and then being disappointed that it does not function the way you expected it to. Although WMSs are very innovative, each will have its own strengths and weaknesses. As you move up the price ladder, the strengths will increase and the weaknesses will diminish. Another common problem is implementing a budget WMS, only to find that in a short period later, that your business has developed beyond its capabilities. As with many things in the business world, it is about striking the correct balance. So again, similarly to the previous point, it pays to do plenty of research on the service that is being offered. Failure to do so can result in greater costs and disappointment down the line.

 

Overlooking the implementation phase

The implementation of a Warehouse Management System will inevitably cause some downtime within the warehouse in which it is being introduced. As a result of this, it is incredibly important that you consider the implementation phase of the process. If your business goes through seasonal cycles of demand, then obviously it is best to arrange for the system to be installed and tested during your least busy periods.

 

Forgetting to test the system before going live

WMSs have bugs and shortcomings, just the same as anything else. By allowing yourself a ‘buffer period’ between installation and the period it is decided to go ‘live’, testing can occur on the system and errors can be ironed out. This is important as it ensures efficiency and accuracy are optimised before the system is put under heavy load. Remember, any difficulties that arise when the system goes live will cost you money in one way or another – it is best to get any errors rectified early on.

 

Not spending money on training employees to use the software

Training is a vital part in any fluid business. If you are to keep up with the times, then training always has to be given, to ensure that your workforce has the best set of skills available. The same applies to training that is related to WMS software. What use is it in having a modern Warehouse Management System installed if nobody can use it? Furthermore, by offering complete training, you guarantee you are getting the most out of the software. By walking employees through the ins and outs of the software, functionality is maximised. All to often employees are left to find their own way through the software through trial and error, which is far from ideal; they could overlook important features the software offers and any errors they make could be expensive.

 

A two common themes that link the majority of WMS related mistakes are: not enough time invested, and not enough money invested. Before the system goes live, the implementation phase will be time consuming. This is inevitable and always will be. Therefore, proper planning is key to rectifying this issue. Make sure everyone knows how to use the system, and also that you have left sufficient time to iron out any flaws the system may have. In addition to the costs of implementing such a system, it makes more sense to spend for the services you need, rather than scrimping. Training on how to use any new software should be given. It may rack up short term costs, but it guarantees efficiency in the long term, which is one of the major reasons why people implement WMS in the first place.

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