6 Signs You've Outgrown Your WMS

Advice from true warehouse experts

Issue link: https://resources.pathguide.com/i/730389

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● ● ● What kinds of advanced functions does the new WMS offer compared to your current system? Can the WMS integrate easily with vertical lifts, carousels and/or conveyor sorting systems? What kind of custom labeling or packing slip printing options does it offer? Does it support real-time paperless cycle counting and cycle count planning to improve inventory accuracy? Does it offer vendor managed inventory options or allow you to automatically schedule inbound freight? Compare these functions based on what your customers need, but also think about how you could attract new customers if your company were to upgrade its services. Can the new WMS support the demands of e-commerce? The rise of e-commerce means that more and more single-order or less-than-pallet-sized orders are being shipped. If a WMS is not strong in this area, it could seriously hamper your ability to work with retail customers as this expectation continues to grow. Jim Hart, senior vice president at Jensen Distribution Services, added: "E-commerce fulfillment has become an important driver for our business. Our program has expanded by 80 percent this year alone, and the accuracy of our system is key to continuing that growth." Which WMS can be more easily customized? Next, you should expect a certain level of tweaking to get your WMS to fit your company's specific needs. How responsive are the vendors to these requests, and is there a charge for them? In general, a customizable WMS will give you better results than one that can't be modified. That was the case for Kyle Sutter, the VP of operations for Fisheries Supply in Seattle. His advice is simple: "To get the most value out of any software platform, you need to understand that it's not a set-it-and-forget-it system. It's always improving, and that's a good thing." What level of support and training do the two vendors offer? Finally, small problems with a WMS are inevitable, so look for a vendor that is responsive and helpful. Do you have easy access to support staff as a customer, or are you stuck waiting in a queue for a representative at an international call center help desk? Also, a vendor that offers webinars, hands-on training, meet-ups and/or user conferences demonstrate a better long-term vision for their products that safeguards the investment in their customers. Ask the prospective WMS vendor how much experience the implementation team has, what implementations with past customers have been like, and if you can speak with some of those customers to get their honest opinion. This will give you a realistic idea of what to expect from the implementation process. 4 3 5 6 About the Author Eric Allais, President and CEO of Washington-based PathGuide Technologies, Inc., has over 30 years of experience in marketing, product management and sector analysis in the automated data collection industry, including warehouse management practices in wholesale distribution. Contact Eric at eric@pathguide.com.

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