Do you intend to put in place a warehouse management system (WMS) in the near future? If this is the case, it is prudent to begin planning as soon as possible. Today, we’re sharing a WMS implementation checklist with key steps to help you get the most out of this powerful software.
The WMS system should be accessible via standard web browsers to provide access and control over your product. In cloud-based software, employees and customers should have immediate access to critical information such as receipt information, new orders, inventory levels, reports, and distribution activities. Making sure your WMS is a connected solution benefits you in more ways than one: effective inventory management through 24/7 inventory visibility, and improved warehouse operations through real-time data on daily operations.
Capabilities in Real Time
A sophisticated WMS system is required, but receiving information in real-time is becoming increasingly important. Products can be integrated to enable real-time inventory processing using integrated hardware and software programmes.
A modern 3PL logistic company can take your bulk goods and package them for your end customer, saving you space and the headaches associated with running a packaging department. This is especially useful if you sell the same product under different private-label brands to different customers. The product can be stored in bulk and then packaged only in the amount required to meet your customer’s demand.
Warehouse Management System Benefits
Warehouse Management Software Improves Warehouse Flow
By determining the most efficient use of floor area based on workload and material characteristics, warehouse management software improves warehouse flow. Floor space analysis is used in WMS installations to determine how space should be best utilised. It provides opportunities for waste reduction, such as wasting expensive floor space and time spent locating items. When using an enhanced WMS, excessive material movement, time-consuming placement, and retrieval will all be reduced. A warehouse can cut operating costs by determining the best places to store items, supplies, and equipment.
Inventory materials can be easily traced using warehouse management systems by using a lot, batch, and serial numbering. The lot/batch number identifies the materials used, whereas the serial number identifies the individual item. As previously stated, using a WMS inventory monitoring system allows for complete traceability by matching precise lot/batch or serial numbers to incoming receipts and outgoing shipments. This material tracing capability reduces redundancy, allows for precise inventory allocation, and provides existing retrievable information for future tracking, service maintenance, or recall situations.
The majority of leading WMS solutions either have built-in billing management features or tightly integrate third-party software to provide this functionality. This technology enables you to use activity-based billing, which tracks and charges all operations within a warehouse associated with a specific provider. Suppliers and distributors can accept online payments by integrating WMS software with various sales channels.
Checklist for WMS Implementation
Define Your Objectives
While project and business goals are typically defined before software selection, it is also critical to discuss goals during the implementation planning phase.
What benefits do you expect from the new WMS system? What are you hoping to alleviate? If you’re still managing logistics by hand or tracking inventory with spreadsheets, one obvious goal is to automate these efforts.
Create a Change Management Plan for Your Organization
Creating an organisational change management plan will assist your workforce in embracing the upcoming changes.
Furthermore, we recommend developing a training plan to assist your workforce in embracing change. End-user training makes employees more comfortable with the software, which reduces resistance to change.
Use Best Practices
Are your current workflows and warehouse layouts designed to support your business goals and based on industry best practices? Implementing a WMS system with pre-configured best practices can assist you in standardising and improving business processes where appropriate based on your objectives.
The best practices you employ will differ depending on the types of fulfilment that your warehouse supports. An omnichannel company, for example, will have different requirements than a strictly B2B entity. Regardless of your business model, process improvement should be followed by the creation of a business blueprint during the implementation design stage. This will help you configure your WMS system.
Control Data Migration
Moving your data from a cumbersome legacy system to a sleek, new WMS application can be a huge relief. However, the effort can be time-consuming and difficult.
Before migrating, we recommend assigning responsibility for ensuring that all data is clean, secure, and complete. This person will also ensure that the data is seamlessly integrated with the new workflows you’ve established.
Testing the System and Ongoing Training
The new WMS will be used by more than just your warehouse employees. Many people, from internal billing and account managers to suppliers and external customers, will need to understand how the new system works.
In addition to the initial training, you should provide follow-up sessions to ensure retention. This allows you to test the WMS and ensure that it is functioning properly.
You can continue testing after it goes live to ensure post-launch optimisation. For example, it is critical to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that the system is meeting productivity and efficiency targets.
Create an Implementation Team
Ultimately, everyone in your organisation will interact with the WMS in some way. However, some stakeholders should be more closely associated with the project than others.
We recommend that you first put together an implementation team. This group will be in charge of managing the implementation, communicating with employees about changes, and guiding user adoption.
Among the key personnel involved in this effort are:
- Project manager
- Project supervisor (i.e., warehouse operations lead)
- Database administrator
- Heads of individual departments
The exact composition of your team will vary depending on the size and scope of your project. You could also hire an independent software consultant to oversee the project.
A warehouse management system (WMS) can drastically improve and organise your warehouse activities, transforming your entire organisation. This WMS implementation checklist can help you get started, but you will need enterprise system expertise and change management experience to complete implementation.