The usual causes of mischievous and disruptive WMS implementation gremlins are poor product or vendor selection and improperly managed implementation projects. Of course, few WMS implementation projects are without some teething issues, but with the right approach, these can be kept to a minimum.
How to Avoid an Implementation Horror Story
Assuming you choose the right WMS system for your warehouse/s or distribution centre, it would be a royal shame to let a badly organized project devalue what is likely to be a significant investment. To help you keep that from happening, keep the following five brief, but practical tips in mind for a successful and relatively gremlin-free WMS implementation:
1. The software isn’t the system:
It’s only one component. What many companies forget is that a system is nothing without people. Involve your warehouse personnel fully in your WMS implementation—your workforce is an important system component too.
2. Don’t forget about the facility:
Another component of the WMS that is often overlooked, despite its size and importance, is the warehouse itself. Penny-pinching and shortcuts in facility preparation can cause a system to fall over as easily as a software malfunction.
3. Don’t assume your vendor has all the answers:
You should be very detailed in defining your company’s design needs. Sure, your vendors can design your solution with minimal input from those inside your organization, but leaving them to do so will lead to many missed opportunities for the software to support operational improvements.
4. Manage expectation and trepidation:
Be diligent in communication and change management. Your WMS implementation will generate concerns among employees, managers and even the executive team. By communicating regularly and effectively and encouraging input from all stakeholders, you can minimize the concerns and reduce the natural resistance to change that can otherwise scupper your project.
5. Prioritise testing and training:
If you want to be sure your software won’t let you down at go-live, you need to perform rigorous testing during the design and build phases of a WMS implementation. Similarly, if you don’t want your workforce to be the weak link in your WMS, don’t take training shortcuts.
Enjoy a Nightmare-free WMS Implementation
Implementing a WMS is seldom simple and hard work is certainly the order of the day. However, when you prioritise the preparation of your warehouse facilities and workforce as well as your software, your operation will be well-positioned to keep the WMS implementation gremlins at bay—through go-live and beyond.