How to identify a standout WMS RFP response

You start losing money if you warehouse stops moving. Whenever things grind to a halt because of your existing warehouse management system — or bottlenecks because you lack one — then it’s time to get busy selecting a new system.

The RFP has become the easiest and best way to understand the landscape and make your choice, but sorting through all those WMS RFP responses can be a bit dragging. After a while, they may all start to look the same, and you could miss out on something great if your eyes glaze over.

To help you sift through the pile and find your golden WMS a little faster, we’ve put together four of the biggest considerations outside of traditional requirements like answering all your questions. Having all the functions you need, and integrating with your existing CMS or other important software.

These high-level deliberations should help you judge not only the RFP response but find a company who matches your needs today and tomorrow.

Look for deep responses to complex questions

Part of getting WMS RFP responses that solve your problems relies on you properly articulating the information. Create a question that begs for a deeper understanding of an issue, not just a simple yes or no answer.

Our WMS selection survival guide will guide you through putting together the perfect RFP, analyzing responses and more

Companies are working through each step to ensure that they won’t get eliminated so give them the chance to really provide you with a deeper understanding of the issue at hand. Give them room to shine and then give preference to the companies that do.

Push past platitudes

Complex questions don’t mean questions that are impossible to answer or speak to the theory of warehousing. Stick to questions that can have real, valid answers and seek those out. If a company keeps serving up platitudes, push them to the bottom of the stack. Find someone who answers questions in a way that shows they understand complexity but want to simplify your operations.

Seek total cost estimates for more than the first year

We’ve all known a WMS upgrade or update that went about as wrong as possible. WMS are now moving toward agile development, but legacy software is more focused on the service end and not the ease of development. Customization can make this burden on you more significant.

Ask questions and look for verifiable information about the state of updates and maintenance cycles so you can determine the total cost of ownership for your WMS over the next five years. Prioritize those who provide estimates and references both in terms of cost and the capabilities for upgrades.

Put practicality first

Things are going to go wrong and you’re going to need customer support at some point. This ranges from early technical support as you transition to a new WMS to that emergency that hits outside of normal business hours when you’ve got an exceptionally big order to fill.

Dig in deep for the customer service angle, just not right away. Start your process with some general questions about support and see how much a company is willing to share and promise. Strong WMS partners have seen it all and they’ll know you will need a wide range of support — some of which you may not know that you need.

You always want WMS RFP responses that make you feel at ease. When a company goes above and beyond to answer your questions, but keeps things practical and realistic, then you know you’re looking at a standout.

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Geoff Whiting

About the author…

Geoff is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development. Outside of the office he can be found toying with the latest in IoT, searching for classic radio broadcast recordings, and playing the perpetual tourist in his home of Washington D.C.

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Geoff Whiting

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