What drives investment in WMS? Five considerations
The demand for seamlessness in omnichannel supply chains increases more as time progresses. Companies are looking for ways to stay competitive and meet the demands of their customers. In reality, this means keeping costs as low as possible and still offering more products across more devices and shopping options. Thus, the demand for warehouse management systems has increased, but how do companies distinguish the best-of-breed WMS solutions? The answer lies in these five considerations for WMS Selection before investing in a system.
5 Considerations For WMS Selection:
1. Invest in WMS for the long haul
A WMS investment should not be a short-term project or goal. Your investment should be evergreen, offering continued upgrades and long-term strategic value. In other words, the WMS should provide full functionality and access to your enterprise and peripheral activities giving you the ability to position your company among the industry’s leading omnichannel retailers.
2. Review the system’s integration abilities
Consider the interface of the WMS. Can it easily integrate with your existing systems, and if not, will investment into the new system make integration with future companies and vendors easier? The best systems bridge the divide and unique software platforms have been created by third-party integrators (3PIs) to make this integration possible. This is an important step in assessing your existing operations’ ability to migrate to new systems and leverage the full potential of such systems.
3. Keep information secure
Cybersecurity remains a vital aspect of WMS selection. The vendor should utilize advanced encryption protocols to keep information stored within the system secure. For cloud-based systems, it is imperative that you only work with WMS solutions that have strong cybersecurity measures in place. Inquire about the system’s past vulnerabilities, how they were addressed and if the company conducts ongoing penetration testing to prevent cyberattacks.
4. Cost and ROI
You must always think about the cost of investment in a warehouse management system. Will you have extensive implementation costs? Moreover, will you need to upgrade existing software or hardware to implement the system? These costs can add up rapidly, so you must review both the vendor’s implementation costs as well as the costs your enterprise will incur in the process of upgrading. Furthermore, track the return on investment (ROI) of the system with KPIs and metrics. This will help you gain C-level buy-in and support for upgrading and investing in a WMS.
5. Choose an established vendor
More than anything else, you must look for a WMS vendor that has learned from the mistakes of past vendors. A 2002 Material Handling and Logistics magazine article cited multiple problems with WMS implementation. These ranged from lack of executive support to not thoroughly researching vendors and taking advantage of demonstrations. A well-suited vendor will explain how the system works, how it benefits your company, average length of positive ROI and services offered after implementation to improve overall operations. This highlights a vendor’s understanding of previous failures and challenges when implementing a WMS.
Your WMS vendor should be willing to work with you as a strategic partner, and this includes service after the sale. Expect IT support and assistance from reputable vendors, and watch for signs that the vendor may be simply trying to close the sale without answering all your questions, reports InterDyn BMI. By taking these five considerations, you can make a proper WMS selection and help your company grow into the omnichannel space.
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