The decision to upgrade to modern warehouse management software is an important first step, but it is difficult to implement further action without a well thought out plan. Let’s look into the plans required for WMS success and the steps needed to execute them.
STRATEGY: Steps to Success
The first step in moving towards warehouse success is determining where exactly your business is and what improvements need to be made. Usually this step involved determining if current systems employed by a company are up to handling the workload and needs of that company. This could mean upgrading or employing a new ERP system, often to a view of integrating with a higher end WMS.
The research step requires identifying where improvements can be made in your systems, and investigating which potential solutions match your needs.
In this step, businesses must prioritize which gaps in functionality should be pursued. This step can also include tweaking or customizing existing systems to help close some gaps in an effort to focus financial and time resources on other areas. It is important to remember creating a modern warehouse solution takes time, they are not built all at once.
Develop a Plan
After priorities are set it is time to develop a plan, essentially putting pen to paper and laying out what the goals for the project implementation are to be, what technologies will be used, and what benefits are expected after the implementation. It is also vital to create a detailed timeline to be adhered to, as well as a contingency plan in case something goes wrong.
EXECUTION: Putting the Plan Into Action
Once the plan is put together, the implementation process can begin in earnest.
The first step of any implementation is known as preparation, which includes notifying affected employees and teams of any changes that will be happening, what their responsibilities will be, and ensuring everyone knows what their part to play is. Along with this a final review of the plan that has been put together is recommended, ensuring everyone is on the same page, and that no changes need to be made due to events between the initial plan being made and the beginning of implementation.
This is followed by the big day, Go-Live, where the new system is implemented. As with any go-live execution is vital, the point-person on the project needing to stay in touch with all the relevant parties to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately things rarely go exactly to plan, even on the most well-run implementations, so documenting any running changes becomes a key step that is often overlooked.
A few weeks after Go Live it will be time to head to the next stage, where users must review the data accumulated during and immediately after the go live. This includes analytics, user feedback, and any notes from the actual implementation itself. The user feedback can be vital to ensuring that your selected solution works properly for the people using it day in and day out.
Finally, in the coming months, it is important to practice continuous improvement. This means staying up-to-date on technologies and upgrades as they are released, as well as staying attuned to any new systems or technologies that could enhance or integrate with the system you have installed. This is vital to ensuring that your brand-new solution is not made outdated before its time.
Businesses that follow these steps will ensure that they are putting themselves in the best position to succeed by choosing the right warehouse management system for their needs, and getting the most out of it.