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Demands on Warehouse operations are getting more complicated. There has been a rise in customer’s expectations relating to delivery and customer service, putting greater pressure on the warehouse for greater throughput and better visibility.

Implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can boost company profits by improving productivity and efficiency. Below are some common mistakes to avoid when implementing a WMS.

1. Not properly analyzing all your warehouse needs  

Businesses must do a proper needs analysis to determine an appropriate matching WMS. Many programs have brochures that hit on all the right bullet points but lack the depth to tailor the system to handle the intricacies of every business.

A complete discussion and demonstration of your requirements need to include inventory definitions, customer expectations, business needs and goals for the future. With this, you can examine the warehouse management software’s overall  functionality and if it can satisfy your business objectives.

Throughout this process, you will learn not only about the product, but also about the people who will be supporting you. Understanding everything up front will make your decision and implementation of a WMS much smoother.

2. Not estimating ROI

One of the key ways to validate the overall costs of a WMS is determine the Return-On-Investment (ROI) once implemented in your business. Most WMS providers will help you to determine the areas of improvements and a dollar value you can expect to gain. It can be easy yo justify a WMS by only looking at key elements.

Take an 80/20 approach to the situation, 20% of the problems are causing 80% of your unnecessary costs. Here are some areas to focus on. There should be a reduction in inventory write-offs each year because products do not get lost or mis-shapped. Shipping errors can be calculated per incident and multiplied by the anticipated reduction.

Warehouse space utilization can include the cost of real estate. Capital cost for holding more goods than necessary can be reduced. Output can typically factor a 25% gain. Any of these scenarios or additional ones can help determine a ROI to give you confidence in your purchase.

3. Not having the full support of the whole business

Implementing a Warehouse Management System means changing old routines. Some people may be resistant to change or feel threatened by the implementation of a new system. It is key that management mandates the cooperation and success of this project to avoid it becoming a debate.

Once employees understand this system will move forward and accept the training and new techniques, they will find the system makes their job easier and makes them a more valuable employee. Not improving a warehouse operation actually makes everyone’s jobs more valuable as the competition will take business away.

We have found that not only is a new system accepted, but ultimately loved by staff. They even find and suggest new ways to use the system for more optimum performance.

4. Implementing a warehouse management system which is not flexible

Many systems out there have pre-determined ways of doing business that will only help the simplest of operations. That is not realistic, as every company has some nuances that may ultimately cause the WMS system to fail. WMS systems need to be tailored to meet the needs to each company.

This does not mean customized, as custom system inevitably become harder to maintain. A tailored system has lots of options and setting for each aspect of the business, such as inventory, dates, employees, rules, customers, flow, locations, etc. The initial stage of implementing a WMS should not use the full power of a system.

It should only to get the users adjusted and solve some basic issues. With a well-developed, tailorable system, there should be plenty of improvements to do beyond the implementation date. Plan on a WMS helping your company to grow, but make sure the WMS solution can grow with your company.

5. Not planning the whole implementation process of a WMS

When it comes to software, you can have it either fast or done right. Which would you prefer? Often WMS systems take a long time to implement because it is as much a discover process of your business as anything else.

New thoughts, ideas, and processes will come about causing you to rethink how you want to do business. Make sure you take the time to implement the right solution. It is not important when the project is done, but how the project is done.

Plan to continue your operations with the old system while implementing. Do not have a drop-dead date that will cause you to cut corners to reach it. It is vital to leave enough time to go through the whole set up process and to educate all staff members on how to use the software. Trying to rush the implementation of WMS software can end up with the system not reaching expectation or the anticipated ROI.

About ProVision WMS

PeoVision Warehouse Management System is a versatile solution that provides the tools to management in order to co-ordinate order fulfillment, provide excellent customer service, track labor output and improve decision making.  ProVision WMS is built for small to medium sized companies in North America to improve their warehouse operations. For more information, request a demonstration today. To learn more about our range of warehouse solutions, visit the Ahearn & Soper website.