Why Warehouse Management System (WMS) System Test Automation Saves Time When Upgrading Your WMS – Part 1
Validating an upgrade of your warehouse management system (WMS) can be a complex undertaking. Part 1 of this two-part blog will focus on defining system test automation and why warehouses need it. Part 2 will focus on how its enterprise-level benefits enhance upgrades.
Upgrading your warehouse management system is a common practice in an omnichannel-driven world. During an upgrade, you may introduce new processes, procedures, and capabilities into your solution. Your system needs to continue to work flawlessly for end-users, and data needs to continue to flow seamlessly to your ERP and other systems. Upgraded code introduces countless possibilities for software defects that can be challenging to uncover and diagnose. However, WMS system test automation can reduce this risk and simplify the testing phase of a WMS upgrade.
What Is System Test Automation in the Supply Chain?
System test automation takes traditional, manual activities on the warehouse floor and executes such actions automatically within the application. In automated testing, predefined actions are paired with expected outcomes, so test executions may be accurately identified as passed or failed. This type of testing ensures the system performs as expected. The system functions correctly when executed tests successfully pass after automated testing, reducing risks and costs within the supply chain.
Why Do Warehouses Need System Test Automation?
Testing is Not Simple
Testing is not a simple process. Traditional, manual tests involve writing test scripts for both legacy and newly upgraded systems independently. The execution and validation of test results against both systems adds up to endless hours of testing. The risk for human error or an oversight during a traditional system test is increased, and the inability to accurately identify failure points will lead to delays and problems in your supply chain.
Test Executions and Results Must Be Consistent
Running a system test is only as good as the level of consistency in both test execution and results. Applications often have many ways to perform the same function; a minor variation in a single step can change the outcome. Automated testing ensures identical actions occur in every execution, so when an atypical result is returned, troubleshooting time is not wasted. Manual testing is unable to control such variations, which can occur with multiple and/or inexperienced testers, leading to troubleshooting efforts that may be the result of user inconsistencies.
Data and Process Variations are Required
Testing any application requires the ability to alter both the data used as well as the processes followed to ensure the application will function properly. System test automation has the ability to add such diversity to the test set. An automated system test can check multiple SKUs, varying product flows, consider potential actions by pickers, and self-validates results.
Test Execution Documentation is a Necessity
Accurate recording of test executions and results is often a corporate requirement to promote both new code and new configuration into a production environment. A good automated system test application should have the ability to generate such execution and result data that is acceptable for maintaining compliance and enabling efficient code migration.
Now that you know what system test automation is and why warehouses need it, there are additional benefits it may provide to your enterprise during an upgrade, which we will discuss further in Part 2.