A WMS Implementation Checklist Part II
The best-laid plans for warehouse management system (WMS) implementation are likely to fail without a means of accountability. You need a WMS implementation checklist. In Part I of this series, we noted the first four steps to take in preparation for a WMS implementation. Now, it is time to start thinking about the key steps in making implementation successful.
Select the System
While selecting the right system might seem obvious, it is important to match the system’s capabilities to the needs of the business and operations. The system with the most features may not be the best choice if those features don’t align well with your needs. Selection may also include the creation and signing of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the system vendor, as well as other required documentation. This step must be included on the WMS implementation checklist before any steps are taken to begin the actual implementation of the system.
Manage the Project
Really good project management is as much art as it is science. The resources on a project need to know what they are responsible for completing and how their efforts impact efforts of other team members. A typical WMS implementation has thousands of tasks to be completed, with dozens of resources, software and MHE vendors, and possible co-dependent projects. Your team will have their own responsibilities and it is not enough to put it all into MS Project and just assume it will all work out.
Good project managers must have constant communication with team members and vendors to solve problems and keep the project moving. Someone will need to provide detailed reports to leadership or steering committee members and get ahead of funding requests and timeline slippages.
Test the System
A lot of work must go into ensuring that requirements are being met and the system will function as designed to meet user and business needs. System testing comes in many various forms including unit testing, functional testing, system integration testing, regression testing, user acceptance testing, etc. Modern warehouse management systems are too complex to rely on a few smoke tests performed by business users. It is critical to have the right experience and expertise involved in order to uncover and resolve system defects expeditiously throughout the process.
Train Your Workforce to Use the System
The WMS is useless if your workforce does not understand it, and the go-live date is the worst possible time to start training staff members on a new system. A robust training program should be created, scheduled, and tracked to ensure all staff members have completed the necessary training courses. Poorly trained users have a track record of finding ways to complete their job functions that cause behind-the-scenes problems that are very difficult to clean-up. Poor training can also result in increased frustration and turnover. Get ahead of the curve and ensure the staff is properly trained.
Secure Data Offsite
Problems can and do occur. Onsite data storage may sound great, but it opens the door to huge risk during implementation. Your WMS implementation checklist should prescribe the creation and use of offsite data storage before beginning the actual migration, testing, and use of new systems. Cloud-hosted platforms and data storage solutions can provide this service at a fraction of the cost of on-site data storage.
Review Implementation Successes and Failures
Every completed process is an opportunity for future improvement. Review the implementation process upon completion and make adjustments where necessary. Even if you will not be going through a WMS implementation for many years, it is still valuable to document your learnings for your future use. It is these kinds of learnings that enable companies. Those learnings will add to the profitability of your future endeavors.
Use a Checklist to Reduce Delays and Costs During WMS Implementation
Implementing a new WMS is not a small, easy task, and it is filled with opportunities for expensive errors, inefficiencies and timeline delays that can reduce or eliminate the ROI of a project. Rather than trying to move along through the process without a structure, follow the ten steps in this checklist. Using a checklist will save time, money, and headache as you work to improve profitability and efficiency in your organization.
Schedule a call with us today so we can learn more about the challenges you are facing and explore opportunities to assist you.