A WMS Implementation Checklist Part I
The decision to move to a new warehouse management system (WMS) or add another system to your warehouse repertoire can save big bucks and improve operational efficiency. This complicated process can have a disastrous effect if it lacks structure, so use a WMS implementation checklist to maintain accountability and cover all your bases.
Analyze the Unique Characteristics of Your Business From a Fulfilment Perspective
All warehouses will have key differences and uniqueness. Grocers may need to manage product shelf-life and expiration dates. Electronics manufacturers may focus on recycling returns properly. Ammunition and arms manufacturers must track serial numbers, customer information and more.
Uniqueness makes it difficult to find an off-the-shelf (OTS) WMS that will handle all the needs of your company. Some OTS solutions may handle most of the concerns affecting your uniqueness, and others may lack them entirely. Determine your company’s unique needs first that are not going to be available in OTS solutions.
Include Partner Selection Early in Your WMS Implementation Checklist
It is easy to attempt to handle the process internally until there is a clear need to engage a partner. But by that point many critical decisions will have been made that will reduce the partner’s ability to affect positive change. The experience and expertise of a third-party can go a long way in reducing delays and developing a detail-oriented WMS implementation checklist. Engage with a partner early on in the implementation process; the right partner will make it easy for you to work with them and provide extensive value throughout the process.
Consider and Minimize Modifications
A partner is much more than someone to advise your company; a partner can help you review the unique attributes of your company and identify what modifications are necessary vs. “nice-to-have.” If you opt not to use a partner to assist with reviewing modifications, ask these five questions for each potentially required modification. This will help limit the modifications (aka software extensions) to those that are necessary.
- Does the modification enable required functionality or improve efficiency?
- If the modification could not be ready on Day 1, would it prevent the company from going live with the WMS?
- If the requirements change down the road, who will be permitted to update the extension? The Software Vendor? You, the client? A third-party?
- Is the modification invasive to core WMS functionality?
- Can the modification be based on an event, hook, or trigger?
Create a Detailed Plan for Implementation Through Site Transition.
The next action is to create a plan that includes the steps required for implementation through transition to the site. This plan should prescribe the key steps necessary to implement the system successfully. Common steps to include are:
- Involve key stakeholders early.
- Complete a thorough, well-documented design.
- Identify resource gaps early.
- Simplify system configuration creation.
- Use a combination of manual and automated testing.
- Plan and practice go-live steps.
- Retest as fixes are delivered.
- Develop a training schedule.
- Schedule and communicate the go-live date.
- Have a plan to review and add functionality.
Part 2 of this checklist will be published next week with steps 5-10. Fill out the form below to receive an advanced copy to your inbox today.