6 common mistakes companies make when choosing a WMS

As the market continues to change and manufacturers are faced with new demands from customers, warehouses are making the move to more automated management systems that will streamline their in-house processes.

Yet in lieu of launching headfirst into a large software overhaul, decision-makers should take the time to evaluate their company's needs and avoid these all-too-common mistakes along the way.

1. Selecting the wrong company to work with
While warehouse management systems can offer similar features, not all service providers are created equal. Though many companies boast heavily structured implementation methods, you should seek out a company that can also provide flexibility. After all, you need to be sure your potential servicer can adjust the product to fit with your company's needs, ultimately allowing your company to get the most out of its new system. In addition, the service provider you work with should also be familiar with your company's existing ERP system – having that background will make for a smoother transition with your warehouse.

2. Being unrealistic about the implementation schedule
When it comes to implementing a new WMS, there is no "one size fits all" solution. Undoubtedly, there will be some level of customization involved with your project – something you will need to bear in mind as you develop an implementation schedule. Simultaneously, it's important to remember that bigger operations typically require more time. Supply Chain Digital recommended allotting extra time for any unexpected problems that may arise.

3. Expecting high-end results from a low-cost system
They say "you get what you pay for," and the same is true for warehouse management systems. As you conduct research, don't rule out potential systems based on price alone; instead, create a list of criteria for the product you'll ultimately choose. Remember: While it is possible to score a good deal on an outstanding product, there are usually reasons why a system costs less than others in the market.

4. Not involving management
Keeping management involved throughout the entire WMS process – from conception to implementation – will ensure the project runs smoothly and is successful in the long run. Not only will this promote visibility throughout your organization, but it will also add a sense of significance to the pending changes.

5. Ignoring benefits that may be difficult to measure
As stated in the second edition of "Handbook of Materials Management," certain factors such as warehouse efficiency and customer service may be difficult to quantify; nevertheless, these potential benefits should be taken into consideration when deciding upon a warehouse management system.

6. Automating a broken warehouse
Don't fall prey to the notion that a WMS can completely overhaul a system that's plagued by inefficiencies. While some of those shortcomings can likely be righted through the use of a WMS, others might be beyond its reaches. Be mindful of timing and don't wait until it's too late to implement a system; if you find your organization could use some restructuring before a WMS implementation; hire a consultant or find relevant educational sources to help guide you.

Companies that want to learn more about warehouse management systems can download the Warehouse Management for Microsoft Dynamics NAV white paper today.

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