While adopting new warehouse management systems is something many logistics executives have considered in recent years, one of the hurdles they've often faced is the difficulty of getting these new platforms into their facilities as seamlessly as possible. Figuring out the best way to do so is vital but not always easy. Executives have a lot to consider when they brainstorm the best ways to gain an advantage in the modern logistics landscape.
Slowly but surely, industrial-grade devices like wearables and rugged tablets have made their way into manufacturing and logistics spaces, allowing for greater ease of use and more efficiency in completing the tasks at hand, according to Search Manufacturing ERP. However, these devices are often a little more expensive than their consumer-grade counterparts. Executives concerned about the cost of an upgrade may try to find a middle ground that lets them utilize both heavy-duty warehouse management systems and consumer electronics. The marriage isn't always easy in these cases.
"They can run the same things, but we've seen slow adoption, largely because some of the consumer-grade devices are really not designed for high-volume industrial applications," Dwight Klappich, vice president of research at Gartner, told the site. "For example, you can't replace the battery in an iPhone. And if I'm in a two- or three-shift operation, I have to be able to run that thing for 24 hours, and having a replaceable battery becomes valuable."
Getting the upgrade right
When it comes to ensuring a smooth transition from a legacy warehouse management system to a new mobile- and cloud-based WMS, there are many reasons why executives should strive to get it right rather than getting it done under budget, according to PC World. Perhaps the most important of these is how that evolution can make companies more nimble, allowing them to more quickly and readily react to whatever issues may arise as they make the switch. If there's even a little bit of downtime as workers or execs try to figure out what went wrong with a system that wasn't properly integrated with old data, that can create major issues.
Moreover, it's difficult to overstate the ability of a well-planned transition to allow warehouses to make up ground against competitors that have already adopted and put more distance between themselves and those still using legacy platforms. The more hours that can be freed up with these efforts, the more efficient a logistics company is likely to be.
Get the big picture
When cloud-based warehouse management systems work well, they give decision-makers a bird's eye view of every aspect of their processes, which is important as 70 percent of supply chain professionals want to target issues related to shipping, according to PYMNTS. These issues include not only how things are operating on the job floor itself also what will be needed in terms of the supply chain coming in, and properly managing what's leaving the building as well. And because consumers now typically expect two-day turnarounds between orders and receipt of their packages, streamlining this aspect of warehouse management is of the utmost importance.