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WMS Implementation

Purchasing a new WMS can save a company a lot of money. Operating costs decrease and the service to customers becomes better and more reliable. That doesn't mean that the implementation of a WMS is complicated. A WMS implementation is an exciting project that doesn't always run smoothly. The improvements in business processes that people had hoped don't always happen. Often deadlines aren't met or costs are exceeded.

What makes WMS implementations fail?

A WMS implementation is more than just the technical installation of the required software. Such an implementation has a major influence on the way employees work and on their performance. To be able to cope with such changes, more is needed than just the expertise of an IT supplier who knows how to get a WMS up and running purely technically. The expertise of 'change managers' is needed: business experts who know how difficult it's for employees to work differently than they have been used to for years. External support is often required. Remember: failure can haunt a company for years. It's important that a WMS implementation has a good planning. Moreover, build in enough test and training moments.

Various problems may arise during an implementation process. Below some examples:

Employees stick to their old

Way of working A new computer system requires a different way of working. But it's not uncommon for employees after the implementation of a warehouse management system to do their work in the same way as before. The change is at most that their work is controlled by a new system. As a result, they don't work better or faster, and therefore also not more efficiently. You only use all the benefits of a WMS if your employees are willing and able to use all functionalities. Redesign processes and distribute tasks smarter among your staff. Sometimes, after the WMS has been put into use, steps in business processes can be completely deleted.

Shooting through with customization

Another problem is that managers and employees can oversee very specific requirements and wishes that they impose on a WMS. For example: extra functionalities that must offer a solution in emergency situations that rarely occur in practice. Specially when it comes to customization, such additions are very expensive and cost a lot of extra energy. To prevent costs from rising or deadlines being met, it's important to focus on what it's all about: smarter warehouse management.

Too much customization can also lead to problems after implementation, for example updates that don't reach a very specific custom part of a WMS. A far-reaching 'tailor-made obsession' can be extremely difficult for application managers.

WMS implementation succeeds in staff acceptance

The success of a warehouse management system largely depends on the extent to which personnel accept the WMS. Ultimately, it's employees such as forklift drivers, order pickers and shipping agents who have to be able to work with the WMS. They must therefore have faith in the system. For effective use, sufficient support is required in the organization, and sufficient knowledge: everyone must be able to handle the WMS.

Conversely:

the acceptance of the WMS by the staff also depends on the extent to which the WMS functions (well or not well). It's an interaction. If it takes a while for a WMS to run properly, it leads to frustration among employees, who in the worst case ignore the WMS. If that happens, a WMS implementation will suffer serious damage, resulting in problems such as orders that aren't delivered (on time). Communication is important for correct acceptance. Ensure that everyone understands the benefits of the new system and involve people in the process, specially those on the floor who know the inside and outside of the warehouse. In addition, good training is essential, so that employees can optimally use new technologies.

Not or insufficiently tested

If your company opts for the implementation of a WMS, in most cases such a system has already been installed in other warehouses. That doesn't mean that the relevant software doesn't have to be tested. Every business environment and every warehouse is unique and has different requirements, such as links with other systems, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP). Little has to go wrong to completely disrupt a warehouse. A WMS must therefore always be tested before it's put into use. Not with one order, but preferably with hundreds.

Don't let your WMS project fail and request the WMS box that prepares you for the selection and implementation of Warehouse management software.

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