What are some common challenges you will face during your WMS implementation project and how can you prepare for them? Here are 5 things to keep in mind during your transition to a modern warehouse inventory management solution.
Modern Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are often vastly superior to paper-based operations and legacy home-grown systems, and the businesses who adopt them see significant, measurable, and immediate improvements in their operations due to enhanced inventory tracking and optimized picking methods. Even if you are running highly customized applications on legacy platforms such as the AS/400 iSeries, there are state-of-the-art WMS applications today that can replace them with little to no customization. There are many more benefits to implementing a modern WMS in your warehouse, but if you aren’t prepared for the transition it can be overwhelming. While you’ll never be able to anticipate all of the challenges ahead, there are a number of measures you can take to help overcome these unforeseen obstacles when they arise. Following are 5 ways to combat some fundamental challenges present in all WMS implementation projects.
There are many benefits to implementing a modern WMS in your warehouse, but if you aren’t prepared for the transition it can be overwhelming. While you’ll never be able to anticipate all of the challenges ahead, there are a number of measures you can take to help overcome these unforeseen obstacles when they arise.
5 Elements of a Successful Legacy WMS Transition Project
1. Translating knowledge into data and process elements for the system
The quality of your system design is a strong indicator of how smoothly your implementation will go. Your management team, process experts and implementation partner must work collaboratively to design a system that is tailored to fit your specific business model. During the design phase, leverage your organization’s collective knowledge and carefully consider your business needs and goals to create system elements that make sense for your business and budget. These initial decisions about design elements will influence virtually every aspect of your implementation project, so it’s important to get as much input as possible from your organization and weigh all available options before you commit to one design.
2. Trust the system… and the people who use it
When you transition to a modern WMS, there are multiple levels of trust that must be built between the system, system users, and management. The system users and managers must trust the system’s internal logic to consistently return accurate results every time a process is repeated. After trust has been established with the system, you have to expect the users to execute system-driven processes the same way every time. There will be people who resist adopting new processes because they don’t understand the reasoning or the benefit, so it’s important to openly explain why changes are happening and to continually highlight the reliability and predictability of the system’s logic.
3. Transitioning and adapting to changes as an organizational unit
Getting your organization to adapt to process changes is one of the most challenging aspects of transitioning from a legacy or paper-based system. A WMS implementation project is a team effort and can’t be successful without the cooperation of your organization from top to bottom. You must encourage your organization to engage with the new system and embrace changes rather than resist them. Including everyone in the process, keeping them updated, and providing ample training and support will help mitigate that resistance. When people are aware of changes and able to voice their opinions, they are far more likely to accept changes and can even be an advocate of them within your organization.
4. Taking a positive approach and believing you can do it
One of the best ways to ensure project success is to convey a positive message across your organization throughout the process and confidence in your team’s ability to make it happen. Transitioning to a modern WMS requires significant time, effort and resources. Along the way, there will be unforeseen obstacles that your organization will have to overcome together, so it’s important to not get discouraged when things get complex and daunting. Maintaining a “Can Do” attitude throughout the project helps unify your team and encourages them to persevere through difficult times and to keep the project moving forward.
5. Continuing to optimize processes through dynamic support
Optimizing your operation and maintaining your WMS are ongoing processes that require attention far beyond go-live. Whether your WMS support is handled internally or by an external service, your system needs an IT team that can respond to issues quickly, conduct routine maintenance, and make modifications when necessary. After the system is live and stable, then you can start analyzing your new processes to identify opportunities for improvement. These insights will help you strategically enhance your WMS and optimize your processes to drive down operating costs and boost ROI.
Contact Us today to learn how our team can help you transition from your legacy system and make the shift to the next generation of WMS software!
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