Implementing new software is a daunting task, and it’s key to ensure you stay within your budget and timeframe- however people/businesses do it every day. Businesses that fail to define and achieve a software implementation plan can jeopardise the long-term value of the new system and wasted what resources were spent on the system. So let’s get started on defining your WMS implementation plan.
Obviously, selecting the right WMS software product as mentioned in a previous article and the right WMS implementation partner is key in the 1st place but where do you go from there?
As with any major software implementation, it will affect the majority of your employees and their responsibilities as well as the operation of your company. And if it’s not executed correctly, you can create costly disruptions to your business, as well as going over budget and longer than planned implementations.
International IT studies show that 50% of all major IT projects are not implemented on time or within budget.
A WMS implementation plan can be a complex, multi-phase process. Many elements make up a WMS implementation plan and some of these occur simultaneously throughout the implementation. Success is determined on how well the entire implementation process in managed. It will not only save you time and effort but will also help ensure that you complete all the steps required for a successful implementation.
Key Steps to Ensure a Successful WMS Implementation Plan:
Expectations and Motivations
Implementing a new warehouse management system involves differing sets of expectations and motivations from the people involved. Key management are seeking a speedy ROI and smooth implementation, whilst warehouse managers expect the new system to be user friendly in order to make their job easier, eliminating inefficient processes and bad warehouse practices and habits. Warehouse staff expect their work to become easier, with fewer errors, but without their job being threatened. It is the job of the warehouse management system provider to communicate clearly and manage expectations from the start in order to assist employees at all levels adjust to imminent changes in the warehouse operation.
Reducing risk is an important part of a WMS implementation. The primary objective is to analyse the potential risks that may arise from the implementation and take measures to minimise them. The implementation team’s engagement with the WMS provider, supported by a consultancy team if necessary, is really important. The ideal WMS installation team will be steeped in experience working with a diverse range of warehousing processes and scenarios, which can identify and isolate a wide variety of risks.
Many warehouse management system implementation projects fail to meet their schedules. This issue may be regarded as a project risk. It is often the result of improper planning and unexpected obstacles. A flexible, realistic implementation plan allows space and time in the schedule for unforeseen events and can therefore accommodate them. Once again thorough planning is the result of an experienced warehouse management system provider’s installation team.
Two teams are required for WMS implementation: an implementation team and a team of client warehouse executives. Selecting the right team can make the difference between success and failure. The process is more complex than merely selecting the best personnel. Issues such as communication between client representatives and implementation team leaders, personal chemistry are critical to the success of a warehouse management system installation.
Design and customisation
The warehouse management system installation project is designed based on the aforementioned business review, and the existing software is customised to meet client needs. The more flexible the future WMS, the less customisation required. Minimising customisation is usually one of the keys to a successful project. Although most warehouse management systems are built to meet industry standards, changes may be required in the way the warehouse works. Risks and expectations should be addressed accordingly.
Be sure to allow enough time for training for all workers before the go-live date.
During design and customisation future users of the system should undergo training. This is critical for facilitating the transition from one warehouse management system to another. Although user training is a time-consuming process, do not neglect it. The success of the implementation depends greatly on the ability of the users to handle the new system.
Part of the implementation of a new WMS involves transferring warehouse data from one system to another. This means that the entire database used by the old system to manage the warehouse must be adapted to the data scheme and terminology of the new system. Moreover, missing data must be added, and data must be modified to fit the new system requirements.
Before you deploy your new WMS, you should test it to identify any system defects and put its functions through their paces. This is typically carried out with actual warehouse data, which lets you compare results between both the old and the new system. Various warehousing scenarios are put to the test and bugs in the system are fixed by the WMS implementation team, in conjunction with your vendor and/or planning consultant. Your WMS vendor should address any bugs in the system’s configuration at this stage.
After testing and modifications, the implementation of the warehouse management system reaches its critical stage in the deployment. On an agreed date, an accurate data snapshot of warehouse data is uploaded to the database of the new WMS and work begins using the new system. At times both systems are used at the same time for certain processes to ensure data accuracy.
Support is an important part of a successful WMS implementation plan
Post Implementation Support
Working with a recently implemented warehouse management system often reveals issues that were not addressed during implementation. Support is an important part of a successful project because the complexity of a warehouse management system project always demands solutions to problems that arise during operation. This is where a cloud based warehouse management system provider like Clarus comes into its own. Clarus offers the SaaS model (Software as a Service), whereby through monthly payment subscriptions, the client warehouse has a managed service at its disposal twenty four hours a day.
What Should You Do Now?
Hopefully, now you’re ready to put together your own WMS implementation plan. Keep in mind each of the above critical implementation steps to ensure you get the most value out of your new WMS.
Remember that this implementation is a shared process between IT leaders, implementation teams, system champions, and the rest of the organisation. Maintain engagement and communications throughout the implementation process. Don’t be afraid to ask your WMS suppler for help in the scope of your project.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.