Who should be on your WMS implementation team?

So, you’ve decided on a new warehouse management system, and you want to make the go-live as smooth as possible. Congratulations, the first hard part is over.

Now, let’s move on to the second part: finding the right team to make your implementation a success. Here are six of the core people and skills you need to make sure everything goes off as smoothly as possible.

Project managers

Project managers are a lifesaver for any integration, but especially for a WMS. They are the one who keeps people on track, can help identify and limit scope creep, and have a perspective of getting the job done correctly.

Project managers look at the process as a whole, serving as the connector for all of the other people and requirements needed. One interesting consideration for the PM is that you may need an outside expert. It’ll give you experience and drive you to finish the project properly while achieving everything you need for initial launch.

They’re the task master that your team will be thankful for when all is said and done.

WMS trainer

There’s no uniform title for this person but think of your WMS trainer as the person who is going to use it most starting on day one. They’ll be the one who needs the most information on the interface and the WMS’ capabilities.In most cases, they’ll also be the person who trains other staff on how to use your WMS down the road.

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Let this person serve as a tester and trainer so they can ensure your system is working properly, that it is easy to understand, and that it improves your business as soon as the WMS goes live.

Warehouse manager or process owner

Management buy-in is always a must-have. Your lead warehouse manager or the person who serves as the process owner will have a strong idea of the requirements for each process and step, as well as know who can check in and verify tasks that are completed.

Bring this person onto your WMS implementation team to evaluate which features that benefit your business and should be integrated with your overall processes.

Integration analyst/expert

Some positions for your WMS implementation team need to be somewhat independent on the software itself. We recommend having an integration expert on your team to lead the process and help you make larger overall architecture and technological decisions.

They will be your go-to for questions on what platforms already integrate, what information you may need for custom work based on APIs, and how your existing systems prefer to handle data. In many cases, look for someone who can assist with your most useful and valuable platforms already in use — typically that’s your ERP.

Database administrator

System and database administration staff are great to have available to ensure that your WMS properly uses data and isn’t trying to duplicate efforts. They’ll also provide valuable insight and troubleshooting when it comes to the server your WMS runs on and the different databases it uses or delivers data to each day.

The one caveat here is that cloud and SaaS WMS options may not require this role to be in-house. That said, you’ll want to make sure you have a systems analytics or database administrator available from your WMS provider to answer questions as you prep your go-live.

Go-live support team

One thing lots of teams forget is the support they will need during the actual integrations and implementations. When you go-live, something is going to happen and you’re going to need a little help.

Look for a group of support staff that operates on two distinct levels. First, get someone with implementation experience to help you through hiccups and roadblocks. Their experience with testing and training can get you going much faster.

Second, have someone around who provides broader support. Office managers are wonderful for this task because they’re already on top of keeping people fed, ensuring that breaks are taken when days get long, and have de-escalation skills.

Something is going to go wrong, and a team who knows the technical side and the people-side of dispute resolution will make your day that much better.

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Geoff Whiting

About the author…

Geoff is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development. Outside of the office he can be found toying with the latest in IoT, searching for classic radio broadcast recordings, and playing the perpetual tourist in his home of Washington D.C.

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Geoff Whiting