Four signs it's time to replace your legacy WMS
Your software typically won’t fail or show signs of wear like the other equipment you use, so it can be difficult to see when it’s time for an upgrade or replacement. The warning signs of software are more focused on how your team can, or can’t, use it to get the job done efficiently and affordably.
If you’ve encountered any of these four issues with your warehouse’s management system, it could be time to ditch the old platform and get something new that lets you take advantage of the latest tools, processes, and improvements available on the market.
1. New team members can’t figure it out
One goal of every business is to grow, and that typically means hiring new people to meet new demand. Your staff needs to be able to use your systems when you reach that growth point.
An outdated WMS will have a user interface (UI) to match, increasing your training time for new employees and increasingly the likelihood of errors during your operations. A difficult UI also reduces the chances that your employees will use all the features that you paid for or programmed so that you won’t get the most value out of your platform.
It isn’t about looking pretty; it’s about working for your business. And, if a system is too hard or unfamiliar for warehouse professionals to use, it isn’t working for your business.
2. It keeps your IT out of date
Hopefully, you do not still hear the dial-up sounds when you fire up your WMS.
The architecture and equipment your WMS supports are the best tools to judge how long it should live. If your current WMS is forcing you to keep older machines running legacy versions of Windows or a POS system, then it could be harming your business.
Older platforms slowly become more expensive because they have less support and it requires greater custom coding to make new systems and applications backward compatible with your platform.
When you start spending money on making technology that’s a few years old work with your even older platform, or if your partners and customers are no longer able to guarantee support for your platform, it’s time to consider a new system.
3. Your vendor is less attentive or attractive
It’s a clear sign that you should consider a new WMS if your vendor stops answering their phone, but that’s not the only thing to look out for from your partner.
Vendors who respond less frequently or don’t manage trouble tickets efficiently may be having trouble maintaining their own staff or affording a team to fix issues with their platform. On the other hand, if your vendor is consistently pushing for updates not relevant to your business, this could be another sign that their cash flow is suffering.
One vendor-based concern that warehouse managers often overlook is specialization. What if your vendor’s latest work all focusing on refrigeration and incorporating reefer truck data, but your business only deals in non-perishables?
If your vendor’s updates don’t touch on your industry and that trend continues for some time, you could be spending money on a platform that could neglect your needs in the near term. You want to benefit from the advancements your vendor is making.
4. Upgrading is a scary prospect
Listen to your gut if it is telling you to delay new features or process improvements because it could disrupt, or possibly ruin, your WMS. You know that’s a warning sign.
What we’re recommending is taking a different action. If your WMS makes it difficult to update, keeps you from adopting new sensors or tags, or if each update creates too much downtime to be cost-effective, it’s likely time to adopt a new platform.
Don’t let your WMS become a never-ending source of frustration or worry. Whether you’re considering a new custom platform or are considering a system from a vendor, always have a WMS that makes your management easier instead of holding you for ransom.