How to select a WMS that will grow with your company
You’re spending a lot of time and money on your WMS, making it a valued partner for your operations. As you grow, you must ask if your partners can grow with you and if they will make it easier for you to achieve that growth.
These are just a few thoughts on how to judge whether a WMS has the potential to propel you forward or hold you back.
Make sure it plays well with others
Company growth ultimately leads to software growth. Sometimes that’s introducing new systems and others can be replacing existing platforms for a more robust solution. Your WMS needs to work with new platforms and improvements to be a larger value to your company.
The mandated integration is with your ERP. This platform houses and utilizes all your data for business processes. If your WMS doesn’t talk with your ERP, then you’re going to have to input data manually or lose out on prediction and management capabilities that are standard with most ERPs.
Other systems that your WMS needs to integrate with are your accounting systems, asset management tools, customs and order systems, and transportation management systems.
Look for user-friendly interfaces
Any system that grows with your company needs to be useable as your team grows. Chief among that usability is an interface that is intuitive and simple to learn. The less you have to spend on training, the more time you have to focus on running a smooth warehouse.
A smart WMS is one that makes your job easier to complete, instead of introducing new complications.
Strong reporting tools are essential
Real-time updates are a must-have for a booming business. The larger you become, the more imperative it is that your operations run efficiently. If your data isn’t being delivered and updated in real-time, your WMS could become a hurdle that causes delays instead of solving them.
Your WMS also needs to help create complete reports for your operations. This means tracking a wide range of activities and metrics. Here are the “musts” for a growing company and WMS:
- Put away and sorting
- Inventory levels and cycle counting
- Inventory levels of your packaging goodies
- Asset management and movement
If the data that your WMS helps you manage your resources, then it will likely enhance your growth potential.
One warehouse or two?
Does the WMS you’re considering support more than one warehouse? Is it possible that you’ll ever move beyond a single warehouse?
Give your company credit for its potential. If you have the chance to expand your operations and reach into a new warehouse, make sure your WMS can expand to the same capacity. Or, if your growth is more akin to adding satellite sales offices, make sure your WMS can support orders coming from multiple locations and properly sort them out to customers and your own buildings.
Look for a platform with a history of growth
The last thing to consider with your WMS — and really any software that’s core to your business — is a track record of growth. Look to select a WMS that has a long history of updates and advancements based on user feedback.
If it’s been slow to add new features like support for RF gates or tracking of temperatures for reefer trucks, then it might not be good for a growing warehouse. You don’t want to settle on something that doesn’t keep up with your needs.
Featured white papers
Open source WMS: how much will it really cost?
Even open-source software comes at a cost - find out how much a 'free' WMS can cost you
Guide to shortlisting 3PL WMS vendors
Step-by-step guide to vendor selection during a 3PL WMS project
How to objectively compare two like-for-like WMS systems
Follow this step-by-step plan to comparing two similar WMS softwares