Six hacks for keeping your WMS selection team motivated

WMS selection teams face a multitude of challenges.  Although they are positioned as an unbiased independent decision-making team, one or more members may be receiving back channel instructions from their boss or other influencers.  They may not know for certain that the software they select will actually be purchased and implemented.  Individual team members may be in conflict about what features are most critical and what software is best with those features.   

Along the way, vendor relationships may form which influence people’s judgement. In addition to these common business problems, a WMS selection team faces all the interpersonal challenges every other kind of team faces: trust, mutual commitment, and mutual concern.  Keeping this team motivated is not simple, but not impossible either.  It just takes continual effort.

1. Go through basic team building exercises  

These can span a wide spectrum of sophistication and structure, ranging from a round table sharing session where everybody tells their life story to formal team building exercises conducted by a skilled facilitator.

2. Offer edible incentives

Be as liberal about providing food and beverages for your WMS selection team as your budget allows.  A working lunch is a different dynamic than a three o’clock meeting.  This may seem like a simple thing, but it has a disproportionate impact.

Get advice on the entire WMS selection process using our step-by-step WMS selection survival guide

3. Draw up a timeline

Make certain that your WMS selection team is working to a timeline, and that everyone knows what the timeline is. It shouldn’t be an impossible deadline, but everyone should understand that decisions must be made in a certain timeframe and sequence. As those milestone decisions are made, everyone will feel incremental progress towards the goal.  

4. Remind your WMS selection team of their goals

Keep communicating a vision of life after implementing the WMS. Articulate the benefits the software will provide, and make certain that everyone understands that this brave new world can’t be achieved without a solid vendor selection.

5. Create a quantifiable way of measuring success

Force some sort of quantifiable objectivity into your evaluation process. How well a feature performs can be worth 1 to 10 points, and how important those features are to your business may be worth a weight of 1 to 5.  You can come up with a completely different method, but the critical objective is to avoid final selection boiling down to subjective opinions.

6. Tell others how well they are doing

Find a way to communicate what the WMS selection team is doing to the rest of the organization.  Poster boards can do, websites are better.  Talk up the team’s accomplishments; make other people wish they were part of it.  Establish a flashy team name and use it liberally. Feed the idea that this team is doing something not many could do.  

Your WMS selection team won’t have an easy task.  Vendors make the product sound three times easier than it is, teammates don’t always share their true feelings and concerns until it is time for a decision, and different work backgrounds can result in grossly different perceptions of what WMS features are important.

Put effort into keeping your people motivated. The last thing you need is a WMS selection team that is just going through the motions.

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Shane Starr

About the author…

Shane Starr is a former ERP project manager, with business experience in manufacturing management, supply chain, finance, and strategic planning.

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Shane Starr

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