Five metrics to help you evaluate your WMS implementation
If you’re like most businesses, it was hard to build your WMS RFP and even harder to select a vendor, so getting the implementation off the ground was probably a big relief. But, does that weight off your shoulders mean things went right or did you have an implementation issue that could be a headache down the road?
We’ve put together a blend of metrics that are easy to report and evaluate as well as some that will take a bit of effort on your part to quantify. The approach we’ve taken to implementation ROI looks beyond the immediate days after and considers if your selection has made your overall business more efficient or effective.
Our most direct metric is the price you paid versus the price you were quoted. How close to being on-budget was your project? Consider both the immediate cost of implementation as well as your total cost of ownership — including things like licenses and maintenance agreements.
You can track this metric throughout the implementation process and immediately afterward to get a good handle on your success or concerns.
Give your vendor some flexibility in this realm if a problem arose or they provided additional help beyond their normal scope. Extra efforts can come in the form of new video training.
The WMS vendor selection process should come with bids and RFP responses that contain a schedule for implementation. Stick to that as much as possible. If your vendor is falling behind and it isn’t your team’s fault, that can be a concern. Raise this with your vendor when that occurs to see how they suggest reconciling the issue.
Training and planning
One of the biggest reasons software implementation of any kind fails is that training isn’t strong or robust enough to have the employees learn the tool. Your vendor should provide multiple training methods, including ways for your team to ask questions and get answers.
Request a “test” you can administer to a team member to see if truly understand the platform by the end of the allotted training time.
The planning aspect of this metric has to do with training time. If your vendor only gave you two weeks of training but your team needs three or four, you need to dig into what happened. Consider issues your team might have had, problems related to the vendor, and planning process shortfalls such as requiring training to be completed while staff still needed to do their daily activities.
Employee buy-in after the fact
Here’s one of your best implementation evaluation metrics: do your employees actually use the thing? Unfortunately, you must wait until the system is complete to get a good measurement.
Employee buy-in is simply whether your team uses the WMS after it has been implemented. Are they running the WMS for every action and module? Or, are they still doing things the old way and then inputting data at the end of the day into your WMS? Worst of all, are they just plain not using the new platform you bought?
If this metric is in the negative realm, it’s the one you need to figure out how to resolve first. The longer your team resists the WMS, the worse your ROI.
Speed of support
Things go wrong during an implementation; it’s just the nature of the beast. What you want to measure is how quickly your vendor resolved the problems that arose. Did they respond immediately? Did you have to contact them multiple times for each trouble ticket? Or, did it take multiple rounds of work to get your problems fixed?
Judge your vendor on if they could fix the problem and how long it took.
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