Three WMS implementation mistakes to avoid

The hard part of picking your new WMS is over, and you’re ready to get started on integration and implementation. Congratulations, and welcome to the harder part.

That’s the unfortunate truth of a WMS implementation. It takes robust planning, patience, and diligence to get your new WMS in place and to turn its capabilities into a positive ROI. Here, we’ll look at three of the biggest threats to that return and how you can address these WMS mistakes.

Not having a solid implementation plan

Imagine your accounting team buys a brand-new piece of software and moves all of your books over to it in one day. There are no backups and just the hope that all your accounts and partners can sync with it.

Feel your blood pressure rising yet?

Warehouse management tools are the same. Without an implementation plan in place, you’re taking a leap of faith that it’ll all work out and you won’t grind your supply chain to a halt. And, if software has taught us anything in the past, it’s that there’s always some hiccup.

Implementation is a long, robust process. It involves multiple stakeholders, tests, checks, and other plans to stay on track, on time, and on budget. The more you plan, the higher your chance of success for the implementation and generating a positive return when people use the WMS correctly.

No user training

If your team doesn’t know how to use your new system, how could you expect to have a positive WMS ROI?

It might seem obvious now, but there are plenty of times and reasons why companies try to skimp on training. The software may look similar, you might have hired someone who claimed to know the WMS, or you only trained one person and didn’t think about them getting sick or leaving.

They’re all terrible reasons. Don’t skimp on training.

Every piece of warehouse management software is different. Functionality may be the same, but the location and processes to find and use your inventory will vary. Reporting tools change as do their capabilities.

Check out our full WMS implementation checklist for a step-by-step method for implementing your system successfully

You likely do inventory counts a little differently for several types of products. Often our metrics for raw materials and finished goods vary, for example. Without training, your team could make significant mistakes in these counts and significantly hurt your business.

A WMS implementation operates in the same way. Train your team and provide ongoing support so that they can understand and correctly use the system. It’s the only way to cash in on those promises of big WMS returns.

Allowing employees to use old legacy processes

Building on the idea of a strong WMS return requiring training, leadership needs to enforce the things people learn during that training. The final WMS mistake is when you skimp on this review process.

Your change management plan and practice aren’t complete after the implementation finishes. Keep reviewing teams and what they do to ensure that they’ve actually adopted your new WMS, not just figured out new ways to go back to old habits.

Legacy processes were replaced because they harmed your business. If the training doesn’t stick or people start using past practices, your WMS ROI is going to shrink down to zero. Enforce your new rules to keep all of the gains you could make with a new WMS.

A change will do you good

Planning, training, and accountability are the three biggest keys to successful WMS implementation. They ensure that you know where you’re going, have the right map, and know what to do when you arrive at your destination. Anything less leaves your business open to significant risk and loss.

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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

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