WMS implementation is a crucial process for companies that need to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. The implementation of a warehouse management system (WMS) can bring many benefits, such as improved inventory accuracy, reduced labor costs, and enhanced customer service. However, the implementation of a WMS can also be a challenging process, with many potential obstacles to overcome.
So, what are some of the problems you can face when implementing WMS?
On another episode of ‘The Supply Chain Show™’, we sat down with Sergey Bazhenov, CEO of Cleverence, to discuss five of the biggest challenges in warehouse management software implementation and to some practical tips to help you overcome them.
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Challenge 1: Selecting the Right WMS
Finding the right WMS is the first challenge that companies face during the implementation process. With hundreds and thousands of different WMS options available on the market, it can be a daunting task to select one that is perfect for your business.
“It’s not just about finding the right WMS, it’s about finding the right implementation team who will do all the job of tailoring the software, the processes, and training the personnel,” says Sergey.
The problem is that WMS software is not like a pair of shoes that you can simply choose and everything will be okay. Each warehouse has its own unique set of challenges and requirements, so finding a solution that is a perfect fit is not that simple. Instead of focusing on finding the right WMS, it’s better to focus on finding the right implementation partner. A partner who understands your specific needs and can implement the WMS in a way that will benefit your business the most.
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Challenge 2: Finding the Right Balance Between Rigid and Flexible Rules
Another challenge companies face during WMS implementation is finding the right balance between rigid and flexible rules. Rigid rules can hurt the business by limiting the flexibility of the system. On the other hand, too many flexible rules can result in mistakes and errors that can negatively impact productivity.
Sergey says, “You have to find the right balance between where you want rigidness and where you want some flexible things that don’t really affect the quality of service.”
The key is to find a solution that is customized to your specific business needs. This customization should be a combination of simple configuration that can be done quickly and more complex customization that requires the involvement of developers and IT experts.
Challenge 3: Trading Accuracy for Speed
It’s always tempting to work the old way and skip some scans or use less or no barcodes in some steps to “save time.” However, this can have a negative impact on accuracy and result in mistakes that will need to be corrected later.
“Don’t forget that all the time saved will be spent on fixing the mistakes,” Sergey pointed out.
The key is to strike a balance between accuracy and speed. It’s important to invest in a WMS that will help you achieve both, so you can maximize productivity and minimize errors.
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Challenge 4: Telling One Barcode from Another
Another challenge companies face when implementing a WMS is telling one barcode from another. In real life, products, packages, documents, and bins can often bear the same indistinguishable barcodes. To avoid this problem, it’s important to plan ahead and relabel items if necessary.
“One has to plan ahead and sometimes relabel,” said Sergey.
This will ensure that the WMS can accurately track and manage all your items and inventory.
Challenge 5: Having Good Wi-Fi
“Most WMS work online and don’t tolerate bad access points, roaming, high latency, dead zones, and other Wi-Fi installation and configuration problems,” Sergey provides.
WMS solutions are typically operated online, and as such, they require a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Poor Wi-Fi can lead to a range of problems, including slow performance, data loss, and other issues that can disrupt the smooth functioning of the WMS solution. The implementation team must work with the IT department to ensure that the Wi-Fi infrastructure is up to the task and that there are no issues with installation or configuration.
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To sum it all up…
Implementing a warehouse management system can be a challenging process, but with the right preparation and team in place, you can overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of a well-run warehouse. By selecting the right WMS and implementation team, finding the right balance between rigid and flexible rules, prioritizing accuracy over speed, ensuring that items have unique barcodes, and having a reliable Wi-Fi network, you can make the implementation process smoother and more successful. With these tips in mind, you can be well on your way to a more efficient and effective warehouse operation.
You can find the full episode with Sergey right here on our SCMDOJO YouTube channel.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out these other blogs on managing warehouses with great insights: