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How to implement a warehouse management system?

Updated: Oct 22

Introduction

WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) has existed since the first computer systems allowed for simple storage location functions. WMS systems can now be independent or integrated into an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and they can incorporate advanced technologies like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and speech recognition. However, the warehouse system's core premise has stayed the same: to give information to allow efficient control of material flow inside the warehouse.


There are many vendors to choose from when picking a WMS. If you already have an ERP system, the WMS capability may be included, or you may purchase a separate WMS package. The choice of WMS for organizations that employ best-of-breed solutions will mirror the needs of your warehouse operations. The installation of a WMS is frequently difficult. The success of any WMS implementation depends heavily on project planning.


Warehouse resources are needed for the project to collect data about the physical warehouse, supplies, and inventory and define the warehouse's operating strategies. There's also the issue of deploying the system while the warehouse is still open for business. The ability to transport merchandise while the WMS is being deployed is a critical aspect of all initiatives.

How to implement a warehouse management system?

The degree of difficulty in implementing a WMS varies per company. Each item to be kept in the warehouse should have its physical measurements and attributes gathered and recorded into the new system. The physical size and weight of the stored item and the measurements of all the storage bins or racks in the warehouse are required for capacity estimates. Each item's storage choices must be specified, such as whether it may be kept singly, in a box, on a pallet, or stacked. Each item must be examined to see whether it has any physical storage restrictions, such as the need for refrigeration.


Information on hazardous materials must be gathered so that the item is not stored in local places. This data is simply one element of the WMS implementation's needs. The system necessitates judgments on how objects should be inserted or removed from the system, in what sequence, for what sorts of materials, and what placement and removal techniques should be utilized. The implementation necessitates a large amount of input from the people who run the warehouse daily, which might burden warehouse operations.


A good project will understand this and ensure that the key employees needed for implementation are adequately backed up not to disrupt warehouse operation. the idea of utilizing a new Warehouse Administration System (WMS) to improve your warehouse organization and management can be overwhelming.one needs to consider certain factors to guarantee you're getting the most out of this Software. Here are some professional recommendations for getting the most out of your WMS, as well as how a third-party logistics provider (3PL) may help.


1. The first step is to choose the right WMS for your requirements. Are you unsure where to begin? Here are some questions to consider to limit down your choices:

  • What issues have you encountered in your warehouse?

  • What are some of the chances for growth that you have yet to seize?

  • Do you need to acquire data from a variety of sources to conduct an accurate inventory count?

  • Is your inventory so large that you're having trouble finding products in your warehouse?

  • Trouble figuring out how to make retrieval and storage pathways for your staff that are both efficient and time-saving?

  • Which of your warehouse's procedures may be improved?

2. With WMS, you can select from three deployment models. Here's what you need to know about each of them so you can pick the finest one:

  • WMS on-premises - The WMS is placed directly onto your company's system under this approach, and you are in charge of sourcing and administering the Software. Network infrastructure, power supply, and servers are examples of these responsibilities. You may have to pay for updates as well.

  • WMS that is hosted - The infrastructure needs for a hosted WMS are rented on an as-needed basis from your supplier or a third party, similar to an on-premise approach. In other words, even though your WMS is hosted remotely, you retain ownership of the Software installed on your machine.

  • WMS in the Cloud - If you're familiar with Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud-based WMS will be familiar to you. Regardless of the computer you use, you may access the data from the Software using your login. In addition, if the programme has been installed on other devices, you own it and may access it. Many WMS suppliers now provide cloud solutions since they are a safer and more efficient method to store information, allowing managers to get real-time updates without paying extra.

3. It's time to put the system in place and assemble your implementation team once you've decided on the appropriate WMS model for you. The following are the persons that were involved in the process:

  • The project sponsor is the high-level decision-maker who requested the WMS and set the project's scope, budget, and other parameters.

  • The project manager is in charge of the WMS implementation daily. They are the key point of contact between the vendor and the organization, and they will allocate duties, set plans, and track deadlines to ensure that the WMS runs smoothly for the IT and operational teams.

  • The system or data administrator is in charge of the technical aspects of the WMS. They'll make sure it works with the company's existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and that data transfer is done convinently from old to the new.

  • Employees from your operations team, IT, and warehouse workers who will be involved in the implementation process are known as Business Unit Leaders. They should attend meetings and everyday activities and keep educated so that they may subsequently train new staff.

4. Your WMS supplier should adequately teach your workers to be comfortable with the system and receive hands-on assistance. These workers will serve as internal experts, training and assisting other employees in your company. To get the maximum out of your warehouse management system and streamline warehouse procedures, proper training is essential.


5. Schedule a company-wide meeting to discuss the change because installing WMS might entail many changes for each of your divisions. You'll have confused or disengaged staff who don't know how to adapt if there isn't clear information about using and accessing the WMS data. In the worst-case scenario, deploying without communicating might raise employee turnover and slow you down, defeating the entire point of your objectives. Here are some suggestions:

  • Appoint spokespersons to keep your teams informed.

  • Internally, promote the initiative by demonstrating how it will benefit everyone.

  • As much as possible, communicate in person.

  • Encourage your staff to share their views, questions, and concerns about the new system by starting a conversation.

  • Utilize a variety of communication methods

6. It's time to review the WMS after a month has elapsed since its implementation. Have you had any problems with it so far? Is it assisting you in better planning and budgeting? How has the data gathering and forecasting tools help you keep organized and enhance customer service? Hold a team meeting to check how everyone is doing, and then follow up regularly until everyone is on the same page.


Conclusion

A warehouse management system is a valuable tool for streamlining operations and anticipating problems. When you collaborate with a 3PL provider, you'll gain access to WMS and a lot more, plus they will teach you and your team how it works and how it helps everyone.


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