With so many Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) available in today’s market, finding the right one for your organization may seem daunting. Whether you’re looking to implement your very first WMS or searching to upgrade due to limitations within your existing system, a WMS is a major investment capable of huge returns.

As with any investment, it will behoove you to take the time to do the homework. With a little upfront planning and forethought, you can be confident in knowing your requirements and how each one impacts the WMS selection process.

To determine which WMS is right for your business, ask yourself these 10 questions beforehand:

1.Does the WMS meet my general needs?
Study your overall business goals and process demands. What are your current challenges and limitations? What areas are working well? From there, you can determine if the prospective WMS fits the overall footprint of your business and if it provides room for growth. For additional help, ask a WMS representative to explain, in detail, the benefits of using the system given your respective industry and requirements.

2.What are the system requirements for implementing the WMS?
Not all WMS are created equal; there are a variety of sophisticated platforms and system requirements to be considered. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure your WMS representative is aware of your needs.

In the meantime, check in with your IT team to determine whether the WMS system can be supported and if any internal upgrades are essential after implementation. Other system requirements to consider are licensing options and related additional fees.

3.Does the WMS support the integrations I require?
If your business requires specific interfaces, you’ll want to identify which ones integrate and support the WMS in question. From Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to Transportation Management Systems (TMS) – and everything in between – your current systems will help determine which WMS best suits your framework. To confirm, ask a WMS representative to disclose which interfaces are part of the base package and which ones will require custom development.

4.Does the WMS accommodate the required Primary and Secondary processes?
Study the overall requirements and process demands of your business. Does the WMS system support basic functions like Order Entry, Fulfillment, Shipping, and Receiving?

For additional consideration, research any special processes such as Value-Added Services (VAS), Kitting, Quality Audit, Serial Numbers, Lot Numbers, Expiry Dates, etc., or ask a WMS representative to fully explain functionality and cost.

5.Will the WMS support any forecasted growth and expansion?
Consider your company’s long-term goals and look at your business from a high level. Do you foresee needing to build-up the system again within the next 5-10 years? Will additional traffic require more capabilities from a WMS? Ask your WMS representative to go over all applicable components, such as: adding on additional warehouses, adding user licenses, purging/archiving data, program upgrades, etc.

6.How adaptable is the WMS? How efficiently can modifications be implemented?
To determine WMS adaptability, ask the WMS representative about custom requests. Are customized requests treated differently than program defects? Further, what is the average turn-around-time for program modifications? From there, what is the overall process and pricing? These are the types of questions that’ll provide insight into how efficiently changes can be made.

7.What are the available options for ongoing support?
Does the product include a support package? If so, is there a 24.7 Help Desk available? Or further, will the company provide support through the entire project life cycle and beyond? Ask your representative to walk you through all the available advisory, service and support options.

8.What are the upgrade terms and generally expected schedule of new version releases?
Take the time to unfold the particulars of your selected WMS, including the logistics of product upgrades. This can include the cost to upgrade and what is involved (downtime, resources, etc.), how often to expect a new version, and if free upgrades are available under a support contract.

9.Does the WMS fit the budget?
When it comes to costs, keep in mind bundled features and perks. It’s important to get the details on each WMS Software to fairly compare since there may be certain hidden features rolled into the overall quoted price (not including the software itself). These features may include implementation resources, training, ongoing support contracts and/or a limited customization budget. Get down to the details to make an informed choice that isn’t solely based on the initial sticker price.

10.Will the new WMS bring enough long-term benefits to offset the short-term expense?
Once you’ve been through the entire process of defining your needs and the list of WMS is narrowed down, it’s time to decide if the overall cost will be offset by some measurable benefit.

Will the WMS encourage efficiencies? Will it solve accuracy issues? Will it make us quicker, better, faster? Will it enable us to provide superior customer service? Is this WMS the best fit at the best price? These are the questions you must answer for yourself once you’ve done the research and defined your requirements.

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Source Link - https://katalysttech.com/blog/the-how-to-of-choosing-the-right-wms/

Author's Bio: 

Brian Burell has completed his education in Computer Science and then he has started working in Digital & eCommerce, Enterprise Application and SCM segment for Katalyst Technologies Inc. After getting more than 7 years of experience in software solution, he found best interaction model of success. He really enjoys her success in software industry for start-up business and also in extending current model with highly reflective ROI.