How to prepare for WMS implementation?

The Warehouse Management System helps to manage and organize work in the warehouse. It is software that is designed to support the company in supply chain management, inventory replenishment, inventory control, shipping, and product management.

The WMS system helps in controlling and coordinating important warehouse processes. It supports the management of warehouse logistics in many fields.

Dawid Rój, Project Manager in Asiston tells us how to properly prepare for a WMS implementation to get the most benefit from it?

The Warehouse Management System helps to organize work in the warehouse. It is a software that is designed to support the company in supply chain management, inventory replenishment, inventory control, shipping, and product management.

WMS is a tool that organizes all of the work that has to be performed in a warehouse on the basis of the available data (products, orders, stock levels, shipping, etc.).

First of all, it registers and monitors everything that happens in the warehouse - from the acceptance of goods (e.g. creating algorithms for distributing deliveries), through its storage (e.g. control of parameters of storage places, or inventory), completion (e.g. creating picking paths that take into account the distribution of goods in the warehouse), verification (e.g. with the use of verification panels that automate the process) and release (e.g. register of shipments released). Internal transport, i.e. the transport of goods from one place to another, is also important.

When the goods are placed on the high level of the rack, and we notice that they sell very well, we should put them in a place where they would be available at hand. Therefore, if we are running out of some goods, the WMS system may notify you that you need to restock a specific place with a given good or move it from one place to another.

What is more, it also helps you manage your warehouse team as it assigns tasks to be performed. Because of the WMS system, all work in the warehouse is automated and control over it is not required. It greatly minimizes the customer's waiting time for order fulfilment.
 

WMS selection
What to pay attention while choosing a WMS (Warehouse Management System)?

Depending on the industry, company size, and specificity of warehouse processes, various criteria play a crucial role in choosing the right WMS.

From the point of view of the decision-making person, the most important is the scope of functions and references of the company implementing the system. Software usability occupies the next place.

The 5 most important criteria for choosing a WMS provider from the customer's point of view:

  • Functionality
  • Provider's references
  • Usability
  • Simple parameterization
  • Simple integration with existing processes and IT environment
     

Warehouse management software should:

  • Handle all current warehouse operations
  • Be integrated with systems that will not be supported by WMS (e.g. accounting module in ERP)
  • Grow with the company
     

In order to deliberately define the above-mentioned features, you do not need to have comprehensive knowledge about each system. It is important to create a list of the indispensable requirements, more precisely the processes that you would like to implement, all that the system must handle, and the strategy to implement.

This may prove difficult, but it is the first and most important thing you need to make in the process of provider selection. The differences between the systems concern details that can be complicated to detect and understand.

The final decision related to the choice of a WMS should be made after talking to the provider and seeing the proposed warehouse management software “in action”.

Learn more about the features of the Asiston WMS platform and its benefits.
 

WMS personalization
Can the WMS system be personalized to the company's requirements?

If it is to fulfil its goals well, it not only can be personalized, it has to.

In a modern warehouse, all movements of goods should be mapped in an IT system. The management of logistics processes should proceed in organized and well-considered manner. Therefore, it is worth configuring a solution that will help to properly manage the warehouse management - from the acceptance of goods to their release.

It should also suggest what activities are to be performed by warehouse employees at a given moment.

For a WMS to be truly effective, it must reflect the actual business needs of the enterprise. What is more, it should be implemented on the basis of the most effective and proven methodologies, and also ensure business continuity and failure-free operation. Not everyone is aware of this, but implementing a WMS is a complex and long-term process. Therefore, only a systematic and methodical approach to such a project can guarantee its success.

In the process of implementation, several stages, that will lead to the launch of an application that responds to the real needs of the company, should be highlighted.
 

Does the client influence how the system is adjusted to their requirements?

Yes. First of all, you should start with identifying individual fields in the company that need to be improved, and indicate how the WMS could improve them.

The customer should indicate current problems and the so-called bottlenecks, i.e. difficulties in tracking batches, expiring dates, problems with the appropriate use of the warehouse space, the inability to implement and control the implementation of many processes, and the work of warehouse workers, mistakes, or difficulties in reporting. Then, they should highlight areas that may be improved as a result of the implementation process, e.g. shortening the time of shipment, supporting quality controls, or labelling according to the customer's needs.

Having appropriate experience in various industries, we know which questions should be asked and can show the possible variants of various processes, thus directing client to define the total vision of the solution. In addition, the client should indicate the appropriate employees of the company with the greatest substantive competences in the analysed issues. At this stage, it should be ensured that everyone is actively involved in the further stages of the project implementation.


 

Is a warehouse able to function without WMS?

Yes, but it is associated with numerous problems and often turns out to be ineffective. Every warehouse, regardless of its size, has to deal with various problems that, if ignored, can seriously disrupt its performance. For example:

Problems with inexact stock levels
out-of-date or inexact stock levels most often happen when the operator wants to pick up the product from the expected place. When the warehouse keeper arrives at the rack, it turns out that the product is no longer available or has been moved to another location without updating the information about the transfer. Due to inexact stock levels, mistakes often occur during picking. Warehousemen also waste time searching for "missing" goods, which causes delays in shipments.

The main cause of the above problems is the manual implementation of warehouse processes on the basis of paper documents. The simplest and most effective solution is to implement the WMS system and integrate it with the ERP system functioning in the company. One of the benefits of the WMS system is the automatic recording of data about all warehouse operations. As a result, the data on the amount and location of goods in the warehouse are always up-to-date.

Poorly organized picking of goods
the lack of a properly optimized picking process in the warehouse translates into losses of both time and money. Perfectly organized picking of goods assumes collecting as many goods as possible in the shortest possible time. Increasing the picking performance is one of the most frequently reported problems.

Here, the solution is to implement a WMS system that will support the picking process in several different ways. It will display the exact location of the picked goods and will calculate the picking route so that the warehouse staff can reach all items from the order in the shortest possible time.

High work costs
Logistics and distribution centres are under constant pressure. The market requires them to provide services of the highest quality at the lowest possible price. On the other hand, rising wages increase work costs.

Warehouse automation is a response to rising work costs. Thanks to automatic racks, transporters, sorters, etc., integrated into the WMS system, the warehouse efficiency increases significantly, without the need to hire new employees.


There can be many, many more problems, e.g. a problem with employee turnover, a large number of expired or damaged products, or problems with handling complaints and returns.
 

WMS for your warehouse
Is WMS worth implementing only in the case of large warehouses, or will it work equally well in smaller ones?

The warehouse management system will find use in every company in which a warehouse occurs, regardless of whether it is run by a manufacturing or distribution company, or a logistics operator. WMS is designed to improve the work of every warehouse - regardless of whether it is small or large. It is also able to manage several warehouses at the same time, e.g. a central warehouse, a subordinate regional warehouse, and again its subordinate retail warehouses.

Can the WMS application be integrated with other external systems?

We are currently faced with a situation in which the system has to be precisely adjusted to the customer's needs. Therefore, it has to be integrated with the systems that function in the enterprise. This is the only way to make the warehouse fully automated.

What has also increased is the importance of integrating warehouse applications with solutions such as:

  • Data warehouse
  • Carrier service apps
  • Communication with subcontractors
  • Inventory Management

Increasingly, WMS is also becoming part of the ERP system. Today, the integration of WMS solutions with advanced IT systems is a relatively simple process. Solutions such as ERP or WMS are becoming more and more adaptable. Things that a few years ago were impossible or very difficult to implement - e.g. implementing an advanced ERP system in a small company - are now common.

 

Before implementing a WMS system, a company should know how to answer questions such as:


  • What processes the WMH is to handle?

We need a completely different service to operate a small warehouse that is focused primarily on receiving and releasing full pallets while its storage function is not as important. On the other hand, other processes take place in automated warehouses for e-commerce customers.

  • What business need justifies the implementation of new software?

We have to consider where the idea for implementing the new software came from. Should we modify the previous software which, because of the development of the company, is no longer able to cope with large amounts of data and automation support? Or the situation is different - we choose the first service that will be implemented in the warehouse? The customer must know the answer to the question: for which processes the implementation of WMS is necessary or will significantly increase their efficiency.

  • What is the budget for the implementation and further maintenance of the system?

You have to consider how much you can spend on implementing the WMS system in the company. It is a cost ranging from several to several hundred thousand zlotys. The cost depends on the WMS itself, but also on the functions available in it. Some platforms require only an implementation fee; others also maintenance fee, usually paid in the form of a monthly subscription. You should take it into account while making a decision.

  • With which software will the WMS have to be integrated?

It must be remembered that the WMS system will not provide the accounting services (most often, there are even no prices of goods in in). The minimum integration is ERP <-> WMS, but they can also be: CRM, TMS, YMS, BI, Claim System, MES etc.

  • How long does it take for the target system to be implemented?

Apart from the budget, the time when the enterprise wants to implement the new software is the second primary factor to be determined. From the moment of signing the contract to the production launch of the WMS, it may take from several months to even 2 years. It all depends on the complexity of the client's processes, expectations according to the system, the course of the pre-implementation analysis, the quality of documenting the processes, etc.

  • What are the next steps?

It is worth planning the development of the system/s 2-3 years ahead. The customer should answer the question of whether the physical structure of the warehouse will be significantly changed in the near future, during or after the implementation. Both changing the storage systems and, for example, changing the picking system will have an impact on the WMS. Expansion of the warehouse, change of location, implementation of automation, or replacement of other programs integrated with WMS are also to be analysed before implementation.

 

You may also be interested in:

WebDesign B2B - trends and guidelines for 2022

The pandemic has shown that basically everything can be done online. More and more entrepreneurs are investing in the Internet by designing new websites, or modernizing those which already exist. See what you should draw your attention to in 2022

Generation "Z". How to prepare the E-commerce for the next generation of customers?

Characteristics and analysis of behaviour and interests of the "Z" generation. How to win their hearts and turn them into loyal customers?

Project-based Software Development

Tell us about your needs

 

IT Project Outsourcing

Services tailored for your needs

In case of a temporarily increased demand for IT staff, it would not be easy nor profitable to hire a suitable specialist for a short time period. To help optimise the costs of running a business We could offer You:

Get a free quote

 
Fixed-price projects suit us best, but our services can be realized also on the basis of the following cooperation models:

  • Time and material

    Time and material

  • Dedicated Team

    Dedicated Team

  • Individual model

    Individual model

 
 

Top Custom Software Developer

Clients rate our comprehensive approach to project implementation and business consulting very well. This is one of the main reasons we are considered by Clutch as a leading eCommerce Software Development Team in Poland.

 

In our daily work, we help to develop our clients' businesses. Their trust and effective cooperation make us grow as well. January, 2022, the new edition of Forbes Diamond Award report was published. We are proud to be listed among the fastest-growing Polish enterprises in this prestigious report.