Choosing the right warehouse management system

Posted by Stephen Whitehouse on 12 Feb

distribution

So much of successful business comes down to efficiency, and in the world of manufacturing, that means making sure your inventory control does not have any weak spots. But how to go about choosing the best warehouse management system? In this article, we look at the steps:

Choose the right team

Without the right personnel in the team, there is little chance of you implementing a new warehouse management system effectively. The team members who are part of the new system selection and implementation do not necessarily need to be IT professional but, need to be knowledgeable of the company's processes, systems and requirements.

Identify key challenges 

Before we can increase productivity through an improved warehouse management system, it is essential that we analyse current processes and identify how they can be improved. Therefore, it is imperative to collate data from your current processes and system(s). Once you have done this, you will have a better idea of what you are looking for from your ERP software. You might have a weak spot in your tracking, mistakes such as duplicates, tasks are taking longer than required, or issues with stock allocation. You should find out your weaknesses, before identifying a system which can address them.

Set your objectives

Once you understand what your challenges are, you can define exactly what you need from your warehouse management system. What is your priority when it comes to a warehouse management system? Do you want a system which offers scalability, to grow with you as a business? Is it in the area of replenishment where you wish to enjoy the most enhancements? After you have set your objectives, you will be ready to find a system which can help you achieve them.

Calculate costs 

Decide on a way to measure ROI, the financial and operational benefits which you stand to receive as a result of switching to a new warehouse management system, versus the outlay which you will make to buy the system. Among the costs which should be considered is software licencing structure ask questions such as is licencing based on functions or modules, are they perpetual, are they concurrent or per user? Other costs considerations include training and professional development; software configurations, any additional changes to your infrastructure which will be needed to accommodate the new system, such as new interfaces; and additional support costs, if applicable.

Issue an RFI

A ‘Request for Information’ (RFI) or 'Invitation to Tender' (ITT) is a standard way of asking for the information you need from a system vendor who you are considering working with. It typically takes the form of a document which contains questions referring to areas of the system which you are most interested in. It may also request vendors to explain the functionalities in more detail and how it is suitable for the company. This is your chance to ask any questions which can determine whether a vendor makes it into the final shortlist of the warehouse management system you are considering.

If you want to take a firm grip of your inventory control, and increase productivity, making the switch to a new warehouse management system or an integrated ERP system such as WinMan that includes inventory management can offer multiple benefits which can pay off in the long run.

>> Click here to find out more about WinMan's Warehouse Management feature.

Topics: Distribution, Business Management Software, supply chain, Productivity, Warehouse Management Systems

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