Companies looking to replace or upgrade their warehouse management system (WMS) software can avoid pitfalls and “buyer’s remorse” by treating the process like a round of golf and making sure they ask the appropriate questions at each stage of the process, just as an athlete would choose the right club for a hole, according to a session today at the ProMatDX trade show.
As a first step, companies should begin the process by including both information technology (IT) and warehouse operations experts on the project team, Jeremy Hudson, director of client services for Open Sky Group, said. Furthermore, those team members should hold equal roles, as opposed to a typical player-and-caddy relationship where the IT department might lead the charge and the operations manager would play a smaller part.
“And I like to remind people to keep score. There’s going to be a few bogeys and a few birdies when you look at a demo, so don’t be impressed by the shiny things only,” he said. “Almost any WMS could do almost anything you want it to do, with the right amount of modification. So you have to be very careful when you’re looking at a demo and don’t be afraid to ask if that is a customization, if that is an enhancement, if that is an extension.”
An ideal WMS will offer the best match for a customer’s needs from its out-of-the-box functionality with the least amount of customization possible, he said. “Because ultimately, you need to know if something being shown to you is a customization, and if so, what is the cost of that, and what is the impact of that on the lifecycle of my product?” Hudson said. “How long am I going to be able to support that product without additional intervention from the software vendor?”