SaaS warehouse management system provider Snapfulfil offers a guide when assessing how best to automate your warehouse.
1.Assess the need for a warehouse management system (WMS) – Just because you are building or refurbishing a warehouse does not necessarily mean that you will need warehouse management system software. Before committing to a warehouse management system project you must be confident you are going to achieve significant business benefits.
2. Consider the mid to long-term – Project ahead as far as you can in these uncertain times and have a clear vision of what your warehouse could look like in five to ten years as this will ensure you choose a warehouse management software solution that is sufficiently scaleable, flexible, versatile and functional.
3. Examine all options – Initially look at the warehouse management system module of your existing MRP, ERP or business system. Only look at the option of dedicated in-house warehouse management system software if your requirements are particularly specialised.
4. Calculate your potential Return on Investment ( ROI ) – Warehouse management system software has benefits to a business that are clearly defined and as such much easier to justify than many IT projects. When making this assessment, look at the potential for a warehouse management system to give you improved stock accuracy and associated increased productivity and cost savings, plus improved traceability and visibility and improved customer service.
5. Investigate the costs of a warehouse management system – The costs of a warehouse management system can be broken down into licences, professional services ( ie project management, training and go-live support), custom development costs and annual support costs. Ensure any suppliers you approach give you costs for the all the above, indicating if prices are fixed or variable. Be cognisant of hidden costs such as travel costs, travel time and project management time. Also take hardware and infrastructure costs into account.
6. Consider the option of Software as a Service ( SaaS ) – Have a look at more cost effective Software as a Service warehouse management system packages with "No Capex". In addition to the cost benefits that a warehouse management system will afford you, you can drive costs down further by adopting a SaaS / No Capex model.
7. Structure a process – In order to find and select the right warehouse management system supplier / provider follow these guidelines:
a) Request a short information document – no more than a few pages.
b) Produce a shortlist of 3 to 5 suppliers, then organise an informal initial meeting – it will help you get a feel for the supplier and its corporate culture and business ethos.
c) Request a few reference sites.
d) Request a demonstration.
e) Request a client site visit.
8. Research potential suppliers – Use a combination of personal recommendations from industry contacts and / or attend trade exhibitions. Search engine research will also give you some names. In order to narrow it down, you might choose warehouse management system providers who can demonstrate a history / track record of working in your type of warehousing operation / industry sector.
9. Create a project team – Firstly identify a project champion in your organisation, and then build a support team of logistics / supply chain personnel around them, with ownership of the warehouse management system project . This internal team should obviously include the IT department to ensure that the warehouse management system provider can integrate their system with solid interfaces with your existing business systems.
10. Regard this as a long-term partnership – Look at the size of the warehouse management system provider and the size of their customers to ensure that you are dealing with a company that is geared up to working with a company of your size. Examine support cover and development plans plus track record. Make sure that their company culture and business ethos is compatible with yours.
Synergy Logistics Ltd
Lisle Street, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 1AW