The WMS Selection Handguide has been drawn up by DATASCOPE to help companies in their WMS selection process. This booklet offers a generic approach to the selection of a WMS and does not try to convince the prospective client to select DATASCOPE. Over the years we have been requested to visit many sites where an attempted WMS implementation has failed miserably. In many cases, the client has already spent a large amount of cash and we have no option but to explain that much of the cash spent cannot be recovered. This booklet will help you make a careful selection.
In our experience, some selection criteria should include:
- WMS Resellers should be operation consulting specialists, not just software developers
- WMS functionality fit to meet business requirements
- Speak to your ERP provider as to which WMS they would recommend
- Seamless integration into your ERP package is extremely important - probably the most important requirement
- Must be a standard, single version plug and play solution, not bespoke developed for you
- Company and product sustainability is important – this is a large strategic investment, get the selection process right
- The general look and feel of the software – will the shopfloor operators work well with it
- The company’s implementation methodology – rated as the second most important criteria
- Implementation time
- Visit companies running the software and find out first hand from them
- What level of support is available after the project is bedded down
- WMS reseller’s knowledge of your ERP system and general best-practice supply chain operational requirements
- Costs – often not the deciding factor
- Manage business risk – these implementations can cripple your company is not managed properly
Further to the above, it must be pointed out that implementing a WMS is a very difficult thing to do. It is far more difficult than implementing an ERP system... and that is hard enough. The reasons that WMS implementations often fail are many, but one of the key aspects is the time-sensitive nature of a WMS solution. Any problem with the setup of the new software will quickly become a burning issue on go-live day. You may say it’s only a printer issue, but that one printer may mean that many of your customers do not get their orders delivered today.
Any important considerations are what key WMS functionality is critical in order to take your business to the next level and strategically outplay your competition. For example, in a high-volume apparel supplier or in a high volume expensive fragrance supplier, voice-directed picking is vital, whereas in another DC it would be an overkill.
Our experience also shows us that the integration between a WMS solution and your ERP software is difficult to get right. Due to this, you will often find that the WMS provider will appoint a third party to do the integration work. You will also find that they will not agree to a fixed price for this integration work. The reason is that it is very complex. Watch this section of your budget…