Choosing a warehouse management system (WMS) for your fulfillment services can be a harrowing process, full of wrong turns, dead ends and hemorrhaging budgets.
Instead of leading your product distribution down a dangerous path, it’s smart to ask for advice from experts and learn more before taking the leap into these complicated systems.
WMSes go well beyond inventory control and will require the whole team being on board with keeping them updated and optimized, so it’s important to take your time and choose one that’s best for your entire company.
A Few Tips for Selecting a WMS
Choosing a WMS is a lot like choosing accounting software — there’s an option for everybody, but it’s hard to know which will work for you without asking a lot of questions. Before you start shopping, though, we’ve got some tips to help you simplify the process:
- Begin with your own systems. Before you contact your first WMS vendor, take a hard look at your current inventory control systems. Make a list of what works and what doesn’t from a variety of perspectives. A company-wide survey can help find the worst pain points and best features of your current system so you can avoid issues in the new WMS.
- Consider the costs. WMSes can save you money in ways you’d never imagine, from preventing picking errors and enabling perpetual inventory counting to optimizing your labor usage, but they come at a cost. There are several different types of fees involved with most major packages, including licensing fees, training fees, development costs and support costs. These fees will often include options that aren’t really optional — like customer support and software training — so make sure the total price can be justified before making any inquiries.
- Check out the software. In this modern age, most software companies are online and provide video previews, hands-on demos or other ways to trial their software. Once you’ve narrowed your list to a few packages that seem to meet your needs at a cost that you find reasonable, the rubber’s got to meet the road. It can take time to trial each software package, but by doing so you may be able to find a software package that meets your needs very closely and requires very little personalization, as opposed to one that’s designed to work for a generic warehouse and requires considerable and expensive additional development.
Choosing the perfect WMS for your warehouse can be a time-consuming effort, but it’ll be well worth it for the efficiency and organization these software packages bring. After all, an organized and efficient warehouse hums along like a well-oiled machine, bringing years of reliability and data integrity to your company’s logistics efforts.