Your Warehouse Management System, or WMS, is one of the most important things in your warehouse. This software is literally the thing that keeps your warehouse running. It allows you to track what loads you have coming in, what you need to load and ship out, and where in your warehouse certain pieces of inventory are.
If this system goes down, your warehouse’s productivity will drop dramatically. It’s not like having one of your loading dock ramps break—you can still work with that, but it’s almost impossible to keep things moving if you have to visually locate every pallet that needs to be shipping out, especially if you have a large warehouse.
This is why you have to be very careful when shopping for a new WMS. You want a system that’s going to be stable, easy to use, and provide all of the options you need. If you’re looking for a new WMS, you need to keep a few things in mind.
Is it fully compatible with your old system? Can you transfer over all of your data without any issues? If you can’t, you may want to keep looking at different options until you either find a WMS that will keep your data intact or admit defeat and prepare for the difficult task of manually re-entering everything.
What kind of customer support do you get with the new WMS? If an issue arises with your new system, you want to be able to get it taken care of quickly. That’s true for more than just the installation period, too—you want to have good customer service for years.
One way of getting an idea of just how helpful the vendor is going to be is to take note of how they treat you as a potential customer. If they’re as helpful as they can be and if they’re willing to do things like coming to your warehouse to help with installation and training, they’re probably going to offer pretty good customer service. If they aren’t willing to do that or if they want to charge extra for making house calls, it could be a warning sign that you’ll be mostly on your own.
How sustainable is the WMS? Will it continue to function on new platforms and across multiple operating systems? Can you use it on your computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones? You want something that’s going to last for quite some time, especially if you’re paying a lot of money for it. Will the WMS work with automated system, RF scanners, and other devices? While it’s true that many people consider about 10 years to be the maximum lifespan of a WMS, you shouldn’t have to replace a new system after just a few years.
Of course, cost is going to be a major consideration. Some systems may look great and have tons of bells and whistles, but they’re also very expensive. Look at what you get for your money. Is it a lot of flash but little substance? Does the WMS contain many extra features you don’t really need? Sometimes the cheaper, more basic system will do everything you want.
What suggestions do you have for warehouses shopping for a new WMS? Comment below to join the conversation!