When you are getting a new WMS for your organization, the work doesn’t stop after finding the right WMS solution. After that, comes the actual implementation stage that many companies get confused about where to start.

With our proven step for warehouse implementation, you can enjoy a simple and easy implementation process that you never thought possible. 

Step 1 - Team first

Obviously, WMS implementation is a huge responsibility for an individual. Plus, the process will require expertise on a range of subjects apart from warehouse management like data administration, IT, system integration and more. So it’s safe to say that a good WMS implementation process starts with a good team.

When creating your WMS implementation team you need to include a member from all the tiers involved in warehouse management operations in your organization. With a team that includes managers as well as ground-level employees in the department, you will be able to understand the real struggles and challenges workers face on a daily basis easily.

Apart from that, a good WMS implementation team should include data administrators, on staff engineers and IT specialists.  A project manager should be assigned to make in charge of monitoring the team. You can also include a WMS consultant like Tigernix consultants into your team if you feel like you need the expertise of a professional.

Step 2-  Budget

WMS implementation budget varies from organization to organization. Usually, a WMS implementation costs depending on your situation and requirements.

Below are a few factors that will affect your WMS budget. 

  • Technology using - Costs involved with your WMS implementation will hugely affect by the type of solution you are choosing for your organization. 
  • Price model – What is the best pricing model for you. SaaS or perpetual licensing?
  • Maintenance - Apart from the system purchase and installation costs, you will have to pay maintenance costs depending on the subscription system you’ve opted for.
  • Customization – If you require customizations made for your system, which you will, it’s also another factor you should keep in mind when you are planning your budget. 
  • Infrastructure upgrades – Sometimes what you already have might not enough for the new system to operate. In that case, you will require certain infrastructure upgrades. 
  • Data services - Costs involved in data backup and data migration

Step 3 -Dealing with Data

It’s very important that you have clear plans for data migration and data backup when the new system is ready. Because no business can’t afford to lose any data. With the help of your data administrators, you’ll have to plan every step of data migration to make sure everything goes smoothly. 

The data transfer from the old system to the new system should be done carefully. Also, you should introduce new governance rules to the new system while making sure that your data formats haven’t changed during the transfer. So you won’t experience any data translation issues that can lead to business intelligence problems. 

Data migration backup also should be taken seriously. 

It’s also important that you test and make sure the accuracy of data. In case you experience missing data, they should be restored effectively while modifying data as required to meet the new system’s requirements. 

Step 4 - Change management

It’s crucial that you plan your change management well for the major shift that is about to happen in your organization. Here you need to take into account everything from financials to human resources.

Some of the main elements your change management plan should include are

  • Costs involved – You need to have room in your accounts for a realistic budget for your WMS. Here make sure to add costs for maintenance that are recurring.
  • Implementation steps and Schedule -Planning and scheduling your implementation steps keeping your budget in your mind while making sure the team members are freed of regular work for the project. 
  • Data backups and migrations – Data migration and back up might cause many disruptions to the daily work of the organization, which you should prepare for. 
  • Training- Developing skills in users to operate the system while ensuring individual change among employees and users to embrace and use the system.
  • Test list – List down everything that needed to be checked before the system goes live.
  • Launching – How your actual implementation be like? How the support system is like when users ran into a problem in operating the system.

Step 5 - Training

Good training is the key to the success of any WMS implementation. During this stage, you should find answers for the following questions…

  • Do you I have in house experts to train the staff or do I need the help of a trainer?
  • Does my vendor offer training programs?
  • What kind of a training program suits best for my team? Is it online materials, on premises courses or training sessions at trainers premises?
  • Am I going to send all our system users for the training or just a selected group?
  • If it is a selected group, who are best for the job?

Here it’s important to keep in mind that different type of training will cost differently and impact differently. 

For example on premises training sessions will cost more compared to e-learning training sessions. But on-premise training will give the users a better opportunity to train in their environment dealing with actual tasks. However, e-learning will enable users to learn at their own pace and enabling them to revisit the same material again and again if required.

Step 6 - Testing 

Every system should test toughly before making it live. Here you need to make sure you have no system errors or bugs by testing it with actual data and comparing results with the old system. You need to test the system for all the possible scenarios and ensure that the system works smoothly with possible processing loads, simulation operations and a number of users using the system simultaneously.  

Step 7 - Actual planning

By now assigning roles, defining objectives and budgets and planning of the overall process is over. Now you need to plan how the team will work to get the work done. Here you should plan who work on which part, what are the timelines and deadlines for each task, how the communication flow should be like in the team, how they going to collaborate as a team(conference calls, meetings, project management software)…etc. 

You need to clearly define and find answers to the followings. 

  • How to report the updates to whom among the team and to the organization?
  • How does the feedback loop work with the software customizations?
  • How the testing should be done for your organization?
  • What are your programs to prep the employees for the big change?
  • What training methods will you be using and how the training schedules are like?
  • What are your plans if an unexpected cost arises?
  • Basically, you need to figure out the ‘how’ for all the ‘what’s you’ve been planning.

Step 8 - Launch and see

Now you can launch the system and observe patiently what happens. Followings are a few things you need to pay attention to during this stage,

  • Do the employees pick up the new system at the rate you expected? 
  • Does the sales are coming in smoothly and orders are delivered effectively? 
  • Is there any change in the efficiency in the operations? 
  • Are there any glitches or errors users experience in the real world? 
  • How the support system works for learning users? 

Step 9 - Review

Now you can review your implementation success. WMS implementation involves huge risks so if you’ve done everything right, you will see the benefits of the WMS right way. 

Here you can start analyzing the impact the system has made in the department and how the benefits will progress or evolve over time.

Also, Read

What are the most valuable features of your warehouse management system(WMS)?

When should I think about implementing WMS for my warehouse?