7 Deadly Sins of WMS Software Selection

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 6:44:00 PM

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Warehouse Management System Software is an integral part of a warehouse operation. Which is why it's so important that your business is not committing one of these major errors when selecting a WMS software. 

1. Buying software like you buy a toaster

It's human nature to take your consumer tendencies of internet research and buying the lowest priced item, and apply them to buying something in your business life.  However, applying that level of simplicity to something that is going to profoundly impact the way your business operates can come back to bite you! 

Buying enterprise-level software is a methodical process that requires patience and open communication with your prospective vendors.  You have to feel comfortable that the solution you are buying will solve your problems.  The process takes time, due diligence and a willingness to bare your problems to your prospective vendors.

2. Wasting your own time by not being prepared

You need to have your house in order before inviting guest over for dinner.  That means that you have taken the time with your team to define the following:

Good: Have a cursory understanding of what your problems are

Better: Have specific examples of problems that have occurred in the business that have brought you to look at a WMS

Best: You have a cursory understanding, some specific examples AND have spent the time to figure out what these problems are costing you.

3. The entire team is NOT the same page

Your entire team from executive management down to the warehouse line worker needs to be on the same page that there are problems to be solved.  If your warehouse manager does not agree that there are issues, he/she will be less likely to be a willing participant in solving the problems.  This will sabotage the process and you won’t get good, honest feedback.

4. Withholding embarrassing information because it could reflect poorly on staff members

It’s human nature to want to be perceived as doing a good job.  If the warehouse is struggling to get orders out the door but the warehouse management and staff insist that there aren’t any problems because they are fearful for their job, then you will not be successful in choosing a solution because you don’t have willing participants in the process.

5. You have a general idea as to your warehouse processes, but nothing specific

Unlike your accounting software, the WMS is going to give your warehouse workers software that they will use in their current processes.  If you don’t have a handle on exactly how your warehouse staff gets product out the door, you won’t be able to communicate this to your prospective software supplier. 

They, in turn, will not be able to give you a demo that is specific to your processes and you won’t give them the ability to show you how their system can potentially solve your problems.  This is setting yourself up for disappointment and the project will die on the vine.

6. Just give me a demo & price!

If you’re asking for a price and a demo, what you’re really asking is for: “is this something that is in my budget or can I afford this?” AND “I need to see where this will solve my problems”.  And that is okay.  Just don’t expect an exact price, because the software vendor can only give you a ballpark at this point.  Implementing a warehouse system is a lot like building a room addition onto your house. 

Until you’ve opened up the walls to see where the electrical and plumbing is located, you can only get a high-level estimate.  As far as doing a demo, you’re a long way off from this point.  Best to see if you can get some pre-recorded online videos that will give you an idea of how the solution can help.

Spend the time to get educated and be upfront with it.  It’s more than okay to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know.

7. Our business is really simple, so this shouldn’t cost that much!

It’s true this isn’t rocket science, however, the reality of a simple business is far from reality.  On the surface your business may appear to be very simple, but the deeper you peel back the layers of your processes the more complex they will become.  Don’t fool yourself and/or your prospective software vendor into a false sense of security.  You’re talking about a piece of business altering software that will change the way you do business today and that is NOT simple.

Post written by Scott McKenzie - Check out his blog: The BarCode Guy.

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