Purchasing a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) for your company is a little more complicated than simply interviewing a group of companies and picking the most newfangled or expensive product on the market. You have to know what drives your company and be able to weed through all the bells and whistles to target your specific needs and select the solution that best matches your business objectives. Mark Swenson, vice president of Jacksonville, Fla.-based TMSi, a third-party logistics provider, offers these 10 tips for selecting your WMS.
1. Operations experience is a plus. Seek out providers that combine operations experience with state-of-the-art Warehouse Management Systems. Many contract warehousing providers have developed excellent systems with real-life operational know-how. These businesses are capable of adding critical input from their organization's top operations people during the development and ongoing enhancement of their WMS. The result is a very practical system that is tried and proven and will likely gain quick acceptance from employees on the floor.
2. Conduct a business needs assessment. Before you go through the process of selecting a WMS, you must match business requirements to functionality. It is very difficult to choose an optimal WMS without first identifying your company's key business requirements.
3. Ability to interface is critical. Ensure that the WMS has open architecture and is able to interface with your ERP system without incurring excessive costs. Ask prospective WMS providers for case studies where they have previously interfaced with your organization's specific ERP or accounting system.
4. Control modification costs. Choose a WMS provider that has reasonable modification rates and is willing to set up a realistic budget, based on your needs assessment, prior to formalizing the relationship. You can also modify costs by choosing a provider that has already installed WMS systems with clients in your industry. In such...