Distribution 31-Oct-2021

4 Key Steps to WMS Success

WMS Success

It’s challenging to modernize warehouse operations without a comprehensive plan. 

You have technologies in place today but are they the right ones to take you to the next level? It’s an important question—and one that you need to ask. Modernization is all about making the most of what you have and building on it, and many companies find that part of their current technology stack is doing the job, while others are holding them back.

Streamline Warehouse Operations

Let’s talk about the four steps you'll need to take to ensure your warehouse management system helps you attain your goals.

Step 1: Foundation

You'll first want to determine whether you have a solid basis for modernizing your warehouse operations. There will be numerous challenges when using older systems for your warehouse management practices since they have limited integration options. As such, you'll spend more money and energy patching other technologies into the primary system, which won't be efficient.

So here's how to ensure you have the proper groundwork for a successful warehouse management system.

  1. Review the Existing ERP Features in Your System

It's essential to find out whether your current system can openly integrate with modern technologies without hassle. If not, you'll need to buy some modules that can help upgrade your system for smoother operations.

Perhaps there are features that you haven't implemented that can make processes like taking inventory more streamlined. Identifying the areas that need improvement in your existing system is the first step in setting a firm foundation for EMW success.

  1. Upgrade or Replace ERP

The next thing to do is upgrade the areas in your ERP software that require enhancement. Alternatively, you could consider replacing the whole thing if the cost of upgrading is not too high. Updated versions of your software could have additional functions that can make your system more efficient.

However, it won't hurt to check if there are better systems available in your industry. You might be surprised to find software that won't need a lot of modifications to meet your needs.

Learn more in 5 Risks of Staying on Legacy ERP Software.

Step 2: Research

The next step to take is researching and documenting the latest warehouse management technologies to ensure you choose the functions that modernize your processes conveniently. You should assess the features that your existing system offers to determine if you have any functional gaps. This will help you understand what you need to meet the future needs of your business.

Your research should involve three things; assessing your current capabilities, identifying modernization initiatives, and reviewing potential technologies.

Let's discuss each in a few details.

  1. Research Existing Capabilities

This involves paying attention to your current ERP system's capabilities and the functions these features help you execute. If you were planning on replacing your entire warehouse management system, you should also review the benefits it'll provide to the efficiency of your operations.

Once you've evaluated what the system can do, you'll need to see whether you can improve its features. If not, you'll need to find a suitable replacement for your ERP system.

  1. Identify Modernization Initiatives

After discovering what the system can do, you'll want to scour it for limitations and functional gaps. You don't have to change the entire system at once; instead, you can start with small but high-priority functions that require modernization.

Your goal should be to ensure you reinforce the weak areas of the system to ensure it can meet your future requirements without difficulties.

  1. Review Potential Technologies

Lastly, you'll want to contact your ERP provider to discuss additional features and applications to make your inventory and warehouse operations smoother. They should be easy to integrate into your WMS without spending too much money.

Step 3: Prioritize

As you review the functional gaps your current system has, you'll need to document and categorize them according to the cost of improving them. At the same time, you should determine the potential benefit the upgrades will provide for your warehouse management practices.

Instead of looking for a comprehensive upgrade that can be costly, you should start by prioritizing small but crucial functions that can provide various advantages to your system. This will involve improving your current warehouse processes and implementing new WMS processes.

  1. Improve Existing Warehouse Processes

If you've had recent projects that you've handled using a modernized ERP system, you'll want to review them. It's one of the ways to identify any weaknesses in your system that require enhancement. Then, you can tweak the setups or configurations to improve the processes you usually handle.

  1. Implement New WMS Processes

Since modernizing your warehouse is time-consuming, you should handle the tasks a little at a time. You'll want to start implementing the features that can seamlessly work with the technologies you have. Leveraging your investments is one of the ways of improving your warehouse functionality.

Step 4: Develop A Plan

The last step in setting your warehouse management system up for success is creating a plan that helps you achieve your warehouse management goals. This will involve an outline of the following;

  1. Goals and Desired Outcomes

You'll need to define the results you want to see from your warehouse operations. This necessitates understanding your current state so that you can use it to measure your progress. That's why you need a clear outline of the outcomes you want.

  1. Warehouse Automation Technologies

It's also crucial to document the technologies that you'll need to achieve your goals. This means you'll need to identify the systemic requirements your intended functions need to work. The areas where you can integrate the new processes into your system should also be clear.

  1. Timeline

Another crucial element of your plan is a timeline. You should devise a schedule for your projects to ensure you'll complete each step within a set timeframe. Even if you don't have a start date, you still need a detailed timeline for your warehouse operations.

  1. Contingency Plans

You should always expect the unexpected! For example, you could encounter a technical challenge that could hinder the success of your WMS. So, you'll want to put measures in place to ensure your project continues to completion.

Learn More in Our Modern Warehouse Playbook

Building a modern warehouse is not just a way to get ahead – it is now a matter of survival. So if you are still running an entry-level accounting or legacy distribution ERP system, it is time to upgrade. Get an overview of what to look for in your new distribution ERP system in this concise playbook: ERP Playbook for the Modern Warehouse.

Make the Most out of Your Journey: Acumatica and Cloud 9 ERP Solutions

Too often, distributors fail to notice they have a problem until it’s too late. This goes for warehouse modernization initiatives as well. ERP is complicated, but thanks to the cloud, implementing a solution is less risky than ever. These products are built to be flexible, future-proof, and easily configured, allowing you to capture more value than ever from an implementation project.

At Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, a Gold Certified Acumatica Partner, we have worked with companies like yours to configure and deliver Acumatica Cloud ERP, a product ready and able to handle your modernization challenges.

Get to know more about how we workwho we’ve helped, and why we’ve been a leader in the business for nearly three decades by contacting us for a free consultation or watch our Acumatica Distribution demo.

Additional Features

Warehouse Modernization: Introduction to 6 Required WMS Features

Top KPIs Every Distribution Company Should be Tracking

Inventory Replenishment Methods: Everything You Need to Know

 

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