If you are preparing to select a Warehouse Management System for your business, you have several decisions to make. And yet, many of those decisions are likely being impacted by preconceptions in your organization about what WMS is and what it can do for you.
Whether it's the cost of installation, the time for implementation and training, or worries over vendors, there are many myths about what WMS can offer and how it is installed and managed. Let's take a closer look at some of those myths and what you should really expect if you are preparing to install a WMS for the first time.
Installation Will Take Months and Cost Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
While there is some truth to the time and scale of installation for the largest WMS implementations in massive organizations that require extensive customization, there are several WMS solutions designed specifically for smaller businesses that can be implemented and configured much faster.
With the right approach from an experienced vendor, deployment can be completed within a matter of weeks rather than months if your physical layout doesn't require much change. The key is finding a software vendor with a strong implementation methodology and experience utilizing it.
The System that Fits Now Won't Be Right in the Future
There are certainly some solutions out there that might fail as you grow, necessitating further change, but if you work with a vendor that fully understands the needs of a small but growing business, this shouldn't be an issue.
Working with a vendor that has a clear understanding of what new functionality will be required as your company grows or implements new systems is very important. Work with a vendor who can do this for you and your system and have a demonstrated track record of doing it for others.
WMS is too Expensive for a Small or Medium Business Right Now
Cost is a very real concern for any small- or medium-sized business. The key differentiator for a WMS system over some other investments you might make in your business is that it can directly impact so many aspects of your organization. From labor costs to inventory costs and customer satisfaction, you'll feel the impact immediately, all while reducing the need for custom programming or management of inventory in-house. A formal ROI analysis will tell the story, so don't be afraid to ask your vendor to help you perform one.
Discuss with your vendor the pricing options available, as there may be flexibility depending on your specific needs—with subscription or pricing plans to fit your budget and cash flow.
My Vendor Will Probably Go Out of Business Down the Line
This can be true in almost any industry, especially when dealing with software consultants. To avoid potential issues, avoid new or untested vendors that offer low prices as part of their growth strategy. By selecting a vendor with a proven track record and the ability to clearly illustrate financial viability in the long term, you can avoid these potential issues.
Lower Up Front Cost Means Lower Ownership Cost
For several reasons, lower than expected costs for a WMS are a red flag. They can mean you're dealing with an inexperienced vendor, and overly low prices can lead to a lack of viability for the business in the future.
If the vendor isn't asking much up front, there may be hidden costs later that increase your overall investment, or they might not have the capital needed to invest in the product in the long term. R&D investments to stay current with state-of-the-art machinery and technology integration, as well as new features, are vital for a vendor to provide top tier service. If yours isn't doing this, it can mean greater costs for you later.
Training and Implementation Costs Will be Too High
The goal of a good Warehouse Management System is to simplify how you operate your warehouses. That means a system that is intuitive and easy to pick up for every member of your team. Whether picking, shipping, receiving, or managing inventory in general, your system should work seamlessly with every team involved in your operations.
Training should be minimal, onboarding quick, and supported by your vendor to reduce the impact of issues when they do occur. As time passes and your system gathers and manages all of your inventory intelligence, you'll see less of an impact from turnover and be able to onboard new team members much quicker.
The Realities of Warehouse Management and its Benefits
A good Warehouse Management System offers numerous benefits for businesses of all sizes. Whether you are a small business with a single warehouse or a growing medium-sized business with several regional warehouses that require a more robust system for management, the right WMS can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and help you run your business more effectively.
The key is to choose a vendor that has the experience needed working with businesses like yours, the expertise needed to provide and update cutting edge software, and the flexibility to ensure they can grow and adjust with you over time.