In a perfect world, taking the leap to implement a Warehouse Management System would be a one-time expenditure, and it would work flawlessly forever. However, technology grows and changes, new business models break into the market, and inevitably, the very system that once gave you the upper hand is now holding you back. If you are beginning to feel like things are growing stagnant, consider the following ways that your WMS may be unintentionally stunting your growth.
You Didn't Go Big Enough
Warehouse Management Systems leave a lot of room for customization. On the one hand, this makes it possible for smaller organizations to get their hands on top-end WMS programs that make them competitive. On the other hand, it also leaves room for organizations to underbuy, leaving out important features or equipment that they would otherwise grow into. If you suddenly find yourself wishing you could add a Pick-To-Light system or otherwise change your processes, you may be feeling the weight of your past decisions. The only way to overcome this problem is to go back to the drawing board and determine whether an updated WMS will bring you back up to speed.
It's Not All-Inclusive
Warehouses that specialize in the assembly or manufacturing of goods sometimes struggle to find a Warehouse Management System that fits their needs. Oftentimes, the WMS is able to handle the incoming components but is not able to adequately address finished goods. Some WMS programs fail to transition from tracking individual component part numbers to assigning a single part number to the finished product for sale. This results in running multiple tracking programs and disjointed inventory systems and usually requires repetitive work as employees are forced to manually enter data from one system to the other to eliminate discrepancies. If your WMS is only serving your company in a limited capacity and is causing you to double your work, it may be time to search for a better solution. Today's WMS programs are more compatible with other software and offer more versatility for different types of warehouses, including production sites.
You Aren't Looking At Profits
The Warehouse Management System is designed to provide you with more information than you have ever had available before and to allow you to turn that insight into profits. The enormous amount of data that can be analyzed has a potential downside though. It's easy to focus on optimizing things that don't actually affect profitability that much. If you have been overwhelmed and side-tracked by chasing metrics in these categories, you may have failed to look at the big picture. Your WMS should bring you balance, rather than leading you on an endless hunt for performance boosts that end up costing you profits.
If your business is experiencing a slow growth period or has stopped growing altogether, it is possible that your WMS is the culprit. Both the type of system you have in place and how you are using it can impact your results. Consulting with your WMS provider is a great way to determine if there are additional features you should be using or if there is a better way to use what you already have in place.