Mitigating Warehouse Management Challenges with a 3PL

warehouse management

Keeping up with any technology is challenging and this is especially true for the warehouse management systems that keep your single warehouse or network of fulfillment centers running efficiently to service your brand.  Proactively understanding the challenges that can accompany this process can save you time and money.  Here are three common WMS implementation challenges and their solutions.

 Transition Planning for Your Warehouse Management System

Having a data migration plan in place for the conversion of historical operating and customer data from your legacy system to a new WMS is the first step in this process.   Aligning your IT staff, IT vendors, consultants and executive stakeholders will help to ensure a seamless transition.  The most challenging part of the transition can be when the existing system goes offline, and the new one comes on.  Part of your transition plan will need to include contingency planning with IT resources available onsite to immediately intervene and mitigate “bugs” and functionality that is not performing as expected. 

 In a worst-case scenario, having the option to fall back onto the legacy system for a period of time should be considered as an option to maintain day-to-day production should any mission-critical systems fail during this phase of the transition.  This contingency option will limit the exposure and down-time should there be an issue with the changeover.   Having a strong and well thought out strategy will also promote user adoption, which can hamper productivity early in a system conversion. 

 Prioritize the Functions You Need from Your WMS

When updating and upgrading any system, there are going to be a variety of new features and functionality which may have to be customized to fully realize the return on investment within your operations.  The reasons to invest capital to upgrade a WMS will vary by company.  While some enhancements will immediately improve the overall performance of the operations, others may provide a roadmap for future improvements.   Prioritizing and mastering the basics first and then building on those successes over time will provide the foundation for long-term success.  Users should begin with prioritizing the elements you need immediately before moving on to the less critical applications.  This discipline will also increase the likelihood of remaining on schedule and within your budget.  

Don’t Ignore the WMS Testing and Employee Training Phase

Time constraints and budget restrictions can often limit or eliminate the testing and training stage of onboarding a new system.  It’s vital for the success of an implementation and system adoption that adequate resources are funded to thoroughly and repeatedly test all order types and transaction sets.  Moreover, employee training on the new system must be a priority to ensure the continuity of business processes and that staff morale does not suffer during this critical phase.  

The experts at Barrett Distribution understand what’s important and how an efficient supply chain can benefit your brand.  With a focus on process visibility and experience in leveraging technology to develop strategic product fulfillment advantages, Barrett is here to help with your warehousing, distribution and logistics needs.