Finding a Solution Provider:
The ideal solution provider or reseller has knowledge of supply chain management, warehouse and accounting operations and experience with integrating software for businesses in your industry. When evaluating a WMS reseller, ask yourself these questions:
What Services does the Reseller Provide?
Software implementations are made up of many critical elements. Make sure that the software provider can not only demonstrate the features of the software but is made aware of any special needs your company has during the sales process. An investigative processes commonly referred to as a needs analysis should be performed prior to the purchase of the software to ensure that a proper fit exists. Also be sure that the solution provider has the ability and qualified technical staff available to install, implement, deploy and train on the software. Company’s should plan on long term relationships with their reseller. After implementation and go live support addition services that will be provided will include additional training, technical support, custom reports, future maintenance, and upgrades. Look for a reseller who wants to assist you not only with the immediate sale and installation, but also has the ability to provide business advisory services to help you grow your business or address future needs as they occur. The vendor you choose should be dedicated to serving the changing needs of the warehousing and logistics industry, and consequently committed to upgrading and improving the product.
Is there a “personality fit between organizations?
Resellers should first learn take time to learn about your organization. Take time in the investigatory phase to not only interview the sales staff but also ask to meet the potential implementation team. It is important for you to learn as much about your solution provider as they learn about your organization. Make sure that the reseller not only informs you about the software features and functions but of the staff’s expertise in the area as well as provide references. Take time to find out what implementation methodologies will be used and make sure you have buy-in from your team for the reseller and the solution. It’s important to find a reseller you enjoy working with, who is a good fit with your company’s philosophy, and who you feel will provide the necessary expertise and consultation in a professional manner.
How companies benefits by working with solution providers:
Typically, resellers have been through the process many times before and can save you time and effort. They can help you select the right software for your warehouse, install new networks or hardware, and make sure the system is running by your target date. A good reseller will provide you with detailed estimates of how long the implementation will take as well as how many man hours your firm will have to invest in the setup, training and deployment of the system. These are critical factors to ensure an on time delivery of your system. Your reseller should identify a specific customized scope of work for your implementation as well as documentation as to the deliverables and constraints that may hamper or delay the implementation. Risks are always taken with a new deployment. Make sure your reseller identifies the risks. By being made aware of these items up front, a smoother implementation cycle will be obtained.
Find the Solution that provides the best fit.
Today software evaluation can be a daunting task. With so many solutions to choose from, you can spend months looking at software and still not see all the solutions. Your company has a unique set of warehousing needs and different process requirements. It is critical to choose a system tailored to your specific needs. Your warehousing software solution should significantly improve inventory control and staff productivity. It should integrate with your EDI (electronic data interchange) accounting, sales order and invoicing systems. This is accomplished by integrating radio frequency (RF)-based communications equipment, shipping systems, lift trucks, forklifts, conveyors, carousels, pick-to-light systems, etc. Information gathered by utilizing this equipment should be made immediately available to your organization through multiple business applications—including the accounting software, customer relationship management software, and other system applications such as EDI. The vendor you choose should be dedicated to serving the changing needs of the warehousing and logistics industry, and consequently committed to upgrading and improving the product. Consider the following factors when evaluating available WMS solutions.
- Obtain knowledge about the software vendor.
- Determine what features are included in the system and are all the features in the base price of the product or sold as modules.
- Does the system integrate with the accounting, EDI, CRM and other business software utilized by your company
- Ease of use of the system
- How does the system collect data and is it real time or batch processing
- Extra costs for additional users or modules
- Options for growth
- Maximum capacity
If you need assistance or would like more information on the steps needed to start the search for a WMS system, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view previously published articles on warehouse management solutions please visit us at AXIS Newsletter Archive. Hopefully this article has provided some insight on preparing your organization to begin a search to improve their warehouse operations to gain efficiencies.