Upgrading or updating your Warehouse Management System isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.

There are technology considerations to be taken into account, and unless you are deploying a greenfield warehouse, there are operational concerns as well. You want as little disruption as possible, and at the same time, you want a smooth and comprehensive implementation. 

Here are some things you should look for when picking a system, and a deployment partner to help you implement it. 

1. Pick someone with proven expertise in the system you have chosen. 

This is fundamental to a successful project. Look for a provider who can show you a healthy portfolio of successful implementations. Read their testimonials and case studies. Ask if they’ve deployed their software in your industry. Ask them about issues that are typical for your industry and talk to them about how their software solution (and project implementation methods) will help you to avoid or mitigate those issues. 

Ideally, you want to pick someone who is an expert in the software you implement. E.g. at Socius24, we implement Blue Yonder’s Dispatcher WMS. We don’t dabble in other WMS systems. We helped write this one and we think it’s best-in-breed. We’ve been contributing to its development in one way or another for over thirty years. It’s what we believe in, and we have been involved in some of the most complex logistics projects around the world. 

In cases like this, a specialist is better than a generalist. Whatever you pick, find people who really know how to implement it to help you with your project. 

2. Pick someone who can support you the way (and when) you need to be supported. 

Your transition to a new or upgraded WMS should be smooth and as disruption-free as possible. So, pick someone who can help you achieve that – the way you want and need to be supported. Some people prefer to have remote help and training. Some people prefer to have their implementations partners on-site. Most like a combination of the two. But what matters is what works for YOUR business. 

And find someone who isn’t just going to implement and then run, the moment the invoice has been paid. To get the best out of your WMS, you’ll benefit from a partner who can offer you post-install support.  

3. Pick someone who takes your security as seriously as you do. 

Warehouse security is non-negotiable. And if you’re implementing a WMS, then your data security should be non-negotiable as well. So, find a partner with stringent security protocols in place. Prioritise partners who have been Cyber Essentials Plus certified – the cybersecurity standard recommended by Gov.uk.  

If they have this certification, then they’ll not only be able to fortify your system against potential breaches but will also assure compliance with any regulatory data requirements. Which means, they’ll be able to protect not only your data, but that of your customers too. 

Pick something that’s scalable and future proofed. 

One of the biggest mistakes we see when it comes to picking or upgrading a WMS is not considering future growth.  

Implementing something with limited functionality can be faster and cheaper initially, yes. But when you need to replace it in a couple of years’ time, you’ll still have to pay for what you should have implemented the first time around. And it’ll be more expensive because of inflation. Plus, you’ll have to go through the whole implementation process again from start to finish, with all the disruption that it entails. 

Pick something that you don’t need to customise. Pick something that’s easily configured using available function accesses. Pick something that can deal with as few or as many transactions, and as simple or as complex operations as possible. 

If you already have what you need on hand, then if your operations expand or change, you’ll save yourself time, money and a whole heap of energy. Your business will be more agile, and you’ll be able to change strategy when it’s needed without a huge faff.  

Future you will thank you. 

Pick something that aligns with your business goals. 

Your upgrade should directly support your strategic business goals. Whether you’re doing it to boost efficiency, reduce costs or increase customer satisfaction, the right provider will take the time to listen to and understand the specific challenges that you are facing, and the specific goals that you have.  

Aligning the product and service that they are providing to what you actually need means that you will get the outcome that you are looking for. 

Choosing the right product and the right people to help you implement it isn’t just about technical expertise (although that’s crucial too). It’s also about finding a partner who can contribute to those strategic goals and who can offer the system and support that you need to help you transform your operations. 

Implementing a WMS isn’t something you do every day. But it is exactly what we do – all day, every day. So, we’re happy to chat and offer whatever advice we can – and if you have questions, you can always contact us on info@socius24.com.

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