If it’s time for you to start evaluating new warehouse management systems, knowing exactly what you’re looking for (or what you really need) and what your business’s key drivers are is crucial to choosing the right system for you and your company. You’re looking for a software that will help your company grow, will adapt to fit your needs, and will scale with you as you continue to experience success as a thriving business.
Figuring out exactly what you want and need can be tough, though. Tom Rau, Director of Sales at
- Prioritize your needs. What’s a must-have? How many must-haves do you have? Perform an assessment of your needs and wants, then determine what you can realistically implement right away and what can be put on the back burner for now.
- Figure out your budget. None of your options are free, and you can easily go from spending $5,000 to over $500,000. Determine how much you can spend and hold yourself to that.
- Keep your employees in mind. The best management system money can buy will fail without proper user adoption. Your staff is going to be on the front lines with your warehousing solution; make sure you keep their needs and capacity in mind when considering your options.
- Plot out your path to success. Any new system will take work to get up and running, and there will be a learning curve. Do you need to dive right in and have everyone using the new software right away, or can you take a slower, “piloted” approach, where a power user really gets to know the new software and then shares their findings with the rest of your staff?
- Know the physical layout of your warehouses. Do you use bins, aisles, shelves, and zones? Does the software you’re looking at support that? When looking for a new electronic solution to keeping tabs on your warehouse, it’s critical to keep the physical aspects of the warehouse in mind.
- Determine your future support options. Once you say yes to a warehouse management solution, what resources are available to you as you live and work with your new setup? No software is perfect- you will encounter problems, but the right solution will provide you with ways of working through the kinks along the way.
- Do you need a customized solution? This is something to consider when doing your initial evaluation of your needs, wants, and budget. Sometimes the best option is to build additional functionality onto an existing product, but that process can be costly. If you find a solution that meets 90% of your needs, is that extra 10% important enough to pay extra for? Consider the ROI, and don’t limit yourself to what’s already been done.
- Consider the scalability. The last thing you want is to be held back by your own software. Chances are, that very predicament is what has you currently evaluating warehouse management systems right now. Whether you’re graduating to a more powerful solution or you’re just starting out, make sure there are features that your company can grow into.
- Have an evaluation plan. Once all is said, done, and implemented, how are you going to determine if you’ve made the right decision? What are the specific problems you’re looking to fix, and how much money are you trying to save? These are key questions you want to determine you’re looking to answer at the very start of your evaluation process.
Now that you've seen the keys to choosing a warehouse management system, are you wondering if it's time for you to update your existing inventory management software?