Warehouses are complex and multifaceted environments. Day to day operations involve everything from receiving stock, organizing warehouse space, and scheduling labor, to managing inventory and fulfilling and dispatching orders.
Without a powerful warehouse management system (WMS), many businesses struggle to keep up with the demands of their industry and customers. A WMS helps to organize and streamline your processes, while increasing your profit margins.
If your current warehouse management is not meeting your needs, it might be time for an upgrade. But how do you select the right warehouse management software for your business?
Here are our five tips to help you in the decision making process.
1. Assess your current system
If you currently use a WMS and find that it’s falling short, the first step is to analyze why. Where are you experiencing roadblocks? What capabilities are missing? What is slowing you down? It’s important to look at individual features as well as the big picture operations to assess the effectiveness of your WMS and where it is letting you down.
Once you have analyzed your current system, you’ll have a better understanding of the gaps you need to fill and the must-have functionality for running more efficiently. This list could include things like greater inventory control and monitoring, more in-depth reporting features, or advanced rate shopping to handle your growing customer needs. Whatever it may be, creating a list of what’s missing from your WMS will help you make a more informed decision.
2. Know your goals and budget
Outlining clear business goals will also help you determine what you need from your WMS. You may want to expand your customer base, increase your service offerings, or even scale up your warehouse locations. The right WMS will support your growth and help you meet business goals. Look for the capabilities and features that match your future vision for the business, as well as meet your needs right now. This will ensure that you choose a solution that is versatile enough to grow with your business.
Another thing to consider is your project budget. Setting a budget will help you determine realistic contenders and narrow down your search. The right warehouse management software will reduce operational costs and increase revenue, so a more effective solution will always have a greater return on investment.
3. Research providers and features
Start your search by looking for providers that cater to your industry. If you’re a 3PL, you will need software that is built to handle your unique billing and customer requirements. If you’re a food and beverage business, your software will need the ability to manage temperature controlled zones. The best solutions will meet all of your requirements, along with capabilities to scale up as your operations grow or change.
Make sure you do thorough research, check out reviews, testimonials, case studies, and other resources on offer. You should also ensure they have the integration capabilities you require. While often overlooked, the level of ongoing technical support your WMS provides is an important factor, as it will help you get the most out of your new warehouse management system.
Then, once you have your list of must-have features, match these up to the feature offerings of the WMS to see if it is the right fit.
4. Discuss with your team
Investing in a new WMS will be fruitless if your team doesn’t understand or utilize the software. While you should ensure a comprehensive training program for all employees once the system is deployed, it can be beneficial to consult your team in the decision making phase. As they will be using the system first-hand, they may have a better idea of what capabilities will be the most beneficial to the warehouse, and what specific areas have been letting their productivity down.
Be open to feedback and suggestions from your team, but also determine which options will be best for overall business performance. The perfect WMS will be easy to use but powerful enough to drive business growth.
5. Take advantage of free demos
When you have a shortlist of options, the final step is to determine if you like the software functionality and dashboards. User experience is an important factor, so you need to choose the option that you feel will suit your operations and your expectations.
The best way to do this is to look for providers that offer free demonstrations. This will help you “try before you buy” and is a good indicator of solutions that value your experience and champion their software.
Want to try Da Vinci out for yourself? You can organize a free demo with one of our dedicated WMS experts and see how it can benefit your business!
If you have any questions about how to choose a warehouse management system that haven’t been answered, get in touch with us today.