When is the Right Time to Replace My WMS?
By Josh Wilkinson
Trusting an outdated WMS to run your supply chain is costing you thousands.
Advances in cloud platforms, integration, and accuracy have made the Warehouse Management System an integral part of running your business. No longer are they simply for on-the floor workers and mid-level managers to use in the warehouse. A WMS is now a powerful analytical system used in the boardroom to forecast demand, financials, and problems in the supply chain.
All traditional warehouse management systems do more or less the same thing (track inventory), but the new technology deployed in cloud-based systems will transform supply chain data into meaningful analytics and KPIs. That’s why Gartner, the global leader in technology research, says the technical architecture of a WMS should be the single most important feature impacting your evaluation of a system.
If your current WMS has any of the following three issues, it’s time to start considering a replacement:
1. Your WMS Cannot Keep Up with the Business Needs of Today
How future-proof is your WMS? Was it built to suit your needs ten years ago or to suit the needs of your bustling warehouse today? Older warehouse management systems are not flexible enough keep up with the demands that the 24x7 supply chain places on them. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your WMS able to meet the ever-growing demands of your customers?
Your customers are evolving and are always going to want the most from you. From compliance issues to real-time reporting to immediate visibility to financial tracking, an old WMS does not have the transparency, scalability, and flexibility to offer your customers the type of service they will expect.
- Is upgrading your current WMS expensive or impossible?
If your old WMS is riddled with custom coding, the chances of it being upgraded easily are pretty slim. Inflexible coding can mean months of development and huge risk on whether or not the “upgraded” WMS will even work correctly when pushed live. A new WMS will work for your business right out of the box, can be customized for your operations, and can be upgraded without you even knowing. No costly errors or delays, just the key upgrades you need to run your supply chain better.
- Is your WMS able to adapt to the ever-growing demands of security and compliance?
Warehouses often have the legal obligation to remain compliant to industry regulations. Being able to meet all the demands of the government and your customers, from custom labeling to market-specific needs, will remove the risk of facing huge fines and penalties for security and compliance failings.
- Is your WMS able to efficiently and effectively handle the demands of your growth?
Evolving business rules or increasing the number of transactions every second that go into your WMS could have a huge impact on it. There isn’t much an old WMS can do to improve when it can’t process all the barcodes you’re scanning within your RF network. Long response times due to increasing demands you’re putting on the system could mean significant delays.
2. Your WMS Cannot Communicate with your Other Applications
It’s an old cliché, but every successful relationship is built upon the foundation of great communication. Your warehouse management system’s relationship with your supply chain is no different. If your WMS can’t communicate with the rest of the applications your operation utilizes, then it’s not holding up its end of the relationship.
Every application your business utilizes should be able to share data. If your WMS can’t sync up with your ERP, order management, accounting, or partner systems, you’re needlessly shooting yourself in the foot.
If you haven’t purchased a WMS in the last few years, you may be in for a bit of a shock. A cloud-based WMS with powerful integration tools comes with pre-built connectors that seamlessly interface with applications like Oracle or QuickBooks. If it took 6 months and you paid the GDP of a small nation to set up integration with your current WMS, it might be time to get a new WMS.
3. Your WMS Requires a Master’s Degree to Use it
More than just having amazing underlying technology to power your WMS, the system needs to be easy for you and (more importantly) your employees to use. Intuitive navigation, custom dashboards, and an overall streamlining of functionality has transformed the tedious to an amazingly simplified user experience. A new cloud-based WMS is much easier to learn, much easier to use, and is guaranteed to make your staff happier and more productive.
Time is money. An intuitive warehouse management system that reduces complex processes to a series of clicks will save your organization countless hours over the course of a year.
Invest in Your Future
Now is not the time to hesitate. You’re missing out on a great way to stay ahead of the competition if you’re still putting up with a subpar WMS. The future of your business is at stake, and switching to a new WMS is a great way to invest in your future.