Before anything else, it is important to realize that the decision to implement a Warehouse Management System (WMS) is highly strategic for your business. That means you have to consider the investment, the timing, the readiness of your organization and the impact on other systems you are already using. In short, it is not a decision to be taken lightly.
MOVING FORWARD: THE RIGHT WMS
Many financial systems and ERP solutions provide basic warehousing features in addition to their core functionality. Clearly, you have identified missing features and functionality that will make a WMS a worthy investment. It makes sense to really focus on your internal processes related to the warehouse and think through every detail of the desired capabilities that need to be put in place. Match those desires and requirements with the WMS solutions out there and you’d be well on your way to identifying a shortlist, if not landing on the solution of your choice immediately.
This would lead to inviting the WMS solution supplier for a conversation and that’s where the BizBloqs team trumps the competition. A genuine expert arrives on site and just starts sharing knowledge, insights, and tips. It is almost as if the deal doesn’t matter because the desire to help and share all those years of experience and expertise is completely genuine. The great thing is that clients can tell; they recognize that immense passion for what we do. It becomes the vehicle that drives the deal home effortlessly after. That, and of course a reasonably priced cloud-based solution that can be configured to achieve what the client truly needs.
DECISION MADE: PREPARING FOR IMPLEMENTATION
By deciding to go with BizBloqs’ cloud-based WMS solution, the strategic budget decision usually becomes an operational one. This removes a major hurdle, but there is still the massive strategic impact of process digitization to be considered. From this point on though, there are experts at the fingertips who can guide the various steps prior to and during implementation. It’s highly recommended to work closely together moving forward. Starting with organizational readiness, detailed mapping of all relevant processes, analysis of the existing systems and how they will be integrated with the WMS and, not to be forgotten, the consideration of the latest technologies in logistics that might give the company a competitive edge. Being a holistic part of the preparations allows the BizBloqs expert to be a solid guide on timing, setting measurable objectives, and the primary training of all related staff. Also, it helps a lot to safeguard the critical pre-launch testing phase. Unfortunately, this is often rushed or neglected and that leads to real-life issues after the WMS is already part of the operation. Additionally, it helps significantly in the preparation of the precise scope of the project.
MOMENT OF TRUTH: THE ACTUAL IMPLEMENTATION
After an intense period of planning under the guidance of BizBloqs experts, involving all the key people of your own organization, the moment for kick-off has come. At this point, you really should put your faith in the hands of the experienced project manager that is provided and get the organization buy-in to be at maximum focus and involvement. An intense implementation period with everyone targeting the successful test and launch is now the only obstacle to truly transform your organization to a next level.
BizBloqs has its own unique approach to the implementation phase:
- The Scope Meeting & Master Data
Instructions and the required templates for master data precede the scope meeting, including instructions for 3rd party software solutions (ERP, web shops e.g.). After the scope meeting, the detailed scope is documented and shared for approval. This reflects the minimal viable product for the first phase and can also refer to identified adjustments or additions that will follow in later phases. This phase is completed when the client signs the scope document. By helping clients go live with minimal customizations, the first phase is highly efficient. Of course it will always be possible to implement new features or to tweak customizations at a later stage, in mutual agreement on timing etc.
- Setup of Standard System
Once all master data is received, the BizBloqs team will set up a standard system with this data. The standard links to 3rd party software solutions are connected as well, assuming that these systems are mainstream enough to be part of the wide range of solutions BizBloqs can connect to out of the box.
- System Test Phase
The standard system with the provided data and connections still runs completely on a test system at this point. After sufficient testing, it is time to clean up the system to prepare for the go-live moment. Also, a secondary system will be set up as a copy of this go-live configuration, so further testing can be done at any time without impacting the business. Scanners, printers and warehouse processes are all part of the elaborate testing and will be carefully explained. Manuals and instruction videos are provided to further train your organization. On-site training will also be provided. Desired adjustments and added features are discussed at this point and referenced to the scope document.The scope document also refers to a go-live date, but this is subject to sufficient testing and hands-on experience by your organization. For the sake of the customer’s success and our ability to properly support the customer, the actual go-live date will always be based on the fullest confidence that the client will be a comfortable and well-trained user of the WMS.
- Delivery of customer-specific elements in iterative steps
The minimal viable configuration is a combination of the basic system as recommended by BizBloqs and the customer-specific elements that have been identified as critical for the go-live environment in the scope document. These elements are introduced and tested in iterative steps, so you move closer to your launch with each completed step.
- Go-Live with Minimal Viable Configuration
Your organization can now start using the system to serve your customers. The configuration is able to handle all the critical scenarios agreed upon in the scope document.
- Agile Customization Phase
Everything from feature activation to the integration of high-tech hardware for logistic processes can now be added in an Agile fashion. Every addition will be implemented, thoroughly tested and launched as part of a sprint, before moving on to the next. It is at this point in the project, where also the Business Intelligence insights can be configured to fully grasp what the data tells you. Depending on the customer needs, this effort can be split into multiple phases as well.
- Continuous Improvement and Expansion
Once the initial project implementation is complete, there is no hard cut-off for developing your system. It is always possible to add new functions, features or to administer an optimization based on progressive insight e.g. The joint effort to have the best possible system in place for your needs is constant, if so desired.
Right after the go-live is by far the best time to implement the desired features, also those that may only become most relevant in a near future. It is a rare opportunity to make full use of the organization’s focus under professional guidance to set yourself up for success. It is possible at any time to get the full attention of the BizBloqs team again, but it is a lot harder to get your own organization fully focused once again on the logistic requirements.
This is also the time to understand your range of products and inventory, or perhaps your assembly or simple manufacturing processes, in perspective of the optimal functioning of your business. Setting up the real-time insights you get instantly from your WMS is as important as setting up the processes if you are to make all the right business decisions.
MATTER OF FACT: WMS IN ACTION
So how do you know if all has gone well? Even if the initial deployment is fairly basic, the benefits of a well-implemented WMS should be immediately obvious. Other than the configurations that make it fit your organization, the optional added features and Business Intelligence capabilities can take the benefits to a whole new level. Your deep insight regarding inventory is highly accurate, human errors are drastically reduced, and all fulfillment-related activities run smoothly, and do not need manual corrections… In conclusion, whatever frustrations and time-consuming manual activities made you decide to deploy the WMS in the first place should be a thing of the past.
You have passed a major milestone in terms of professionalizing your organization and preparing for rapid growth. Now is not the time to rest on your laurels though. Your continued success depends on the further training and comfort of your staff with the WMS solution as well as your ability to identify other features that will give you a competitive edge in the future. Enjoy the benefits, but stay sharp to get the most out of your solution and newly-established relationship with industry experts. The next Agile expansion of your WMS may be just around the corner already!
At BizBloqs we are excited to see what you make of your journey and we are ready to help make it a great success!