I work with quite a variety of businesses that all use Acumatica Distribution in their own unique way. This is the first in a series of blog posts showcasing numerous technology needs of companies I’ve worked with that are manufacturing, assembling, or distributing products.
Part 1: WMS – Which Management System & Where to Begin?
Whether you have plans to make dramatic improvements to your warehouse operations or you are tired of costly inventory inaccuracies, there are a few things to consider in your search for the right Warehouse Management Solution (WMS):
Does the solution you are considering have an existing integration with your ERP solution? If not, does it have integration options available that will add costs to the initial integration? Also, does the WMS rely on the database of your current ERP solution or does it have its own database?
WMS solutions come with several licensing optionsm. Be sure you know what license options are available so you can choose what will work best for your needs:
- SaaS (Software as a Service) – Most are familiar with this licensing model that bundles software and hosting services. The fees are generally billed yearly but others have more frequent billing cycles.
- Leasing – With a leasing option, you still pay for the software yearly but you can host the software on your own servers or in the Cloud. If you are choosing your own Cloud Solution provider, make sure they understand the system requirements for your solution and find out if you will allow direct database access.
- Perpetual – This is the most traditional license model where you purchase the software and then pay yearly maintenance fees to receive new feature release packs and major version upgrades.
You will also want to understand if the solution you are considering requires any ancillary software for reporting, printing, or “middleware” for integrating with your ERP. Some Cloud solutions require that software is installed locally, on your server. It’s not a deal breaker, but at least something that you should understand.
Discovery & Implementation Options
It is important to clearly define the improvements that you need in order to receive a return on investment from your WMS purchase. Understand that a new solution will and should mean a significant change in your current process. This change will be extremely beneficial and profitable but it will be a change. There are no quick fixes. So please make sure that you and your team are prepared to feel the pain of change before reaping the rewards of a WMS solution.
You also want to make sure that you are working with a good partner. A good partner can help navigate you through the discovery and implementation process. Sometimes, people think they must make a major change with a one phase project. But the better approach with any large project is to start with a system and implementation plan that will allow you to make meaningful, incremental changes. It’s not all or nothing, but I am sure you knew that already. This is just a reminder.
Future Growth, Development Life-Cycle & Customizations:
- Where do you want your business to be in 5 or 10 Years from now?
- What capabilities do you anticipate needing to support that growth?
When choosing a WMS system be sure to understand what the software company’s plans are for future releases of their products. In addition, make sure you understand their policy on customizations. Is their solution customizable by you, the end user, or do they provide customization services, and how are your customizations handled when you upgrade to a future release of the product?
And lastly… Hardware: If you already own hand-held scanners, will this solution work with those scanners? Find out the hardware that was tested with the WMS by the software vendor. More solutions today also work with Apple or Android devices. Be sure to know your options.
Join me next week when we explore what to look for in WMS functionality including, license plating, inventory transfers and sales order.
If you have any questions contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.