IDII - WMS Software Selection

Selecting a Warehouse Management System

Expounding the Selection Process Steps & Useful Tips

Summary: Large software projects need tedious attention. Follow the rules for software evaluation and do your due diligence thoroughly. You can short cut the process and waste months & significant money. Our software selection process maximizes functionality in the RFI/RFP scoring process and minimizes expenses in travel & personnel time. Therefore, steps 1 and 2 are very critical.

Step By Step Process Explained

  1. LEARN

    Understand WMS differences and common missing functions. Use the book "Selecting Warehouse Software from WMS and ERP Providers"! Tap into consultants as needed.

  2. BUILD RFI or RFP

    Based on WMS knowledge and company practices, build a well thought out RFI and send it to all applicable WMS vendors. One may leverage IDII Advance WMS RFI or consultants to expedite this step.


  3. GATHER RESULTS

    Enter RFI results into scorecard spreadsheet. Challenge vendors on unusual responses to make fair "apples to apples" comparison. Now have a valuable (1) functionality comparison and (2) and cost comparison.


  4. DETERMINE FINALISTS

    Eliminate all WMS solutions that do NOT have "must have" functionality.


    Others may be eliminated on company specific requirements. Call finalists for on-site demonstrations

  5. DEMO'S & SITE VISITS

    Arrange demonstration of WMS solution with your products. Indicate important areas that must be demonstrated. AFTER demonstration, go to 2 or 3 warehouses that are using the WMS. Insist on warehouses that are similar in operation, volumes, and size to your operation.


    Major costs incurred in this step for travel, expenses, and time spent

  6. RECALCULATE FINAL COSTS

    Make sure all computer hardware, software, maintenance fees, support, installation, and other costs are updated in the cost comparison.


    Have vendors redo cost proposals if necessary.

    Discuss with team who is #1 and #2 WMS choices. Make written offer to #1. Fall back to #2 choice if necessary.


  7. SIGN CONTRACTS - START INSTALLATION PROCESS

    With all large computer installations, it takes dedicated staff and a key individual to drive it to successful implementation.


    It is a wise idea to do a pilot project, so that the expected and agreed upon procedures can be modeled & changed repetitively before "going live" with the full warehouse.

Tips: WMS Software Will Work Best If You Have:

  • Full commitment from upper management on the WMS Project.
  • A separate computer server to run the WMS software.
  • A warehouse site survey by Radio Frequency (RF) Vendor of choice
  • Cubed and weighed all products for proper "bin locator" operation.
  • Bar-coded every bin and/or product for verification of product movement.
  • Openness to recommendations made by software vendors & consultants.
  • The involvement & commitment of key warehouse & IS people.
  • A technical computer weirdo type that knows WMS …. a "sharp shooter!"
  • Test, test, and test before going live.

by Philip Obal, Industrial Data & Information Inc.

This white paper is based upon information from the author's book "Selecting Warehouse Software from WMS and ERP Providers". The Advanced WMS RFI with ScoreCard contains vital items needed for a diligent software selection project.

About the Author

Philip Obal is President of Industrial Data & Information Inc, a research-consulting firm that assists companies in searching, evaluating, and implementing software for their business. He has designed software for over 25 years and is author of multiple publications.




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