IDII - WMS Implementation Tips

A List of WMS Implementation Tips

Software installations produce pain, labor, and sweat. Only 40% of them result in satisfied customers. Therefore it is imperative that we continue to strive for excellency, in order to raise this satisfaction rate higher and higher. In order to do this, we must both 'watch out' for road hazards and install safety equipment to insure a success. The following tips & techniques are from the author's experience and published articles that have dealt with testing-installing-and-go-live of a system.

Communicate Expectations! Every software project should have a vision with expectations that are realistic and have been communicated clearly over and over again. The company must write these expectations in writing prior to the selection of the software solution. When installation is completed, the company can measure realized benefits based on these quantifiable expectations. These expectations should not shift and 'project creep' should be avoided totally. By over communicating realistic, written goals it will increase the satisfaction rating, as vendors, 3rd parties, and your own staff has a clear understanding of the goals.

12 Essential Elements for a Successful WMS Installation
- Author: Tom SInger of Tompkins Associates - Competitive Edge - Vol 6, Issue 3, Page 13-14
  1. Design for Operational Improvement
  2. Manage Risks
  3. Manage Communication & Expectations
  4. Control the Project Plan
  5. Prepare to Deal with Adversity
  6. Pay Attention to Facilities Preparation
  7. Build a Knowledge Base and Take Ownership
  8. Commit to Training
  9. Understand the Value of Testing
  10. Plan for Exceptions
  11. Document Procedures & Customizations
  12. Take Control of Go-Live

Pitfalls to Avoid When Integrating a Warehouse Management System
- Source: Managing Automation
  • Establishing an unrealistic implementation schedule.
  • Buying a low-end system and expecting high-end results.
  • Failing to track vendor progress.
  • Failing to develop a contingency plan.
  • Overselling the system to users.
  • Lack of system integration training.
  • Providing the software vendor with faulty, incomplete, or out-of-date data.
  • Thinking a newly integrated WMS will eliminate all inefficiencies within the operation.
  • Blaming the WMS provider for glitches that occur during the software's initial launch.
  • Failing to audit the results to see if the system is working as efficiently as possible.
"Warehouse Systems and the Supply Chain: A Survey of Success Factor" by Andersen Consulting and WERC.
  1. Utilization of outside consultants doubles the chances for a very successful outcome.
  2. Identifying, tracking, and testing for the promised benefits during and after the implementation are the only way to ensure that they are delivered.
  3. Executive management commitment and involvement has a significant impact on the success of the WMS installation.

Interesting Observation - ALL Large Software Projects - SAME Satisfaction Issue

Satisfaction rate on large software installations is low. According to WERC, the highly satisfied customers are only one in five. What can we do to bring the satisfaction rate up? Ponder the above points very seriously, as all types of large software projects face the same difficulties, whether WMS, ERP, TMS, EDI, or APS software installations.

Executive Management Commitment.

The number one item that IDII verifies at the beginning of each consulting assignment is "Executive Management Commitment". If the client's company does not have that one item - ( IDII requires it ) - We will warn the client's management about the strong possibility of project failure!


In conclusion, these above points increase satisfaction by controlling & managing expectations of all types, for involvement by all parties, and proper measurements. If you are a software vendor, project manager, or key person in the project - it is imperative to perceive, to understand, and to do these tips! Our on-going goal is "customer satisfaction". This list breaks it down into steps of how to achieve higher customer satisfaction ratings.

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 - which are available from IDII.

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