Businesses are constantly evolving for a variety of reasons. This can be due to anything from market trends, economic factors, growth, and other variables. As these factors begin to influence operations, organizations need to adapt in order to manage these variables. Nowhere is this truer when it comes to a business’ warehouse and inventory.
As a business grows and changes though, the systems that they currently have in place may not be optimal for their present or future needs. At times an evaluation of the warehouse management system may be in order, to determine if a new direction should be charted. So, what are some signs that a new WMS may be needed?
Of all the signs that it may be time to think about replacing your WMS, the first one is positive: your business’ growth. Yes, as your business grows and becomes more successful new challenges arise. Greater volume of inventory, more orders, and more complex supply chains can overwhelm your previously manageable situation. The ability to manage this growth is imperative to the continuance of your success. A modern WMS can help deal with this type of high growth. Modern WMS’ can consolidate and simplify processes, manage order fulfilment so that tasks are simplified, as well as eliminate error prone paper processes. Cloud solutions, like Akatia’s WAM warehouse house management system, are especially effective as they are relatively simple to implement and will continue to scale with your business without further development.
As your customer base grows so do external customer demands. Conforming to these can be a particular challenge with a legacy system that has little or no capability to communicate with other systems or provide requisite functionality. For example, to manage certain customers, you may need to adopt new ways of working or processes. If your WMS is unable to manage these processes, those processes inherently become detached. The more detached processes you implement the less seamless they become and the more control you lose. Furthermore, if your WMS requires that you manually input data from another system, to support your new processes, then the chances of errors and unnecessary duplication of information occurs. This leads to a decline in productivity, efficiency, and fulfilment times.
Technology is continuously changing. As time goes by newer and different software is being developed to help businesses become more efficient. The last time you implemented a WMS, on premise solutions may have been standard. If your WMS doesn’t have the capability to let your business plan and pursue improvements, then a re-evaluation may be required. Fortunately, newer systems based on cloud computing may provide a better path forward. If you’re experiencing a situation where your current WMS lacks the ability to expand functionality, integrate with critical systems, or if you find it difficult to update, a more flexible WMS may be the answer.
A related consideration to the technology aspect is that of maintenance costs. When a business implements a WMS, ongoing costs always need to be factored in. These costs can be especially burdensome with legacy and on premise systems. Everything from upkeep so that the system continues to work, troubleshooting, updates, server hosting, data storage, and more can add to ongoing costs. Furthermore, if the company that you purchased your WMS from does not have a development plan or does not support your version anymore this may result in you having to pay large amounts to keep your system going. Today with SaaS there are solutions that have the maintenance portion baked into the cost of the licensing agreement. Akatia’s WAM certainly does. And because there is always a maintenance schedule of the platform WAM runs on, Salesforce, you’re always guaranteed that you have the most up to date version. WMS’ like WAM reduce ongoing cost impact allowing you to focus on your business.
Consolidation is something we talk a lot about in the technology world. Many businesses today work with systems that are decentralized. There’s a lot of effort spent in managing these systems and their data. Your WMS though may be working independently of the other systems. And if it is integrated with other systems the underlying compatibility and maintenance issues certainly present themselves. Most experts though will favour a consolidation of systems, from inventory to accounting, as a wise approach. Why is this? Well by having all your business systems running on one platform you ensure that there is one source of truth for all your data. There is no need for data entry from one system or another. Processes between systems can be integrated to support different departmental needs and roles. And should the need arise for a new software tool the implementation is far easier. As an example, Akatia’s WAM is developed on the Salesforce platform. As well when other business software tools reside on the same platform it is far easier to integrate them, create seamless processes and flows, and use shared data because it all resides in one ecosystem.
If you’re starting to see issues with your current WMS due to rapid growth, external customer requirements, technology, maintenance costs, or a decentralized infrastructure it may be time to consider getting a new WMS. Your business relies on your WMS for continuing operations related to your entire supply chain daily. It makes sense then to have a system in place that will help your business be more efficient, accurate, secure, and productive.
Ultimately there are many reasons why a business may need to change their WMS. The important thing to ask yourself is if your WMS is helping or hindering your business. The answer to that question will tell you all you need to know.
If you’re experiencing challenges with your WMS or are want to improve your inventory management, get in contact with us by clicking the link below. We’d be happy to talk with you!