What does your WMS supplier know about warehouse systems?

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Are you checking a potential WMS supplier on its know-how about warehouse management?

It will be clear that WMS systems are adopted rapidly these days. Logically, because today the warehouse has more impact than ever on the operating result. Stock availability, delivery speed and grip on the logistic processes are crucial aspects when it comes to defeating the competition. A large retailer or 3PL party is looking for the most complete package on the market and an ambitious SME prioritizes the  benefits of a basic but performing package that can operate in the cloud.

We all look extensively at functionalities, possibilities, links and additional modules. But are you looking sufficiently at the company which designs software?

Below are 3 criteria that should be considered when selecting a WMS supplier:

1. Experience with the industry

A production company needs a different WMS than a retailer. And a food wholesaler has a different approach to managing the distribution centre than a forklift importer.

It is recommendable to pay attention to the experience of the supplier in your industry when choosing a WMS. The requirements and wishes can vary considerably per sector. Industry experience not only means that the WMS has been successfully implemented in a similar company as yours, but also that the supplier knows the business and understands what happens on the work floor. Always ask for references and do not hesitate to visit a user.

Last but not least: no industry experience means a risk factor and this point can be downplayed by a supplier. Some suppliers may be skilled enough to get the job done, but would you like to be a pilot project in an ICT implementation?

2. Experience with materials handling systems

What experience does the WMS supplier have with controlling complex materials handling systems? The diversity in available systems on the market is really huge; just think of automatic warehouse cranes, sorting systems, shuttle systems, elevator cabinets and recently we also saw the first robotic applications. Of course, managing these components and systems is only a small part of the tasks of the WMS, but it is remain very if a WMS supplier can also give advice about the 'hardware' used, so you can have an even better return on investment?

3. Experience the logistic processes

This last recommendation is similar to the previous point. Not every supplier will first sit around the table with you to take a look at the entire situation and your overall set of wishes and requirements. After all, a WMS is only a part of a total intralogistics system and in-depth knowledge about the 'other components' automatically leads to a better overall system. Which supplier thinks also about the processes that cannot be automated and how to tackle them? Which automatic and / or manual system can be deployed as an alternative? Who makes sure that you can respond flexibly to new circumstances without the need for substantial (= expensive) adjustments of the software?

A WMS can play a crucial role in increasing the performance of your warehouse. But always make sure that the WMS fits perfectly within your situation. And that same fit applies also for your WMS supplier. Today and tomorrow.

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Costo has helped these companies to improve their logistics.

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