- Solutions Overview
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Like any big change in a business, switching warehouse software doesn’t happen overnight. First, the warehouse manager needs to recognize that there are things in the warehouse that a new WMS can fix. Next, they’ll need to analyze their current data and crunch the numbers to convince the CFO that the investment is worth it.
But before the “powers that be” sign off on the deal and allocate the budget, there are a few more questions they’ll want answered: How will switching warehouse software impact operations? Will we need to stop work? What if the new system doesn’t work?
The goal is to implement the new WMS with as little disruption as possible, minimal errors, and little work stoppage (or better yet, none at all). They’ll also hope for buy-in from the staff.
While no one can predict every bump in the road, there are several strategies that can help the team prepare and make the transition less painful. The following 15 tips will set the warehouse up for success as it gets ready for the switch.
There are a lot of WMS products out there and it’s easy to be star-struck by a WMS with a lot of bells and whistles that the company might not need. Or, budget-conscious buyers might choose something cheap that doesn’t solve all their problems. Switching warehouse software starts with a thorough search for the WMS that offers the best value. But remember that value is much more than cost. The right product should align with the business’s needs by offering the right set of features and the ability to scale.
The software itself is just part of the package. The reliability of the provider will play a big role in how smooth—or not—the transition goes. Check reviews and references. A service record for dependable, timely assistance is crucial in resolving issues that may arise during the transition. Infoplus offers robust customer support, with a top-notch implementation team as well as staff providing ongoing support to assist before, during, and after adding Infoplus WMS.
The more organized a team is when undertaking a software change, the less painful it will be. Create a detailed blueprint for the switch that outlines the entire transition. Consider and incorporate action items and timelines for each of the tips listed in this article. A basic checklist might include:
There will likely be several additional steps within each of these broad categories. Assign responsibilities for each step in the process, and make sure everyone is onboard and clear about their roles.
While responsibilities may be given to many members of the staff, there should also be a dedicated project manager (or small management team) to oversee the transition. The PM can coordinate tasks, manage timelines, and ensure that the project stays on track. This person can also act as the spokesperson and liaison between the staff and the C-suite.
Switching warehouse software can be a source of stress and annoyance for workers as they continue to try to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. Some will be annoyed by the disruption; or, they might simply resent having to learn something new. Many might not understand the need for change in the first place.
Managers need to communicate the reasons for the switch and how the new system will benefit employees' day-to-day work. By addressing concerns and answering questions early on, they can manage expectations throughout the process. This will make the transition smoother for everyone.
Implementing a new WMS does not have to mean a wholesale switch. For some warehouses, a gradual approach will make more sense than a big bang. Implementing the new WMS in stages allows you to identify and iron out issues one at a time rather than all at once, thereby minimizing disruption.
There could be scenarios that slow down the software transition or force a company to pivot or even postpone their plans. Consider potential roadblocks and have a contingency plan in place in case things don’t go as smoothly as expected. This could involve having backup processes or even reverting temporarily to the old system if critical issues arise.
Clean and organize existing data before migrating to the new WMS. This should happen for inventory data, customer information, supplier details, and historical transactions. If current data includes former customers, past suppliers, and products that are no longer sold, this is a good time to archive or purge the information. There is no sense in keeping outdated, obsolete, or incorrect information, let alone transferring it to a new warehouse management system.
Once data is cleaned up and verified as accurate, back it up. The backup should ideally happen immediately before starting migration so it is as up-to-date as possible. This is a crucial step in case there are any unforeseen issues with the data transfer and implementation.
Plan carefully for the data migration and schedule and detail each step in your master plan. Verify that the new system can handle existing data formats. When all systems are “go,” make sure data is clean and current as mentioned above. And don’t forget the crucial step of backing up!
While off-the-shelf solutions can be quick to implement, switching warehouse software to Infoplus offers a superior level of customization. Our implementation team can help ensure that the new system fits your unique workflows and requirements.
And the tweaking doesn’t stop once the system is up and running. As your business changes and grows, Infoplus can adapt along with it, providing a continuously evolving customized WMS solution.
Warehouses that connect via ERP systems or e-commerce platforms with other software will need a WMS that integrates seamlessly. Transferring those connections from the old to the new system will need to be part of the implementation plan. Looking into what may be required ahead of time can help ensure business continuity during the switch.
Make sure to prioritize training for employees on how to use the new system effectively. Understand that there could be a steep learning curve, allow plenty of time for classes, and provide comprehensive learning materials and resources. Start workshops as early in the process as possible, following up with hands-on training once the new software is up and running.
Before fully adopting the new WMS, run parallel tests by using both the old and new systems simultaneously. This helps identify discrepancies and ensures the new system performs as expected. This trial run can produce a list of adjustments to make before turning off the old system for good.
After switching warehouse software, conduct a thorough review to verify that everything is running smoothly. Analyze data to identify and measure areas of improvement. Gather feedback from users and make any necessary adjustments to optimize the system’s performance.
Continue to monitor the new system's performance. There could be a need for additional customization and tweaking. Tracking key metrics will show how the warehouse’s efficiency compares to operations prior to the software transition. Ongoing data analysis will help managers assess progress, as well as demonstrate to the C-suite the return on investment for the new WMS.
Switching your WMS is a significant undertaking, but it doesn’t need to be painful. With some thoughtful planning and communication, the transition can happen with minimal disruption to operations.
Infoplus has a team of professionals to guide you through implementation and beyond. We’re here not only to make the experience a smooth one but to make it the best decision you’ve ever made.
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