Warehouse Management Software (WMS) can assist companies with robust functionality while giving them a competitive advantage. It is able to make your warehouse more efficient and productive. However, if it is outdated it won’t be able to increase your productivity levels as well your profits. Upgrading your software can be a little complicated and there are challenges that will arise when advancing your WMS.
WMS offers plenty of benefits for warehouse management operations, it is able to provide supply chain visibility and makes supply chain operations more efficient. Using an outdated system could prevent you from enjoying the many benefits that WMS has to offer, but how do you know when it is time to upgrade your current WMS system?
- Why get the WMS upgrade? : Ask yourself why it is necessary to get a WMS upgrade now and whether it can wait. This assists you in compiling reasons for upgrading.
- Are there new functionality features that your WMS version doesn’t have?: Your current WMS system could be so outdated that it might not include new supported processes or vendor compliance requirements.
- What are the complaints about the current WMS?: Your current WMS system should be easy to use, but when it is outdated you might experience issues such as lack of performance, functionality, or compatibility.
- When will your WMS become obsolete?: You need to find out when your third party will deem your WMS software obsolete.
- Will your current WMS be able to meet your executive plans?: If your corporate IT vision includes you making changes in the future then your current WMS system should be able to realize that vision. This means that it should be moving to the cloud, third-party hosting, and virtualization and operating system.
Challenges to anticipate when upgrading your WMS
Choosing to upgrade your WMS system can be a difficult and complicated process, the differences between your outdated version and the new version of the software can be so major that you might feel like you are getting a software implementation. Here are some challenges that might arise when you upgrade your WMS.
It is expensive
WMS systems include a custom code which makes it quite expensive. It might even be more expensive than implementing a new system as it increases your total cost of ownership over budget. The upgrade can also create an even more expensive and troublesome situation.
You could incur so many costs from your vendor for testing, coding, and debugging. All these things are done as they need to follow the previous code and all changes made must still fit the old system’s functionality and your business needs. It also means a lot of re-applying, re-testing, re-implementing, and re-pricing.
All these changes could negatively impact your system’s efficiency and lead to system malfunctions. This affects the service you provide your customers with as you might lose shipments, and you won’t be able to meet customer demands. So not only will you lose revenue due to system downtime during the upgrade process, but you will also acquire a hefty bill from the vendor for the expensive modifications.
It takes time
Upgrading your WMS system takes a lot of time which you might not be able to afford to do. The time you will use to upgrade your system will mean that customer demands are not being met. You won’t be able to perform competitively or efficiently within that period.
In most scenarios, your WMS can only be upgraded can be done by the vendor due to intricate modifying code-based processes. You would need to firstly schedule a time where the modifications can start and it could take a couple of months to fully implement.
You might be promised a quick implementation time by vendors, but this could be far from the truth as delays occur all the time as requirements for the upgrading process might change. They might need to add in more time as more changes might occur that might require the vendor to rework the modifications needed.
Updating your WMS system can have dire consequences for your business. These systems are designed using customs coding and don’t easily handle change. When the upgrading process begins, it opens up threats to the system such as data losses and it could negatively impact business operations as there would need to be system debugging and testing which increases the expected downtime.
All these issues will impact your customers as they might experience more issues and mistakes with orders and many other customer service errors due to the malfunctions during the upgrade process. These issues can end up threatening the reasons why you chose to go through with updates which is to improve business operations and offer better customer service.
Your business needs are constantly evolving and because of that changes must be made in order to meet these needs. Your WMS needs to be able to adapt just as well to the new demands that you will require along the way. This makes system adaptability an important aspect because if it is unable to do so, you would need to develop a more custom code which puts your business at a competitive disadvantage. An inflexible code-based system uses up more capital and resources that could have been used for other business goals.
Level of support
Vendor support is important whether you need to make additional changes to your WMS, you want to implement a new one or upgrade, or you need questions answered, your vendor should be able to assist you. When wanting to upgrade your system most companies might hesitate because they are unsure whether upgrading to the latest version of their vendor’s WMS software will allow them to re-apply previous custom changes that were made as well.
In most instances, re-applying previous custom changes will mean that they receive less support from the staff. The support staff is usually knowledgeable about the most recent version of the software, and not know as much about previous versions.
Choosing to invest in a WMS system can be a great opportunity to increase revenue, profits and efficiency within your supply chain. It is important to ensure that you plan ahead of time and prepare for the challenges that you might experience to ensure that you are ready for any issues that might arise.
Take a look at the 6 Priorities Warehouse Management Software Addresses.