Posted by Jeffrey B. Graves, Principal on 03.31.14
Despite the importance of WMS, approximately 30 percent of installs fall behind schedule and fail to be ready for operation at go-live. When delayed, WMS installs typically hang-up from three to twelve months before becoming fully operational. By any engineering standard, this statistic is unacceptable. The costs in added time, personnel, underutilized facilities and equipment, and loss of throughput can be sizable.
So, what is it that hangs up the WMS from going live on time? Quite often, it is not the WMS itself causing the hold up, but another software system that is in development and needs to integrate with the WMS. This could be a web portal for inventory visibility, which is behind schedule, but is slowing up the whole implementation and testing of the WMS.
Sometimes it is the integration of the WMS with the company’s host ERP that is causing the trouble. As there are no standard interfaces to ERP systems, customization needs to be programmed and tested, which can easily be underestimated. It may be that the company’s homegrown ERP has been so neglected that the extensive modifications to the ERP system are taking much more time than expected. Or, possibly the company’s legacy ERP is so tethered to the prior WMS, which is now being replaced, that a new ERP has been slated for installation, and the full WMS install is waiting on the ERP.
Interfaces with the WCS for the material handling automation, and the transfer of information back and forth between the PLCs in the equipment and the WMS, have to be seamlessly put together before the material handling equipment can be fully operational.
Dashboards need to be built for management team visibility to display KPIs related to productivity. As well, dashboards are needed for customer service that might be integrating with customers to give them updates on their orders, inventory or shipments.
Many factors need to be carefully thought through and seamlessly integrated when building a new WMS platform.
Our next post will explain the importance of careful planning in WMS implementations. We hope that you will find the insights contained in this series helpful to your business. If there is any way we can be of assistance with your distribution or facility design needs, please feel free to contact us by filling out the form below.