Five Common Mistakes in Implementing a WMS

Bill Tyng, a systems consultant for Cincinnati-based supply chain consultancy Forte, has seen a lot of problems and pitfalls with implementing WMSs. Here are his top five.

Mistake #1: Focusing on the technology, not your operations. Don’t get transfixed on the latest and greatest technology, which is not always the best fit or best value for your needs. Instead, consider how well the technology fits within your operating environment.

Mistake #2: Assembling a project team without concern of their knowledge of the current operations. In addition to software engineers, you need representatives who know the business needs and operational objectives. People directly involved with the day-to-day operations need to be included in the design process.

Mistake #3: Selecting a department other than operations to design and manage the project. The WMS will affect processes such as order management and transportation management, so incorporate the knowledge of operations managers into every area of the project.

Mistake #4: Using a “free form” project management approach. Have a detailed estimate of the total project budget, track the status of expenditures, be accountable for your results, and have regular project meetings and updates with your team and suppliers.

Mistake #5: Not having a project sponsor in upper management. WMS projects are complex and difficult to manage, so they require a project sponsor. You need a sponsor who will be accountable when the implementation date approaches.