Warehouse Management System (WMS) Selection

Warehouse management system (WMS) selection might seem a simple process but in reality there are many pitfalls.

· If a business system is already installed it is natural (and correct) to look at its warehousing module. But it should never be assumed that it will be sufficient until it has been subjected to the same analysis and selection process as would be applied to the selection of an independent system. The fact is that many so-called ‘warehouse management’ modules of business systems are little more than stock and location recording systems and unable to support radio data terminals (RDTs) and real time control of movements. There also has to be a question over how well the supplier will be able to meet changed requirements in the future.

· Another approach is to visit an exhibition, use directories or trawl the web but with a wide range of suppliers to choose from it is very difficult to select the ones that are most appropriate for your business. The problem with a random selection such as this is that virtually all suppliers will say they can meet the requirements and some will endeavour to influence the selection process in their favour.

Both approaches can lead to the wrong choice and if this occurs you will be paying the price for it for many years in the form of increased overheads and potentially inferior control and customer service. Critical to a correct approach is to define the requirements first and then to follow a thorough selection process.

Ted Maley Logistics specialises in helping companies through these stages and has deep knowledge of the capabilities of modern WMSs accumulated over 13 years in the business. Contact is maintained with over 30 dedicated WMS suppliers from the largest to the smallest and their relative strengths and weaknesses are known. It is therefore possible to ensure that only the most appropriate suppliers to your needs are selected for short-listing. This not only saves you time but provides you with an insurance against selection of the wrong system.

Stages to be followed would typically include:

1 Warehouse Processes Review Existing operation and new design and processes
2 Outline definition of User Requirements From the processes review, develop a statement of requirements
3 Issue RFI Develop User Requirements into an RFI in which the emphasis will be on elements that are specific to your business rather than ‘standard’ capabilities. Issue to a ‘long list’ of potential suppliers
4 Initial supplier selection Scoring of responses, telephone etc. discussions
5 Initial recommendations Provide budget recommendation and shortlist suppliers
6 Decision to proceed
7 Review and extend definition of User Requirements Include beneficial elements from initial supplier responses and add sections, e.g. IT considerations, that may not have been covered in the initial RFI.
8 Issue ITT Develop from above and issue to short-listed suppliers. Briefing session with each supplier
9 Final supplier selection Presentations using your data and scenarios, visit reference sites, review and score responses from the ITT and observations from the presentations and reference visits
10 Present recommendation Selection Team presentation to Steering Group
11 Board approval Assist with Board presentation (if required)
12 Assist with contract negotiation (if required)
13 On-going processes Supplier management and internal co-ordination

We are able to tailor of range of offerings to meet your specific needs.

Call or email us to see if we can help you.