HOW CAN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A WMS BEST BE PREPARED?

Published on 30 October 2019

test2_generix_wms
laurent-cochet
Cochet
Laurent
Senior Principal Consultant
Categories

A WMS is a solution with major challenges for supply chain players, since it allows for optimization of resources and logistics processes in a warehouse. This is why the implementation of a WMS should not be taken lightly. It represents a veritable transformation for companies and requires analysis necessary for a project’s success. What are the prerequisites, methodology, and steps to take into account when implementing a WMS? We have the answers in 10 questions with Laurent Cochet.

#1 What are the impacts of implementing a WMS in a warehouse?  

They are multiple and are present at multiple levels of a company:

 

  1. business line functions must adapt to a new management of orders and invoicing  

  2. some preparation operations, packaging, and shipments performed quickly will affect the sizing of work and equipment needs 

  3. as regards information systems, plan for data synchronization, particularly with the ERP 

  4. operational processes must integrate the fact that it is no longer possible to work outside of the system after it has been implemented 

  5. a new distribution of tasks (administrative and operational) must be thought of, and this requires training of the necessary personnel.

 

It is a veritable transformation for the organization. It must be subject to a deep evaluation in order to be done rigorously according to a full-fledge action plan that surpasses the WMS framework. It is indeed thanks to this preliminary work that the WMS implementation project can become a true development driver for the company.

 

#2 What goals are there for the work prior to implementation? 

Preparatory work done before implementation of a WMS aims to:  

 

  1. plan out tasks pragmatically 

  2. identify difficulties upstream in order to respond to them as quickly as possible 

  3. secure project completion, particularly with regards to budget and delays 

  4. optimize added value and return on investment for the software. 

 

#3 What benefits are expected from an operational standpoint? 

A prior study carried out rigorously offers a structured vision of software deployment for the tool, to include project chunking into phases and the establishment of a clear, prioritized plan of the actions to implement during the project. Lastly, if offers an opportunity to propose organizational improvement and work on operational warehouse efficiency. 

 

#4 What methodology to adopt? What steps must be respected? 

For Generix Group projects, split the process into four steps: 

 

  1. Understanding of a company business model on the basis of an analysis of the request and its forecast. Activity peaks and volumes, order typology, historical data study, etc.

  2. Operation audit and site organization. Operational audit (daily challenges and future requirements, performance improvement) and information system structure (data governance, interfaces, etc.).  

  3. Project analysis and optimized phasing for deployment operations. 

  4. Deliverable completion including our recommendations. 

 

Expert advice 

A prior study of the project involves changing the way things work to improve performance. It is important to question the processes upstream of deployment. Goal: avoid reproducing non-performing processes that require redoing the functioning of the system after several months.  

 

#5 Why and how to analyze requests and flow forecasts? 

Before implementing a WMS for laying operations, ensure proper operational area sizing in the long run. In this case, it is necessary to question various strategic indicators: 

 

  1. Product flows. What needs exist relating to order storage and preparation? 

  2. The choice of packaging units. Trucks, pallets, boxes, etc. 

  3. Seasonality. What cycles and activity peaks should be taken into account in order to increase rapidity and manage priorities? 

  4. Rotation. What is the frequency of renewal for materials in stock (slow and fast movers)? 

 

Expert advice  

Take advantage of this preliminary phase to cleanse data before implementing a WMS. Copying the existing data into the software to question it would be a wasted optimization opportunity. 

 

#6 How does operational audit work? 

Study of the physical logistics site organization is completed in 3 steps:  

 

  1. A questionnaire is transmitted to operators to prepare the visit to the site. This involves identifying key resources in the warehouse and improvement opportunities. It is also an opportunity to collect the point of view of employees and learn about challenges to take up daily. 

  2. The site is then subject to a detailed visit which aims to detail operational processes and detect any deviations. Real-time operational monitoring also allows for identification of difficulties and entry of the way that exceptions are handled. Computer infrastructure and Wi-Fi coverage are also audited during the visit.

  3. A handling and work area equipment review is finally performed in order to examine the ability of laying areas and product coding. The project team also verifies that pallet drivers and unitary pickings are sufficient and adapted to requirement evolution. This work enables production of a warehouse area diagram and an automation plan where necessary.  

 

 #7 What is the mapping of an information system? 

The mapping of an information system (IS) offers a precise view of its structure. That means capturing the existing system (ERP, EDI, Excel files, etc.) and understanding the nature of data processed in the ERP. Interfaces with internal or external systems are also taken into account. It is during this phase that the material referencing campaign begins with logistics data. 

 

Expert advice 

The processing of a product repository represents major work when implementing a WMS. The client makes a choice to invest in the WMS to draw up a list of sold products and “cleanse” the material database.  

 

#8 What deliverables were transmitted? How can the action plan be articulated? 

Conclusions drawn from the prior analysis are formalized in deliverables transmitted to the client. This preliminary work is fundamental for the following operations necessary for WMS implementation and enables prioritization of actions to perform for the purposes of this project. 

Upstream of the completion of any Generix Group project related to summary that includes recommendations, a schematic mapping of the IS and information flows as well as an action plan structured with a macro-planning.

 

#9 Who can call for implementation of a WMS? 

This transformation is particularly relevant in 2 scenarios:  

 

  1. for companies that lack a client order integration system and tackle operation management manually or by means of simple Excel tables 

  2. for companies with a small ERP completed by an extension providing them with several WMS features, but limited compared with an actual warehouse management software system.  

 

#10 What assistance is offered by Generix Group? At what stages does it step in? 

When the choice to implement a WMS has been made, it is important for the company to review internal organization and to train involved employees. Change assistance is also strategic when managing the fears induced by such transformations sometimes seen as an automation or a mechanization. Generix Group assists clients who are making a choice about the WMS implementation process.