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Door Isabelle Badoc
on 08 Sep 2016 11:25 AM
  • eLogistics
  • Grande Distribution

Nowadays, most logistic channels span more than one country. Using a standard solution for your warehouse management system (WMS) in each country you operate enables you to maintain control over your logistical processes.

By taking advantage of good inter-geographical practices, a new business process or technology can easily and quickly be deployed to other markets after being tested in one country. This can improve logistical performance for the entire company.

A centralized team is necessary to advise the involved parties in the different countries when they express a need. The objective is to find an existing solution or practice that is already in place in another market instead of creating a new one from scratch.

However, there are three pitfalls to avoid in order to be successful when deploying your WMS at an international level:

Not changing the user language

Do you operate in countries with a different local language from your own? If the answer is yes, your WMS must be available in all the languages in which its users work.

In today’s world where managers often speak English, it can be easy to forget or overlook the fact that not everyone shares this skill. Operational staff that consistently interact with your WMS might not necessarily understand English or any other foreign language. Therefore, the tool’s screens and functions need to be translated into the local language.

Additionally, the software needs to manage data in foreign languages. As some languages such as Arabic, Russian, and Mandarin use different alphabets and characters, the WMS must be able to understand and produce these characters if deployed in countries where these languages are used.

Not incorporating local laws and regulations

Usually linked to taxes, security, or sustainable development norms (such as CO2 emissions), local regulations play a key role in your WMS.

Most countries have adopted the exchange protocol between loaders and tax authorities simplifying the process. Declarations are often done electronically.

Therefore, the WMS must be able to generate the correct data format and initiate the exchange at the right time in order to incorporate the necessary documentation with the shipped merchandise. The same must occur for exchanges with customs and the creation of tax documents for the movement of merchandise that incurs an excise tax.

Furthermore, if you are transporting products that are considered dangerous or hazardous to the environment, it’s essential to adapt your WMS so that it automatically checks and complies with the tolerated levels for loads following international or national laws.

Towards a solution

Implementing these different elements into a standard WMS may seem daunting on your own. The right components have to be attributed to each country. Moreover, laws and regulations and even logistical aspects change. Your WMS needs to adapt to any and all changes that may arise.

A partnership with a solution provider that has experience with a number of clients in different geographical zones is a major advantage. Their expertise can benefit both your company and your customers.

Isabelle Badoc

Expert in Supply Chain, Warehouse Management, Transport Management, e-commerce Logistics …