Failure to plan equals planning to fail on WMS implementation
Hindsight is certainly a wonderful thing in business, but having been on the opposite side of the fence - and co-founded and launched two high growth 3PL order fulfillment companies - you need highly flexible software to scale and grow at a rapid and cost effective rate.
For e-commerce D2C start ups especially, the WMS solution is the single most important software investment, so getting it right the first time is crucial. Before SnapFulfil became our differentiator, we were the victims of a legacy system provider that promised all and subsequently failed to deliver.
During project management stage they started quoting rigid professional fees on set up tasks and suddenly wanted to lock us in with an expensive sign up fee. Getting out of the implementation also became a horror show, as it would have taken 7-8 months minimum and we’d have missed the critical Q4 peak season.
The product no longer fit the outlay and the forecasted fees on rule changes alone would have put us out of business before we started!
SnapFulfil literally came to the rescue with a modular, bundled option and 6-week implementation timeline that was on point, plus it followed a highly configurable business rules process with no additional fees and continuous access to all functionality and system updates – for almost instant gain and returns.
So, based on both experiences, here are my top four WMS considerations for retailers and 3PLs looking to quickly expand into fast paced D2C and e-commerce, but requiring maximum operational flexibility to save precious resources, money and allow them to be positioned to meet the ever-changing demands of the industry.
1) Is it flexible and scalable?
Organically built solutions can accommodate all workflows within one software and implementation. Plus, you’re in business to expand, so as operations ramp up make sure the WMS is agile and adaptable enough to grow with you and can handle the unknown. It also needs to be flexible and seamless with any future integrations.
2) Is it easy to use and read?
A well-designed WMS should have a user-friendly interface and dashboard with clear directions, so that new employees can get up to speed quickly, while the real time data it produces should be easy to read, interpret and act upon. IT-heavy systems can also necessitate expensive and unnecessary headcount diversification from other parts of the business.
3) Does it offer speed-to-value?
Leaner cloud-based providers like SnapFulfil can implement at a fraction of the time of so called ‘oil tanker’ WMS suites – in just 45-60 days. This means rapid ROI, while minimal upfront costs and support expenses are built into the license. Additionally, expenses are further restricted down the line because of advanced functionality and configurability.
4) Does it have an established track record?
If the provider is proud of and confident in the system they’re selling, then reviews, live customer testimonials and case studies should be readily available and part of the pitch process. They should also utilize a consultative and solutions-driven approach to the sales cycle, which ensures that expectations are tangibly matched with results and no nasty surprises.
So, successful WMS adoption is all about foresight rather than hindsight – and when evaluating WMS suppliers be sure to double check their rate structure and recurring fees. Understanding how they both impact your own business projections keeps TCO low and manageable.
Don’t be seduced by promises of ‘customization’ either, because in my experience it unnecessarily ties you in and ultimately leads to budget overruns and problematic implementation. Having a cloud-based solution that starts delivering almost immediately is far more cost-effective than one that needs to be tinkered with before it leads to any meaningful results.
If you’re thinking the time is right to implement cloud-based WMS and want to find out more, simply give us a call at 720-372-1250, or send us an email, and we will be happy to discuss improving your fulfillment and digitalization needs.