Blog April 5, 2024

Mastering Warehouse Go-Live: Ensuring a Successful Warehouse Management System (WMS) Launch

Angelika Sabourin

August 2nd | 4 min read

Preparing for a Successful Warehouse Management System (WMS) Go-Live: Key Considerations for Smooth Operations

The Warehouse Management System (WMS) go-live is a vital transition phase that empowers businesses to streamline their warehouse operations using a newly implemented system. However, a successful implementation requires diligent planning and addressing potential challenges. This article outlines practical tips and recommendations to guarantee a seamless and triumphant WMS go-live.

Vital Tips for a Flourishing Warehouse Management System Go-Live:

  1. Embrace risk and establish a mitigation plan

    Fully preparing for all possible risks is impractical, so it’s crucial to identify potential challenges and formulate a plan to address them effectively.

  1. Trust the expertise of experienced consultants

    Bear in mind that go-live events are comparatively rare for your team, but consultants handle several go-lives each year. Depend on their knowledge and insights to navigate you through the transition period.

  1. Allocate additional resources

    Supply extra support to areas within your control to manage the increased workload during the go-live process.

  1. Choose the right timing

    Refrain from initiating the WMS during peak periods or on high-demand weekdays to reduce disruptions to regular operations.

  1. Proactively handle order reception and fulfillment

    Implement proactive measures to ensure a smooth order flow during the go-live phase, minimizing potential delays and customer dissatisfaction.

  1. Prepare and test equipment

    Confirm that all equipment including scanners, printers, and handheld devices, are in working order well before the go-live date and run tests when necessary.

  1. Ensure Accurate Inventory Counts

    Dedicate additional labor for strategically counting warehouse sections leading up to the go-live to guarantee inventory accuracy.

  1. Replenish Primary Locations

    Prevent a backlog of replenishment tasks in your health warehouse, by replenishing primary locations in advance of the go-live.

  1. Consider Extending Shifts or Adding a New Shift

    Manage increased workloads by extending shifts or adding a new shift, if feasible, for a week. Ensure adequate training for the additional workforce.

  1. Notify Key Stakeholders

    Provide up-to-date information to key stakeholders about the upcoming WMS launch, as it may impact on-time deliveries or require adjustments to existing supply chain processes.

  1. Avoid Introducing Operational Changes Simultaneously

    Focus on WMS implementation first to minimize confusion and disruptions in your warehousing operations. Implement other operational changes after the new system has been established.

  1. Prioritize Change Management

    Provide training and address concerns well in advance to ensure a smooth transition for your warehouse team during the WMS go-live.

  1. Set Realistic WMS Go-Live KPIs

    Set achievable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to avoid unrealistic expectations. Aim for gradual improvements, instead of expecting 100% order fulfillment immediately.

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses need flexible, efficient warehouse operations to meet consumer demands. A Warehouse Management System (WMS) can significantly improve an organization’s warehousing processes. However, mitigating common WMS-related challenges is crucial to ensure smooth implementation and optimized performance. Here are mitigation plans for three common challenges in warehouse operations and supply chain management.

Challenge 1: Temporary Two-Hour Server Disruption

Mitigation Plan:

  • Enhance training during server downtime – Use this period to update staff knowledge and ensure they are well-versed with the WMS systems
  • Utilize the time to improve efficiency in the warehouse – Assign tasks like tidying up, opening boxes, and conducting a visual inventory count
  • Optimize lunch break duration within this period – Schedule breaks during downtime to minimize impact on productivity

Challenge 2: Downtime in Another System

Mitigation Plan:

  • Define the maximum acceptable waiting time and implement a contingency plan accordingly – Outline procedures to ensure minimal disruption to warehouse operations
  • Have backup plans (Plan B) for critical paths – Explore alternative methods for automatic assignment or utilizing carrier websites instead of APIs for information requests
  • Ensure redundancy options or 5G coverage to overcome Wi-Fi downtime – Upgrade warehouse connectivity to maintain uninterrupted communication and data transfer

Challenge 3: Inaccuracies in Master Data Information

Mitigation Plan:

  • Rent a cubic scan device and measure items accurately – Utilize advanced technology to gather precise information for your inventory
  • Request the vendor for the most up-to-date item data file – Ensure that your WMS’s master data is always current and accurate
  • Seek assistance from the WMS consultant team to rectify inaccuracies – Trust industry experts to guide your team and implement the best solutions for your health warehouse

A successful WMS go-live requires careful planning, proactive measures, and effective mitigation of potential challenges. By embracing risk, trusting expert consultants, and following the recommendations provided, businesses can ensure a smooth transition and optimize their warehouse operations. Prioritizing preparation and change management contributes to a positive outcome and sets the foundation for long-term success in the warehousing industry.

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