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An increasing number of warehouses these days are turning to the wide swath of warehouse management systems (WMS), specialized computer programs and apps that allow you to perform tasks like inventory management much easier than ever before. Sounds pretty good, right? Before you get too into the idea, though, it’s important to make sure you find the right WMS for your facilities, inventory, and workers. Ask yourself these questions and see if your facility could use the aid of a WMS.


Can You Justify the Expense?

One of the most frequently-touted benefits of a WMS is the idea it can save you money by reducing labor costs and preventing inventory loss. The first thing to consider before purchasing a WMS is to see if it can actually save you money in the long run. Any WMS is going to be a significant investment both in purchasing it and in training your staff to use and understand it properly, and if your current processes are sound enough to prevent loss and maintain overhead the addition of a WMS might take up money and time that you don’t really need to spend.


Does The Product Match Your Facility?

If you’ve weighed the costs and benefits and decided a WMS will work for you, the next step is to find one that will work well with the processes, inventory, and industrial storage fixtures that you currently use. Make sure the WMS supports whatever your picking system is (wave picking, zone picking, etc), and see if it supports any features your warehouse has installed like transportation management systems, portable RFID terminals, and more. If you’ve scheduled a live demo of a WMS with a vendor, make sure to keep these things in mind when you ask for a better depiction of the product and systems.


Will The Product Help Your Operations?

This may be the most important thing to consider, and yet might be the most difficult to determine at first. Make sure the WMS you’re considering can actually help to reduce waste and spending by controlling inventory, determining better stocking patterns, and find better locations for each item to use space better. If it sounds like your facility needs help in any of these areas, the WMS may be the way to go.


Can Your Staff Be Easily Trained On Its Use?

Implementing a WMS in a facility that has never used one – or replacing a current WMS with a newer model – is going to require time and money to instruct your staff on how to use it properly. If implementing a new WMS won’t be overly disruptive to operations or cause any hang-ups in the process, you should be okay, but if you have a large infrastructure or a lot of processes that will be affected by this implementation you’re going to want to factor that into your equation.


If you can successfully answer all of these questions, your warehouse is ready for a new WMS. If not, you might want to look into other options or further consider the impact of these sort of systems before you commit to anything.

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