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THE GPS TO WMS – READY TO REPLACE? Part 1 – Before You Begin

By Ian Hobkirk | 11/18/2015 | 11:33 AM | Categories: Weblogs

WMS ring scanner


Welcome to our new series in which I will guide you through the process of successfully bringing a new WMS system on line. Over the next months, I will provide guidance when it comes to this very crucial project to increase your odds of success when the system is in place.




With all technology there comes a time for upgrades and a time to implement a new system altogether, which stands to reason since software companies are always improving their products. WMS software is no exception and upgrades of major systems like WMS are an ongoing fact of corporate life.

The existing WMS system may have served your company well when it was first implemented, but now it may be showing its warts and bumps that have led to stock outs, delivery failures, inaccuracies, or other efficiency problems. Or maybe your operation has just outgrown the system’s capabilities.

Upper management may have made the decision that it is ready to go with an upgrade, but bringing on line a complex, costly WMS means upfront, in-depth preparation based on foresight and recognition of the realities of your organization. Not making this investment in both time and thought would be like setting out to build a high-end 4,000 square foot house and having all the building materials dropped off at the site without working from a blue print.

When it comes to accomplishing an upgrade, I will be presenting this series of blog posts on The GPS to WMS to cover how to make this process deliberative, well structured, and in the end a definite and significant improvement to your company’s operations.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll cover the following topics in this blog:

  • The qualities of WMS implementation team leadership, with experience being a big factor
  • How to assemble and structure a WMS implementation team to match the needs of the project and of your company
  • Evaluating and managing risk
  • Implementation methodology that falls under one of two categories:
    • Classic – a straightforward approach, which is implemented in stages
    • Rapid – for more intricate project
  • Communication and establishing the “project rhythm” which involves the discipline of regular reports and meetings

Your company might have already thought about some of these issues. Based my team’s experience with hundreds of WMS implementations, I’ll provide this six-part discussion to point your organization toward success by covering all the bases and set your operation up to get the full benefit out of the WMS upgrade project.

With a project this big and significant, solid planning, communications and team building will enable your company to achieve an on-time, on-budget, disaster-free implementation and ultimately meet the planned return on investment.

For More Information

The Ultimate WMS Preparation Guide Book



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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk is the founder and Managing Director of Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors. Over his 20-year career, he has helped hundreds of companies reduce their distribution labor costs, improve space utilization, and meet their customer service objectives. He has formed supply chain consulting organizations for two different systems integration firms, and managed the supply chain execution practice at The AberdeenGroup, a leading technology analyst firm.



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