Any search on Google about How to Find WMS Software Requirements finds many web sites and articles about how to determine WMS budgets, identify WMS stakeholders, and performing other WMS functions important in any effort to select WMS software.
The critical WMS issue that is missing in all those How to Select WMS Software articles is detailed instructions about HOW to specificaly identify WMS software requirements!
Many WMS experts provide how-to instructions that say "identify your WMS requirements" before making a WMS software selection, but they don't provide any detail intormation any about how to identify WMS requirements. What exactly does "identify your WMS requirements" really mean? No one takes the time to explain what WMS issues are required, or what is involved, to "identify your WMS requirements". How are they identified? How are they collected? There are many things that can effect how a "CRM requirement" can be identified, so what is the best way? Some of these are -
This article is about how to identify WMS software requirements based on well-defined methodes, and answers the above questions regarding WMS requirements and their impact on the WMS software selection process. Let's start off with an example of the bad impact just one ill-defined requirement can have on the outcome of a WMS software selection and/or implementation.
To show how important the act of correctly identifying WMS requirements can be, let's use our previous example requirements statement "The new WMS system must provide a "Contact Report"."
Since this appears to be a basic requirement many people in your company might consider that to be good enough for use in an RFP. Others may want to add "with the ability to specify a Starting and Ending Customer" because of the large number of customers, so the full requirement becomes:
"The new WMS system must provide a "Contact Report".
"The Contact Report must provide the ability to specify a Starting and Ending Customer."
The above looks good to all, it seems to go into enough detail, so it goes into the RFP. Especially since many people are thinking, "this is good enough, this is just a "standard" "Contact Report", something any good WMS system should be able to do".
All the vendors respond with YES to both of the above requirements, since they are very easy to do for almost any WMS system. A WMS system is chosen, partly because of the large amount of detail in its database, and implemention of the new WMS system is started.
Very quickly there are problems with the Contact Report. It is VERY long, and uses tremendous amounts of paper, and takes a long time to finish, all because it includes a DETAIL transaction listing for every customer. It is now a new, unforeseen problem with the new WMS software, one that causes a delay in the WMS implementation while waiting for the problem to be fixed.
It takes several emergency meetings to determine the best way to solve the problems caused by a lengthy, unwieldy, and almost unusable "Contact Report". The solution is to add a new report setup parameter (control) enabling the user to specify if the DETAIL for each customer account should be printed or not. This is ideal since the "Contact Report" already includes a summary-level aging analysis that shows which accounts are past due.
The additional, totally unforeseen cost of adding the new new report setup control is not welocme, but neccessary. The implementation is re-started with a new GO-LIVE date.
The WMS implementation moves into its final testing, when yet another deficiency in the "Contact Report" is found. The problem is that it takes a very long time to sift through the report looking for ONLY those customers sold through a Manufacturer Rep. The Rep is responsible for managing that customer account, so this is very important. So now there is another unforeseen problem that must be solved, calling for yet another series of unplanned, emergency meetings to resolve this new problem.
The solution to this problem is to automatically label (categorize) each customer account with its source of origin, i.e., either as a DIRECT or REP account.
The UNEXPECTED COST of the solution to this new problem is VERY LARGE since it involves significant changes in Customer Maintenance, Sales Order Entry, abd also the "Contact Report" Setup and Report processing. This is totally unacceptable since it now threatens to significantly REDUCE the financial benefits of the new WMS system.
The new WMS system goes LIVE, and yet another NEW deficiency is reported by the people responsilble for collecing severely overdue accounts. They want to see a report of just those accounts that are 60 days or more past due, since it takes far too long to sift through the full report looking for just those accounts over 60 days past due. Again, another significant EXTRA COST is required to add a new control and modify the "Contact Report" (again!)
A typical WMS system use so many functional areas in the entire task of "identifying requirements" can be quite overwhelming. That is why many Web-based WMS software selection services and technology evaluation centers sell pre-populated RFPs. But, as we have discoved above, an RFP WMS software requirement are not adequately define your needs, especially a static WMS software features list created 3 months or 3 years ago. What is needed is an up-to-date list of WMS software requirements that truly reflect all your WMS software configuration, operational, and management requirements. The best, most efficient way to do that is described below.
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