Are you on the lookout for a reliable Warehouse Management System (WMS) software provider?
If so, you’ll be keen to choose the right supplier. After all, your data collection, order fulfilment, and inventory optimisation may suffer if you make the wrong choice.
Here are a few simple steps you can take when vetting and selecting a prospective WMS software provider.
1. Choose a flexible WMS partner
The vast majority of Warehouse Management Systems are extremely adaptable and configurable. As such, they should work in most warehousing environments. But there are exceptions to the rule you should be aware of. Otherwise, you could find yourself locked into an agreement with a provider unable to support your needs.
If your business still uses ITTs (Invitations to Tender), for example, you’ll need to check that your supplier supports this functionality before entering an agreement. Unfortunately, not all WMS software providers will respond to ITTs.
2. Prepare a Request for Information (RFI)
This doesn’t need to be very long. However, it should outline what you do, your future ambitions, and your current warehouse setup (including any changes you intend to make to it in the future).
Include a detailed operational specification of your warehouse that includes:
- Pick-and-pack station information
- How many loading bays there are
- Details of any reserve locations
- Any other relevant details
Make sure you request a quote and timeframe, so you know how long the work will take. Also, ask for information about the supplier’s history, clients, rates, and any support included as part of the agreement.
Rent or purchase?
You’ll have the option of either buying the software outright or renting it. If you choose to rent, it will be held on a secure third-party platform. This is known as Software as a Service (SaaS). It’s a cheaper option that can be toggled on or off as needed, giving you more control.
3. Create a Supplier Shortlist
When writing up a shortlist of potential WMS software providers, consider the following:
This shouldn’t be your only or first priority. After all, there’s little point in paying less for a service that won’t deliver. However, it’s important to remove providers that are beyond your budget early on.
Would your suppliers’ clients recommend them? Ask companies on your shortlist to provide details of clients who’d be happy to talk to you. Then call them and run through a list of pre-prepared questions.
Will the software deliver? The only way to find out for sure is to request live demonstrations from your shortlist of WMS software providers. Control the situation by asking vendors to focus on an area especially important to your operation. For example, kitting or assembly.
There’s no substitute for meeting your supplier face-to-face. You’ll be working together for a long time so it is important to determine if you are a ‘good business fit’ and can collaborate in an effective way.
Having gathered and analysed all the data, which supplier impressed you most? At this stage, if unsure, you may want to go revisit your shortlisted suppliers with further questions to fill in any gaps.
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