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Is Your Warehouse Ready for WMS Implementation? If Not, Start Here

Jun 16, 2023
4 min read
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Warehouse operators have plenty of reasons to implement a warehouse management system (WMS). Widespread e-commerce and direct-to-consumer products are increasing expectations for fast, front-door delivery. That makes speed, accuracy, and efficiency more important than ever.

At the same time, supply chain complexity and labor shortages have created new challenges, increasing the pressure to reduce opportunities for human error and streamline workflows. A WMS makes it possible to:

  • Track inventory in real time
  • Improve shipment and delivery accuracy
  • Optimize ordering and inventory levels
  • Improve employee productivity
  • Reduce waste

But you can’t expect instant results from a software implementation. Warehouse management systems ‌do their best work in facilities that have been prepared for a higher level of efficiency.

In this article, we’ll explain what makes a warehouse WMS-ready, and how we help customers achieve WMS readiness.

What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

A WMS is a software solution that connects, automates, and optimizes the many processes involved in managing a warehouse or distribution center. It enables the warehouse manager to optimize facility operations, and automates data entry using barcodes and mobile scanning devices.

Other data capture and automation technologies, such as RAIN RFID (radio frequency identification) and IoT-connected equipment like environmental sensors, can also be integrated using a WMS. An optimally implemented WMS can save time and money—and reduce frustration—from inbound receiving all the way to the consumer’s doorstep.

How to Prepare a Warehouse or DC for a WMS Implementation

The ideal pre-implementation warehouse has these four pillars in place:

  1. Mobility
  2. Connectivity
  3. Signage and labeling
  4. Appropriate managed services

Many Barcoding customers reach out for guidance in choosing the best WMS for their operations; others come with a preferred solution in mind. In either case, our experts are called in to assess readiness, and there are virtually always at least a few readiness optimizations to be made in advance of an implementation.

Mobility: Do You Have the Right Devices for Your Environment & Workflows?

Most warehouse operators use mobile devices already, but that doesn’t necessarily make them WMS-ready. Mobility that optimally supports your workflows probably isn’t a consumer-grade smartphone or tablet—and you need to know your operating system can support the WMS solution you select.

Matching devices to workflows, environments, and tasks can involve a fleet of devices that includes any or all of the following:

  • Rugged, handheld mobile computers
  • Tablets with scanning capabilities
  • Fixed overhead scanners
  • Vehicle-mounted devices
  • Wearable devices
  • Bidirectional voice-enabled devices and headsets
  • All-in-one heads-up displays (HUDs)

It’s not about having the “coolest” devices, though many workers see these tech investments as a net positive when they’re properly trained and the devices work as intended. How to get there? It starts by asking the right questions and observing the work in action.

At Barcoding, we partner closely with major device manufacturers. That allows us to take a brand-agnostic approach and truly focus on our customers’ people, processes and environments before making device and equipment recommendations.

Connectivity: Does Your Network Support Real-Time Data Handling?

Connectivity is crucial for capturing and transmitting data in real time. Most facilities, especially newer ones, have robust networks and footprints that have been designed for performance. But that’s not always the case—and new devices and data capture points can increase the demand for bandwidth and speed.

A site survey can reveal optimal access point placement, and experts can troubleshoot and remediate issues with existing Wi-Fi networks to ensure consistent, reliable, enterprise-class connectivity that minimizes downtime, improves data accuracy, and supports fast task execution—objectives that align perfectly with a WMS implementation.

Signage & Labeling: Complete, Consistent, and Correct?

A properly configured, labeled, and decorated warehouse imposes a clear sense of order and organization that’s essential for efficiency.

Professionally designed and printed labels scan faster and more dependably, and strategic use of details like color-coding, directional arrows, and other simple visual cues reduce mistakes, and make it easier for workers to navigate a facility and locate items fast.

We may refer to it as warehouse decoration, and it can certainly enhance the appearance of your facility, but make no mistake: end cap solutions, hanging placards, dimensional signage, and custom sign and label solutions can all help ensure your inventory is well-organized and visually accessible.

And when you work with an expert to label and decorate a warehouse, the experience is streamlined and simplified to eliminate headaches. Get signs and labels kitted out, or have a team of pros install for you, guaranteeing that it’s right from the start.

Managed Services: Are Devices & Equipment Properly Supported?

What’s a properly supported device? Detailed preplanning, procurement, configuration and rollout all ensure that devices are ready for an easy deployment on your end.

rollout all ensure that devices are ready for an easy deployment on your end. In the first place, it’s the right device—selected for suitability to the task, the worker, the workflow, and the environment. Second, it’s proven compatible with other solutions in use. It’s properly staged and configured, and its use is rolled out in a controlled transition, with access to training and help desk support as appropriate for your teams.

But device support doesn’t end when your mobile workers start scanning. That’s when mobile device management’s value really starts to shine—with help managing device RMAs, repairs, service contracts, and proactive support at whatever level your teams need to maintain productivity.

Barcoding’s PreLive, GoLive, and StayLive Services are what we call our individually tailored, comprehensive services that enable our customers to maximize the value of their technology investments, and keep devices and equipment working optimally.

Is Your Warehouse WMS-Ready?

If you think of your warehouse operations as a complex symphony, the WMS is the conductor that enables it to perform at its best. Accurate, real-time inventory can boost cost savings, improve customer satisfaction and supplier relationships, and make every workday better for employees.

Making sure your warehouse environment is WMS-ready means all the musicians and instruments are in place, in tune, and using the same sheet music: mobility, connectivity, signage/labeling, and device management and support—and your operations don’t miss a beat.

Download our guide to labeling a new warehouse facility to start getting your warehouse WMS ready. Click here or below for your free copy.

Warehouse Barcode Systems: How To Label A New Facility. Claim your guide.

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