How to Get Decision Makers On Board For A New Warehouse Management System
A large number of companies have implemented warehouse management systems (WMS) to cut costs and improve operational efficiency. These companies maintain highly-efficient operations that result in satisfied customers. The benefits of warehouse management system are endless, including increases in inventory accuracy, reduced labor costs and the ability to provide value-added services. That said, gaining approval for a new warehouse management system can be a challenging task. Even though you may be on board with all the benefits and value a new system will bring, getting other decision makers on board with the investment can be difficult at times.
It is very important to have the executive team and any other decision makers see the benefits in the WMS being proposed. Most companies are required to follow a process that involves several stages of information gathering and approval before committing. This is a difficult process, but being prepared with the facts will significantly improve your chances.
The four best ways to get management on board for new WMS projects include:
- Understand your company’s strategic initiatives Prior to meeting with key decision-makers, you must research and clarify strategic initiatives. Essentially you need to verbalize how the WMS project is in line with key corporate goals and strategies. Make sure to gain approval from the executive team/Board of Directors before moving forward with evaluating the project.
- Identify key influencers from the information technology (IT) department, operations and finance and align yourself accordingly During the approval process you will need to determine the key influencers for IT, operations and finance. Explain how each will benefit from the warehouse management system and discuss the appropriate time to bring each into the project. As you are planning, provide these individuals with regular reports that tie the progress back to strategic initiatives.
- Research areas of importance to key influencers You will have to understand which messages your audiences need to hear in order to support the project. Develop messaging for IT that revolves around key concerns such as cost and time required to implement, maintain and configure the system, architecture, and multi-site roll-outs. Messaging for operations should focus on daily operational processes. For finance, touch on concerns such as return on investment (ROI), total cost of ownership (TCO), how the WMS will impact bottom-line and how the best-of-breed warehouse management system is superior to the ERP warehouse module.
- Be able to prove return on investment (ROI) When looking at ROI, be sure to choose a strong tool and capture key data internally to complete the assessment. Research how each WMS vendor makes changes to its system (whether code-level or not), and how these changes are carried forward during upgrades with TCO. Also, request vendor references and demonstrations as proof of these capabilities. To have a full understanding of functionality, choose an industry-leading, WMS-specific RFP template. This tool should cover all detailed aspects of functionality requirements, system configuration and company details. When learning about vendor viability and references, research the vendor itself using the RFP and other questions to determine if there are areas of concern (i.e., potential acquisition). Get contractual assurance that the warehouse management system you are evaluating will be supported long-term from both an upgrade and enhancement standpoint.
Cut Costs and Improve Operational Efficiency With a New WMS
The process of gaining approval for a WMS project is a critical task for your company. Understanding the steps needed to gain support from key decision-makers will help speed up the process. Although significant research is involved in finding the right WMS for your organization, the results will be well worth your efforts. Being able to better leverage your supply chain will improve customer satisfaction, be more cost efficient and provide new business opportunities.