Implementing your WES - Success starts here
Critical to a successful implementation of your software solution is a thorough understanding of your economic, technical and organizational needs. Before choosing a new Warehouse Execution System (WES), you should evaluate your current inventory management system and processes to ensure you get the most out of the new technology. Thoroughly understanding the problems you expect the new system to solve and how a new solution can help to automate and improve current and future operations. Selecting a WES that integrates with other technology applications, such as ERP systems, ensures complete control and flow of information between the warehouse and other departmental functions. Using an integrated system ensures that information is transferred between technology without error.
Before jumping head first into your WES implementation, draft a plan and develop goals for the project. Westfalia will work with you to develop this plan and create an expected implementation timeline.
A typical installation of Savanna.NET® WES takes between 6 and 12 months. If your system needs numerous customizations, plan on a longer implementation process. During the course of your implementation, we will ensure constant dialogue with you. Our in-house staff of software developers works with you to develop a customized and flexible plan to ensure a smooth implementation and quality results.
All companies must consider return on investment (ROI) or how long it will take to pay back the capital investment. Most firms consider good investment to be one in which ROI occurs within 1 to 5 years. The return can come in many forms, including labor savings and economies available through inventory reduction. The accuracy of the information a WES provides and the business advantage such data offers is an often overlooked consideration that adds to ROI. When evaluating cost review, the cost of the annual software maintenance associated with your system.
When orchestrating a project team ensure all appropriate personnel are involved. The project team could consist of warehouse/operations personnel, IT, customer service, purchasing, etc. Bring in operating personnel early-on. Do not wait until the WES is about to go live to involve staff. Operating personnel should be part of the project team from the start.
WES software can provide a variety of features. Consider your business plan relative to warehouse or distribution center. Most standard Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are not born out of automation and tend not to interface well with Warehouse Control Systems (WCS). Remember, WMS applications deal more with the administrative tasks of a warehouse, such as managing product and its turn, lifecycle and placement. WCS software is directed more toward equipment control, storage optimization and processes for optimal product retrieval.
If a business is just looking for a WMS system and has no plans to automate the warehouse, then integration is not a critical concern. However, if product movement with automation (LGV's conveyors, etc.) stretch wrapping, automated label application, etc. is under consideration, then the ability to integrate the WMS and WCS is vital.
While a WES is able to replace WMS and WCS applications altogether, its flexibility allows for various deployment options. For those with an existing WMS looking to introduce a WCS to assist in automation, it is best to opt for a WES instead of bringing in a WCS. The company has the ability to continue using its familiar WMS, integrate it with the WES, and then enable the WES' WCS functionality. Alternatively, if an organization has not yet introduced automation warranting a WCS, it can still implement the WES, utilize its WMS capabilities, and then 'turn on' the WCS functionality when needed. This allows operators to utilize a familiar user interface, reduce training time and shorten the system start-up duration.