If your 3PL relationship is not robust to help organizations evaluate their WMS provider, we have listed five questions every 3PL should ask its warehouse management software (WMS) company.
What Is the Implementation Process Like?
The implementation process is a critical step in the WMS selection process. You must understand what type of help you will be provided during this process and how long it will take. A good WMS provider will have several resources to help you through the process. This will include project managers, training, and case studies from other customers. As you search for a new WMS, it’s essential to understand the implementation process. It would be best also to understand what to expect from it. The following questions will help you better understand the implementation process:
What Existing Integrations Do You Have?
This is one of the most crucial questions every 3PL should ask their WMS provider. It’s essential for all parties involved in the supply chain to communicate. Integrations can save time and money while increasing efficiency.
An example will be if you work with many carriers who use different billing systems. Your WMS could integrate these systems to send invoices through one central location. This will reduce confusion and save time on invoice processing. Here are why companies would want to integrate their WMS with other systems.
- Increased efficiency
- Reduced errors
- Increased revenue
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) – Used by supply chain professionals to manage inventory. It can also manage orders, production, and finance in one place. Integrating your WMS and ERP provides streamlined data sharing between the two platforms. This allows for a more accurate representation of your inventory levels. This is because it’s updated whenever an item is added or removed from a stock in your warehouse. The benefits of this type of integration are many. They include;
- Faster order fulfillment times because you don’t have to enter products manually
- A reduced chance of human error because one person doesn’t have to access both databases at once
- Better visibility into what items are needed before they’re ordered.
You might also want to read about: What Distinguishes 3PL From A Freight Forwarder?
How Quickly Can You Get Up and Running?
A few factors will determine how quickly you can get up and running. The first question you should ask is, “What kind of product do we ship?” Asking this will help the WMS provider understand the complexity of your warehouse. It will also give them a rough estimate of the scope of their project.
Second, take into account the size of your operation. The bigger your warehouse is, the more products you ship out. This will affect how long implementation takes.
Third, consider whether you have existing processes in place that need replacing. Check if the processes can be integrated into your new system.
Are Support Resources Available Throughout the Week?
After you’ve narrowed down your list of WMS providers, it’s time to call them up and ask some questions. You may consider questions like;
What are support resources available to us 24/7? This question ensures the provider has everything you need in place. When an issue arises or if you have questions about using the system. If they don’t have round-the-clock support, then it may be time for another company on your list.
Note that this does not mean having someone on call during business hours. This could get expensive! Instead, see if there are any additional resources available like live chat or email so that you can reach out if something comes up after hours and have someone help you out with no charge or fees associated with using these services at all hours of the day and night (or morning!).
Is the System Scalable?
When you build a scalable solution, it can grow with you. Scalable means that the WMS can support more warehouses and users as your business grows.
There are many questions to ask in this case. They may include: How many warehouses does the system support? Can it expand to handle additional warehouses as needed? Will there be an extra fee for each warehouse added? What is that fee, and how often will it be charged?
It would be best if you also asked about user limits. User limits are Sometimes called concurrent users. Many simultaneous users have many implications. It could mean that many people in your company can access the system simultaneously. This can happen without creating lag time while waiting to use the application. For example, suppose you have 300 employees using an API concurrently. In that case, they will all be able to process shipments without difficulty. But if you have 3 thousand employees using an API, it could create massive problems. This is because of lag time during processing times.
The right WMS provider can be a massive boon to your logistics business.
A good WMS provider can help streamline your operations. Plus, they can improve customer service, accuracy, and overall cost management. Here are five key questions to ask a potential WMS provider:
- Do they have experience with the types of products you sell? If not, how do they plan to address data collection and integration issues?
- Are there any non-negotiable terms in their contract? What are the penalties for breach of these terms? Are these penalties reasonable under current industry standards?
- How much control will I have over the software once it’s up and running in my company? Can I modify it myself if need be (and am I allowed to do so)? Do they offer customization options beyond those already built into their system? For example, does it allow for single sign-on from existing systems? Systems like ERP or CRM solutions will enable suppliers access to inventory levels. They don’t have to exist the interface and can log in through an app built for this. Suppliers can achieve this by one company only. However, it would require some connection between those two providers’ systems anyway!
There you have it! A list of questions every 3PL should ask their WMS provider. Open communication promotes transparency between a 3PL and their WMS provider. If there are any concerns, talk about them early and openly address them from the outset. This will help build a working relationship. Every business is unique. So, by taking the time to discuss the specifics of your operations, you’ll lay the groundwork for an effective relationship with your 3PL—contact sales support for more information.