The effective implementation of a WMS follows a precise methodology, sequenced in stages, where the customer and integrator teams must work hand in hand.
What are the stages in implementing a WMS?
What is the content of each of these stages?
What questions will the teams have to answer and what information should be provided?
What work needs to be done on the integrator’s side and on the customer’s side?
How is team training addressed during these stages?
Each integrator has its own implementation methodology. Here we present one of these methodologies developed by SITACI for its WMS EGO solution.
At SITACI, the implementation of the WMS EGO is divided into 6 key phases:
It should be noted that during the first phases, SITACI’s project teams are particularly present to frame and organise the work. But gradually, in the downstream phases, it will be your project teams who will take the lead, with the STACI teams shifting from a leadership role to one of support for your teams.
In the final phase, your teams will then be virtually autonomous in their actions!
In addition to the aspects of framing and organising the work, the launch phase is used to collect a wide range of qualitative and quantitative information on the warehouse.
Here are some examples
Here are also some examples of questions on items, resources, rules, warehouse topography:
In addition to this information gathering, the launch phase is also an opportunity to make initial contact and discover the EGO WMS tool.
Indeed, even before the studies began, we decided to present our WMS to our customers in a refined version (in terms of functionalities) and with a “School” data set that allows them to start practicing.
This “concrete” contribution in the upstream phase makes it possible to become aware of the tool’s operating philosophy, to understand the concepts behind it, to gradually introduce future users to the “vocabulary” of the EGO WMS and to begin to open up the fields of possibility in connection with the standard version of the WMS.
The idea is to say:
“If you understand very simple flows on a “School” basis, then it will be all the easier to understand your flows with your future data and to understand your specificities.
This is where we get to the heart of the matter!
Individual or collective work sequences will then follow in a very specific order.
Their purpose will be to prepare the configuration of the EGO WMS, to create the working environments (hardware, interfaces, VPN, Wifi, etc.) and to anticipate the collection of information that will subsequently be injected into the software.
This work will make it possible to answer the following questions, for example:
This phase allows us to “get into the thick of things”.
The studies will enable the WMS to be parameterised and specific developments to be undertaken if any (and depending on the methodology implemented:
The interfaces with, for example, an ERP are then tested (order flow, stock adjustment, item database, shipment confirmations, etc.), as are the connections with the carrier platforms (carrier labels and EDI flows).
Finally, the equipment (PDA, labeller, weigher, Carboscan, etc.) is also connected and tested on the WMS.
Thanks to SaaS technologies, most of these operations can be carried out via a VPN connected to a “Virtual Machine” located at a hosting company.
During this phase, the customer is also involved in providing all the necessary data to be injected into the WMS.
This work is not to be neglected, as the quality of the data is essential for the WMS to function properly. Indeed, errors will not be forgiven in the world of Supply Chain Execution (SCE).
The data to be supplied obviously concerns the articles and the addresses of the locations (for slotting operations), but also data on the shuttles, the types of container and packaging used, the compartments, the dangerous materials, the users, the barcode formats, the customers, the carriers and the associated services, the customs tariffs, etc., all of which must be filled in depending on the complexity of the flows implemented.
The objective is then to provide a working environment allowing future users to have a WMS in the company’s colours (with the associated equipment) in order to practice the solution.
This phase will allow the review of all the business scenarios (or cases) and the involvement of the teams, to practice all the cases and take advantage of this to write the operating procedures.
Firstly, the project team will be able to train in the use of the EGO WMS in its quasi-end environment (their items, customers, locations, etc.) on a complete flow (input, internal, output) and for customers (or depositors) representative of the activity. The training modules on the EGO WMS are adapted to the business scenarios implemented in the warehouse.
These training sessions will then allow the project team to practice the solution independently according to a “Solution Practice Plan” and based on the recipe books provided by SITACI. The aim here is to practice all the (other) logistics flow scenarios that may arise and for which the EGO WMS has been configured.
It is also an opportunity to have the key users practise and ideally to write these operating procedures with them.
These sequences are generally very fast-paced, and mobilise the teams over relatively long periods. A precise schedule of the work is placed in everyone’s diaries, taking care not to disrupt the other activities in the warehouse. This investment remains essential and necessary to ensure that everything will work on D-day!
Just after the training and the practice of the solution in autonomy, we finally propose a day of “blank tests” so that the project team can see what can happen on a typical day with the EGO WMS, and (normally) touch the benefits but also the rigour that must be shown in using such a tool!
Here we focus on 3 subjects that we think are important to deal with in order to successfully start up the WMS in good conditions and to put all the chances on your side!
The transfer of stocks into the WMS should not be neglected and can be a project within a project.
So what strategy should you adopt, where to start, and what can you anticipate?
The aim is to organise the inventory control work in order to have the best possible stock levels (reliable quantities at the location address). However, not everything should be inventoried at the last moment.
A gradual increase in the reliability of stocktaking should be planned:
Here are a few keys and tips for organising this often long, tedious and highly strategic work for a successful start:
LABELLING THE WAREHOUSE
With the arrival of the new materials, the whole warehouse will have to be labelled and identified:
INVOLVEMENT OF ALL STAKEHOLDERS
Once the production environment has been set up and is operational, the deployment phase will also consist of integrating the “import files” into the EGO WMS with the database that will be used on D-day.
Ideally, these files should be validated by the Key Users (in particular the stock file with the quantities of items updated at each location).
The training of the end users by the Key Users can then begin with the operating procedures developed in the previous phase.
This is also the opportunity to finalise the development of “posters” to be placed at the workstations (reception, quality, customer returns, packing, shipping, etc.) containing a simplified and operational version of the operating procedures.
A few days before the start-up, it remains to communicate the date and time of the start-up to the stakeholders (customers – depositors, suppliers, staff, etc.).
Two important tools are generally developed to secure the period between D-3 and D-day: a schedule of the presence of Key Users in each area with the operators, and a checklist of control points and Go-Go No.
As you will have understood, one of the successes of the implementation of a WMS lies in the respect of the milestones proposed by the integrator, in the scrupulous implementation of the contents of each of these phases, but also in the quality and fluidity of the relationships that each of the stakeholders will be able to establish in the conduct of such a project.
More generally, we invite you to consult the key success factors for a successful WMS implementation here.