Probably the most important thing to consider in a warehouse management software is the financial system you are planning to use. There are deep integrations between your inventory and your balance sheet. To get the greatest return on your warehouse management software, you will want to identify the data that you will need to see from a bookkeeping perspective, to ensure you are collecting it and communicating back and forth from your warehouse management system.
- Receiving – Considerations on how you bring product in. Do you need to over receive, under receive, receive containers or by ASN? Do you have blanket PO’s that you will use for a year or more? Do you need to track truck temperatures, lot codes, serial numbers, dates?
- Intra-warehouse movement – When you have a warehouse, product is rarely static. It can be moved for optimization, replenishment, ripening, or it could need to be adjusted for reasons such as sales samples, spoilage, damage, or consumption. Your chosen solution should accommodate moving your product and hitting your journals correctly.
- Inter-warehouse movement -If you have more than one location, you may often find the need to transport inventory between facilities. If this transfer lasts a duration of time, you will want to ensure that the inventory quantities and value are accounted for on your balance sheet, and that the sending and receiving of those products follow your normal business rules. If you are moving product between entities, you will want to make sure that the product you select can accommodate that complex inventory function.
- Inventory Control – Often under utilized, but a very critical operation. If something is amiss, how does the software give you the power to correct the situation? Can you do different adjustment types that tie in differently to the general ledger?
- Work Orders – If you do manufacturing or kitting, how are those orders processed? Are you building to stock or build to order? Do you have a work in progress area, or certain stock that is maintained separately from the rest of your warehouse specifically for your production?
- Shipping – Do your orders come from an order management system or CRM? Do they need to auto-allocate to grab inventory based on the order received, or do you need to manage your orders based on customer need? Do you have value added services that you offer? Are there packslip or labeling requirements on a customer level?
- Software – The most obvious components of pricing is the cost of the software itself. Usually that includes or is made up entirely of the number of licenses needed. Determine who in your organization is going to need what functionality. What you will probably find, is a great deal of the information will show in the ERP, so most people in the office will not need a license seat. If there are desktop and handheld use, are those separate licenses? If you are running multiple shifts, are the licenses concurrent, meaning you only need licenses for those who are signed in at a given moment?
- Implementation – This is the number that can vary greatly depending on your current staffing and IT group. If you have an IT group who is familiar with the systems involved, you can save considerable costs by taking on some of the responsibilities yourself. It is important to bring in experts who have seen multiple implementations to ensure a smooth transition, and you may find that by bringing in expert resources your other projects aren’t impacted as greatly.
- Testing & Training – While sometimes budgets don’t allow for setting up a test environment, it is always recommended. This gives you the ability to train using your own item numbers and your own processes, and allows configuration requirements to become apparent in a safe environment. From a training standpoint we usually like to train a super user who will be the champion of the project, and then work with that individual to train the rest of the staff in the areas pertinent to their roles.