Everyone has a story about a bad relationship. You weren’t in it for the same reasons. There was a mismatch in values. You simply weren’t on the same sheet of music. It’s no different for relationships with warehouse management (WMS) software companies.
The market is changing and evolving rapidly. Your business is required to pivot to meet these new expectations. New expectations create new challenges for your business. It’s easy to get caught up in the problem you want to solve and not focus on who can create immediate value for you.
With the sheer number of potential WMS software companies out there, finding the partner who’s right both now and for the future is critical.
- If you go with a software partner built for enterprise organizations before you are ready, your software costs can cannibalize your ROI.
- If you go with a software partner too small, you risk hitting a functional plateau and having to buy software again too soon.
A lesson to borrow from Goldilocks
While there is security in the long-term incumbent, for small brands seeking accelerated growth, it can also mean that the partnership isn’t there – one focused on YOUR success.
You have a lot of options when evaluating WMS software companies. Many are too small, a few are too large, but a handful are just right. The details are important and rarely outlined in the brochure.
So what questions should you be asking yourself? Do you matter to your warehouse management system partner? If you’re just finding your speed, does it make sense to sign on with the 800-lb behemoth?
Lots to consider with WMS software companies
Here are 6 things that are often overlooked when matching your goals to technology selections.
1. Enterprise features at enterprise prices
Are these the features you need? Or are they the ones that are discussed often, but used little? Make sure you buy not only for what you need now but for what you will need over the next few years. Don’t overbuy. This is a mistake that both locks you into a system you’ll under-leverage and can tie up capital for years slowing reinvestment.
2. Made to order, not mass produced
Does your deployment look like a Mad Lib®? Is it over-designed with extra people, tons of billable hours, and no clear value add for you at this time? This is common in enterprise software. The process was designed for every hitch they’ve ever run into. You’re going to pay extra for past issues. Go with a firm that’s agile and right sizes their project team.
3. What you need… Now; not later!
Why does it take 2-3 years to deploy when you need value now? You’re running a warehouse or two. You’ve got orders to fill, and Peak Season is coming.
One of the knock-on effects of WMS companies that overly design their product is the time it takes to deploy. Sure, the suite is generally good for everyone, but you’ve got customers to serve.
Don’t spend all that money and not reap the benefits in a short amount of time. A lot of WMS software companies will push ‘the savings to pay for the project’. That’s got to be Year 1, not Year 4.
On the other hand, if your potential software partner is telling you “45-day WMS integration”, you run into additional risk. Make them show you an integration diagram. In too short of a timeline, the software will not be tailored to your needs and you will have to change your processes to match the limitations of the system.
On top of that, how self-serve are their claims for “self-serve” integrations? Can the WMS software company truly deliver on-time (in months) projects that are on budget – and back up those claims with named references in your space?
4. Plays well with others
Got a TMS you like? Can your schema be ported over cleanly? When a WMS software company claims to do everything, the system generally doesn’t tolerate roommates. Nimble solutions focus on a few key problems and solve them with focus.
Focused WMS software companies are not system integrators – and the best ones aren’t trying to be. Open APIs and easy EDI must be the standard. Because you’re being thoughtful about timing technology acquisitions, you’ve likely started stitching together solutions.
Does it really make sense to start over in multiple verticals because the vendor wants to ‘rip and replace’ everything?
5. Chatbots and elevator music
“I’ve got Walmart on line 1 and Home Depot on line 2….what was it again you wanted?”
Are you always on hold? Is the SLA response time measured in days or hours? The smaller the firm, the more likely that they have focused support teams. They don’t need to sift through large volumes of knowledge to help you because there aren’t 1 million places for failure.
If you’re choosing a WMS software company at a similar point in growth to you, they also prioritize you. If you’re the small fish in a big pond, there won’t be an equitable allotment of resources.
6. It’s a subscription
Where is your money going? Are you seeing consistent development in areas you value? Or is the money going to new products for customers that aren’t you? It’s very common to see subscription fees invested in new products which existing clients don’t want.
A SaaS model emphasizes funding future services and products. Cloud-native WMS software solutions seamlessly move you to the latest version, deploying features, and security is actively monitored and issues addressed. Be sure that you can see consistent feature growth and that new products enhance – not distract — from the software that brought you in.
That’s a lot
Most of it won’t be highlighted in glossy product overviews. But it can be the difference between a terrible or an excellent experience. You’re not only procuring WMS software; you are selecting a partner for a growth journey. It’s not unreasonable to ensure that you will matter after the ink dries.
Fast value for mid-market businesses
Deposco’s focus is firmly on supporting SMB and mid-market brands to compete in a crowded marketplace. We plan our implementation, go-live, and ongoing customer success around those firms.
Our WMS software features allow for emerging, growth-oriented brands to be successful QUICKLY. Not just something on a brochure. A partner who knows who we serve and puts our energy there. That’s what drives all our decisions from product development to customer success, to partnering.
Don’t you want a partner who builds WMS software around your needs?