WMS procrastination

We spend a lot of time making decisions. Not lots of decisions; long processes to make a small number of them. Often, the answer is no answer, and we shelve the WMS decision for another day. Or we never come back to it at all. Some of little consequence, some disastrous. 

Only time tells the difference between the two.

What was something you let go to ‘no decision’?

What is a minor thing? Couldn’t choose a restaurant, so you ate in.

What is a major purchase? An appliance, a car, even a house?

What about the warehouse management systems or order management systems (OMS) that run your business? Not so simple.

The restaurant and the appliance purchases, generally, have minimal to no repercussions. They are decisions that can wait. While they may be necessary for other projects, you won’t step backward or lose future opportunities for patience.

The WMS technology decision, though, is almost always a blocker to enablement, execution, and expansion.

The market isn’t getting simpler

The market is moving fast, and so is technology.

Consumers want to buy products, often personalized, and have them delivered across a shifting menu of options. They don’t care that your logistics and shipping costs are sky-high, budgets are tighter, people are limited, and interest rates are unbearable. They demand that five-star buying experience, but you need immediate ROI from WMS technology, not squandered margins.

The trouble with stalling your WMS decision

Why didn’t you invest in the business?

Something led you to seek a warehouse management solution. It could be a combination of soft and hard information. Anecdotal observations that the fulfillment center can’t work with the current systems are abundant but subjective. Hard evidence that you’ve hit a ceiling on throughput and can’t sweat the assets more is objective but doesn’t propose a remedy.

Somewhere in the middle lies ‘analysis paralysis’

The state of having just enough information to spot the smoke, but not enough to trigger a response. It’s something we all deal with. I know there’s a problem, but I lack enough information – or conviction – to make a decision.

The problem with modern business is the fire continues to burn, and delay is often significant in opportunity cost sunk.

Deck chairs on The Titanic

Doing small things can be cathartic; you finish a task and feel accomplished. The problem comes when it keeps you from looking at big issues.

You’ve looked at process optimization. You’ve rearranged your pick locations. You’ve looked at non-value-add time. These are all good actions that should be addressed methodically in best-in-class warehouse operations. But you’ve run out of low-hanging fruit, and it’s not enough.

You’re still leaving orders for the next shift, more every day.

You’re dealing with more rework and overtime because systems gaps aren’t closed.

Everything piles up to increasingly frustrated customers, higher costs, and risk.

Technical debt transforms into morale debt as the WMS question gets delayed.

The ‘ship’ has a hole in it. Stop bailing water and deploy a better warehouse management solution – one you can stick with and get people excited about using.

Avoid the WMS that’s too good to be true

When enough pressure builds up, the temptation can be to do something, anything, for the catharsis of it.

Doing anything will be an instant relief, but doing the wrong thing compounds your pain for the immediate or long-term future.

You’re pressed for time, and the pain is real and constant. But several types of WMS solutions simply won’t set you up for success. As you start addressing the problems in the warehouse, beware of these pitches 

In-house development (homegrown WMS)

Who knows your business better than you do? You get exactly what you want. We say every business is unique; why shouldn’t your software be, too?

But homegrown fulfillment solutions create incredible sunk costs and ongoing emotional investment. You also lack industry awareness – a feature echo chamber.

In-house development projects are generally prolonged. Different parts of the business try to guide development in their direction; the more their needs pile on, the longer it goes on, the less ROI is developed and costs balloon. 

Finally, software exists in “Tiers” because you need different features at each maturity scale. In the same way an enterprise solution isn’t fit for small businesses, the inverse is equally true. If you are coding it yourself, you’re trying to take your learner’s permit car to the Indy 500. 

WMS with custom external code firms

You know your business and what you want but don’t want the IT investment. Hire someone! You get all the benefits of homegrown systems without the ownership. 

The problem is you don’t own anything. It’s bespoke and you pay for every tweak or enhancement and can end up handcuffed to the firm if they even continue to exist. You might not even ‘own’ the results, and they could use the engagement to build a product or sell it to others later. You were the seed funding.

The same problems exist as in-house, with even fewer long-term benefits to the business and a whole host of other added risks.

The starter WMS

You want a solution sized for today but with growth in mind. You’ve gotten pitches that highlight the ability to grow. You can add users, storage space, and server time. You name it, they can incrementally add it. What they likely left out is what growth will cost. Just like an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure, pinching pennies today can lead to a huge bill in the future.

Related: 6 Things WMS Software Companies Left Off the Brochure

No roadmap for the future is also common in this model. The WMS is often presented as high-feature, low-cost, but many of the features are either roadmap or bespoke – Or they require buying third-party software. Many times, these solutions are overly modular, and the price of entry is cheap. However, the cost to grow is painful, and they depend on your emotional investment to keep you paying, even though you know it’s no longer frugal.

The Rolls Royce WMS

It’s everything to everyone. Monolithic best-in-brand supply chain software has more modules than you’ll ever use, but there’s a comfort that “if it’s been done, they’ve seen it and built a solution for it.”

Except when they haven’t. Then you’ll find yourself in the custom-code scenario, but worse because your bill comes from a massive company with a prestige tax. Also, in many scenarios, this will put you on a forked version, and you could have to redo that custom work each time a significant version changes.

There’s also all that shelfware you’ll buy because these WMS suites are sold as massive packages. So the price is inflated, and the value is diluted because you are paying for more than you need. Often, these suites are only revisited every two years and are sunset (translation: not well supported for as long as you need them to be).

By now, you’re thinking of many pitches you’ve sat through. A lot of focus on what you get, but probably deemphasizing the cost to acquire it, the cost to keep it, and after all that, the amount of time you’re probably waiting to get it.

There’s a better way.

The Deposco Bright Suite difference

Deposco wants you to buy only what WMS software you need, deploy what you buy, and get back to growing the business.

An end-to-end WMS + OMS platform, we focus on what matters to you:

  • It’s a real product – We sell you what we have. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing we do is a custom project or on layaway. In addition, our modular approach means you get the complete products you need, not the things you need in 5 years.
  • We provide clear roadmaps – Our product team lets you know that the “service” in your “software” is real as well. We can tell you the WMS features we’re working on by product line and when they should launch. And you’ll receive them when they are ready, not after a midcycle renegotiation.
  • No black box pricing—You know what you are paying for WMS and OMS software, services, and storage. There are no surprises from a “single bottom-line price” that hides everything. A competitor might say their WMS implementation is free, but they just hid the cost somewhere else. 
  • No nickel and dime games – We’ve all known the WMS that sold user seats (non-transferable, of course), storage limits that you were unclear on how easily they’d be blown out (worse if it’s variable consumption pricing, and each month’s bill is a surprise), and other customer-unfriendly tactics. We sell you a WMS subscription model and don’t frustrate your success.
  •  An average of 90 days to deploy – Who hasn’t worked a deployment that wasn’t deployed until 2 years later? You paid them the whole time, too! It’s better to go with a firm with a track record of delivering WMS in 90 days, project after project. And the average is going down consistently as we streamline the process. Faster deployment, less implementation hassle. Execute.

Related: Time-to-value: the top factor in choosing the best WMS solution

Make your WMS partner prove it

Take nothing at face value. Do your own research. No one should ever convince you to move uninformed. But make a decision.

Talk to us today.