You know your WMS implementation is going bad when
by Rene Jones
Over the years, I have been involved with so many WMS installations I actually stopped counting. Whether I was there in the beginning or called in when all hell was breaking loose, one thing I noticed is with every implementation, there are signs.
Sometimes humorous (after the fact) and sometimes not, signs that tell you whether the implementation is going as expected.
Because I am an avid note taker, I rummaged through my notes to find the signs and pass them along to you. Believe it or not, every one of these have come from an actual implementation.
You know your WMS implementation is going bad when:
1. Two days before go-live, you are walking through the warehouse with an RF device and an employee asks, "What's that?"
2. Your pickers begin asking for the documentation on how to go to the bathroom.
3. Three days after your go-live date, one of your supposedly best pickers asks you to show them how to sign-on to their RF device.
4. Your pickers tell you they don't need the RF device to pick orders because the locations are not accurate.
5. Your No. 1 customer, who is tired of waiting in will call, begins picking their own orders. And you realize they are faster at it than your pickers.
6. Your pickers have begun interleaving tasks. But when you return to your office you realize the software doesn't allow interleaving of tasks.
7. Your inventory is 99 percent accurate! In your salesmen's trunks!
8. You spend hours searching for an item that is ultimately found in the location the system said it was in. But no one knew how to find that location on the computer screen.
9. Several of your overstock locations, for some fast movers, are physically full; the primary locations for those same items are physically empty. But systematically it is the other way around. However, the orders for these items are still getting filled.
10. You are walking the warehouse with the CEO, who asks the Inventory Control person how they like the new system. The IC person turns, laughs and walks away.
11. Your customer service people no longer spend time calling to the warehouse to check stock. They go to the warehouse to check it themselves because they can't get a warehouse person to answer the phone.
12. Your customers begin asking your customer service people which branch will their order ship from. Then cancels the order if it is shipping from the one with the newly installed WMS system.
13. You overhear one of your customer service people telling a customer to order from a competitor until upper management understands this WMS thing was a mistake.
14. Your purchasing department has begun receiving product to help out the warehouse. Because the receiving department is so backed up, your vendors have begun canceling your discounts.
15. Your purchasing department slowed down the buying for a couple of weeks prior to the implementation so the go-live would go smooth. And the day after go-live, there are trucks backed up because the buyers figured everything would be back to normal by then.
16. Your receivers have stopped using the system to receive product because the trucking companies will no longer wait to be unloaded.
17. Your CFO wants to know what is going on with the inventory and who is making adjustments, because someone adjusted in $100,000 of an item. Then adjusted it the same item back out. Then adjusted it back in. Then back out again. All on the same day and all by the same person.
18. You realize Sunday night during your startup physical you are not going to finish the initial inventory. So you decide to "SWAG" the quantities of the items not counted.
19. You realize on go-live none of your location labels will scan. Later you find out why. They were printed in test which assigned different tracking numbers than production.
20. You ask your software vendor how does the system handle a change to a Reserved Order and your software vendor responds by asking, "What is a Reserved Order?"
21. Two months after your go-live, one of the consultants you hired to help with the installation asks you if it is OK for him to schedule a vacation.
22. The fastest picker you have is the consultant you hired to help with the implementation.
23. One of the consultants you hired to help begins crying in front of one of your terminals.
24. You have a meeting with all of the employees to see how things are going and no one has anything to say, mainly because they are afraid they will get fired if they really told you.
25. Your warehouse supervisor tells you the orders are not printing. Every time he tries to reprint an order, nothing happens. After you stop laughing, you tell them they are picking with RF devices so the orders now go directly to the RF devices and print upon shipping.
26. You have to send someone into the bathroom to get your super-user to come out and talk to you. They have been in the bathroom crying for over an hour by the time you realized it.
27. Your family is unhappy because of all the time you spend at the office and you use that as an excuse to take some time off.
28. You want to know who is making so many adjustments to inventory, and after further investigation: you, the CFO and the CEO find out it is: You. You are also the one doing most of the picking and a majority of the receiving. At least, that's what the system shows because you have been giving out your sign-on to so many different people because they can't remember theirs.
29. You stress to your employees the value of the RF devices and not to just lay them down. Only to have to go around later checking the serial numbers because you can't seem to find yours.
30. You wake up one morning and while searching for your shoes under the bed, you find the RF device you've been looking for all week.
31. You go home early only to find you can't get in your house because the chain has been put on the door.
32. You are forced to climb through the window of your house, because the locks have been changed. Then you get chased right back out of the house by your dog.
33. Your warehouse supervisor quits so he can get some time off to go to his son's soccer game.
As humorous as these may be, they are a testament to the drive, desire and will to win of warehouse people all across the country. They make it happen every single day no matter what they are faced with.
Rene Jones is president of Total Logistics Solutions Inc., a logistics management company. He can be reached at (818) 353-2962 or at email@example.com.