Implementing a NetSuite warehouse management system can seem daunting – there are many variables to oversee. If you deviate from your timeline, discover a blocker or choose the wrong solution, the consequences can be costly.
Our NetSuite experts - with over 2,000 implementations to their name - have compiled six tips for you to leverage as you map out your implementation strategy. While no two projects are the same, these best practices will give you a good foundation for getting started.
1. Select implementation partners that enable success
As you look to maximize your investment in NetSuite with a WMS, it’s important to ensure you have the right support in place. NetSuite partners fall into three categories:
NetSuite Alliance Partners are experts in providing implementation services for NetSuite customers.
NetSuite Solution Providers are able to assist with licensing, as well as services relating to accounting, ERP, CRM and ecommerce.
SuiteCloud Developer Network (SDN) partners like RF-SMART are independent vendors that offer extensions and applications to NetSuite ERP via the SuiteCloud platform.
SDN partners will vary in their experience and capabilities. Be sure to evaluate how well acquainted prospective vendors are with businesses like yours, and how their product interacts with NetSuite. Seek out reference customers to validate that the implementation process is going to be a smooth and seamless one.
2. Identify your requirements and desired process flows
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but many businesses realize after the fact that they should have been more thorough when putting together their current and future requirements. This primary step is essential – your requirements should be clearly documented and reviewed by all relevant stakeholders, including the warehouse staff that will become the end users of your future solution. Your evaluation should capture things like:
Current processes and inefficiencies (the drivers for this project)
Which activities you are looking to automate with mobile
Input from colleagues across all affected business areas
Your implementation and support requirements
An ROI analysis
If you need a structured way to gather this information, download our free WMS Value Analysis tool. Remember to maintain a long-term view and consider what requirements will arise as your business scales.
3. Make hardware decisions early on for effective mobile inventory management
Most businesses know they will need mobile devices, label printers and adequate WiFi infrastructure to operate their NetSuite Warehouse Management system. However, hardware is an area sometimes neglected until very close to the go-live date – or even after it. Having the correct equipment in place at the beginning will be pivotal for your end users’ success, so it’s crucial to determine these requirements early on. It can be helpful to consult a hardware partner who will be able to guide you on things like:
Which devices will be most suitable for your environment
Site surveys, connectivity and wireless infrastructure
Device configuration and post deployment services
4. Conduct an ROI analysis before your warehouse management system implementation
It’s important to establish measurable KPIs to benchmark the performance of your WMS. Having an early understanding of the ROI you expect to achieve will help you select a solution and get senior colleagues on board. As an example, here are 3 metrics you could monitor before and after your implementation to prove ROI:
Inventory Accuracy – When businesses track their inventory using manual processes or disparate systems, data discrepancies arise. A WMS system allows you to transact data directly into your ERP at every inventory touchpoint – eliminating errors, creating a single source of truth and increasing inventory accuracy to 99%.
Labor Costs – The Wireless LAN Alliance estimates that upgrading to a mobile barcoding solution can boost productivity by at least 15% because workers’ warehouse movements are directed and processes are streamlined.
Inventory Carrying Costs – When you know the exact quantities you have for each SKU by location, you mitigate the need for safety stock; replenishment can be done in a much more agile manner. WMS users are typically able to reduce safety stock levels by 40%.
5. Engage relevant stakeholders as soon as implementation planning begins
A successful WMS implementation is reliant on the presence of decision makers who will own the project from start to finish. These key individuals are responsible for managing the lines of communication between operational leaders, end users and the implementation team. Their goal is to ensure that all relevant parties are aware of project timelines, workflows and where their involvement is needed.
By establishing primary decision makers, you will minimize the risk of:
Producing workflows that aren’t in line with the end users’ expectations
Communication delays between different teams
Insufficient training and support
6. Make sure adequate support is available for your warehouse management system
Inadequate training and support is a common roadblock during a WMS go-live. This is generally preventable if you follow the tips listed above, but there are a few additional measures you can take to make sure your new system is adopted seamlessly by the business:
Plan training sessions to take place close to the go-live date. If the project is delayed, ensure refresher sessions are booked in.
Make training practical. Schedule shorter training sessions focused on specific subjects and processes.
Ensure all relevant stakeholders have access to the necessary documentation, which should be easy to navigate and digest.
If you’d like tailored advice about your needs and requirements, we’re here to help. Schedule a commitment-free call with your local RF-SMART representative:
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