VHA supplies mobile phones and accessories to retail businesses across the United States. They are currently operating out of four warehouse locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Diamond Bar and Houston.
VHA has been operating since 2001 and has enjoyed huge growth in the last few years. They were searching for a WMS that could bring their four warehouses in line, using the Houston warehouse as the template, and integrate to their NetSuite ERP.
Each warehouse has an area where customers can come and collect orders raised in advance. This business is referred to as Will Call inside VHA and as a middle-ground between the warehouse and a shopfront, it required the development of additional real-time interfaces in WAERlinx. Will Call makes up a small but significant proportion of the processed orders, however, most are sent out via a carrier.
This was the first project involving Waer partner and NetSuite Solution Provider, Concentrus and has provided a platform for partnership in the US, with Concentrus offering local time-zone support for US based WAERlinx users.
In addition to the standard WAERlinx solution, additional unique developments for the project included:
“It was WAERlinx’ flexibility and the productivity metrics developed for us that made VHA decide that this was the absolute best product for the project. We look forward to a long and strong relationship with Waer Systems.” Darryl Wooten, Director of Operations, VHA.
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There is often a great deal of reluctance about moving from a DIY (do-it-yourself) warehouse management system (WMS) to an industry-leading model. Companies with a DIY WMS may be understandably wary of implementing a new system – as the saying goes, “if it aint broke….” but there are clear and measurable advantages to taking that leap.
The three most common barriers to making the switch
“I know my WMS requires a lot of IT time to maintain and it may not always be up-to-date, but it has grown and been adapted as our business has expanded and it works.”
A 21st century WMS is highly configurable to specific customer needs, market demands and regulatory requirements. Every company is different and a really good WMS developer will understand which elements of your business processes can’t, or needn’t be changed, and those which can – and should.
Good warehouse management software will have been built on decades of experience and hundreds of implementations in receiving, put-away/flow-through, inventory management, order processing, replenishment, picking, packing, loading and shipping.
It should be able to manage the most highly regulated and complex distribution environments world-wide and be easily configurable to meet current demands, yet flexible enough to adapt to future requirements.
Personalised workflows should be standard, enabling the WMS to meet your company’s specific needs. A good WMS developer will work with you to understand the years you’ve spent developing and tweaking your business processes to your competitive advantage.
“Our ERP System already has a WMS that can support our business needs.”
Many ERP systems have their own bolt-on WMS and while this type of system may be fine for a single warehouse with basic processes, the wheels can come off when things start to get more complex.
A best-of-breed model should easily integrate with your ERP system, sales channels and distribution networks and should have the capacity to be configured to the level of detail needed to grow with your business.
“I have a team and system built around maintaining and upgrading our WMS. It will be too costly to implement a new system and re-train everyone.”
The ease of using a leading WMS will reduce your IT staff time, including the time spent on upgrades. While a DIY WMS may require hours of additional coding when an upgrade is installed, a leading WMS will have been designed to be upgraded quickly and painlessly and with minimal disruption. Additionally, the inner workings of DIY systems are often tied up in a few, critical resources in IT, leaving many companies very vulnerable should these resources ever leave.
With a best-of-breed WMS, you get the backing of a software provider that is dedicated to making the best product in the market.
It may also be costing you more to keep an obsolete WMS that requires you to maintain older versions of related infrastructure such as databases and operating systems. With a WMS that can integrate with these other systems, the entire warehouse operation can become more efficient almost overnight.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While your DIY WMS system can serve the needs of your company today, flexibility, efficiency, scalability and adaptability are essential business requirements in our new economy and are to be overlooked at your peril.
You can keep tweaking your DIY WMS as your company grows and expands into new markets but every inefficiency will mount up and cost you in the long-run.
A highly configurable, future-proof WMS will save you money and time, and keep you ahead of the competition.