A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is considered as the key part of the supply chain and primarily aims to control the movement and storage of materials within the warehouse and process the transactions. This includes shipping, receiving putaway and picking. Most of the retailers make use of third-party products like Manhattan, RedPrairie etc to handle the WMS business process flows. However, there are a plethora of application configurable parameters and they keep on changing with time.
WMS and Its Significance
There are times when we end up questioning the accuracy of our inventory. During such situations making use of a Warehouse management system could act as a smart move. WMS in general addresses these common challenges and creates a real-time warehouse environment that you can trust.
Down below I would like to mention a few reasons to consider WMS
- Inventory Control and Management– WMS is supposed to enhance inventory management by decreasing inventory levels, improving order fulfillment and reducing order cycle time. Designed to control all your warehousing activities, the system allows one to track every unit down to the lowest level of detail – for improved order fulfillment and inventory accuracy.
- Customer service and tracking– Remember, your warehouse is an important part of your customers’ buying experience. So make sure that products are ordered in stock and customer get what they purchased for.
- ROI– Choosing the right WMS means improving your sales and increasing profits not simply by helping you sell more but by selling faster and more accurately to happier customers.
- ERP integration– A good WMS will always end up integrating into your business management system so that one doesn’t require to replicate systems or procedures. As your business needs grow, your WMS solution should evolve to fit your needs.
- Company Productivity– Like I said before, your warehouse plays a key part in ensuring that your company meets its productivity goals. Warehouse Management adds efficiency, consistency, and quality control to the process by helping you move goods through your warehouse at maximum speed, improving every stage of the fulfillment process.
Ways to Improve Your WMS Testing Process
Testing procedures aren’t easy. Therefore, it is always advisable to consider hiring a reliable software testing company in town that has a proven track record of delivering high-end results on time. Apart from that here, I would like to mention few ways which can help you avoid system implementation woes through a rigorous testing process.
- Phasing In Changes
Many times companies end up taking on two major projects at once, such as a DC and new systems and underestimate the amount of work and time required. Do you think they could be done at separate times? There are numerous ways that can be implemented within the system to minimize changes made to the commercial software. Besides you can even think of taking lower priority changes be implemented in later versions.
- System test
One of the best practices is to have a separate system incidences or copies for production, testing, training, and backup. Your application license needs to allow these incidences. In the test incidence, build a test set of transactions that can be used as system changes are made. This will ensure thorough testing and save time testing for as long as you have the system.
- Pilot testing
Here you can think of getting users involved in making sure the system configuration, set up and customized programming is tested and works to the script they-and management-expect. Devise a written test plan. Here are simple steps in a test process:
- Create warehouse locations
- Download item files to the WMS
- Test inbound and outbound EDI
- Create advanced ship notices (ASNs) or purchase orders to receive against
- Receive new receipt
- Test QA functions
- Put the new receipt away to bulk and forward picking
- Test replenishment
- Pick orders, shipping and manifesting
- Test cycle counting
- Test the interface to material handling equipment (MHE) and all devices
- Quality Control
In the present scenario, several organizations have implemented a practice where people are dedicated to QA for program changes and set up in the system testing environment. However, it isn’t so much a matter of trust but the need for an independent, objective party that can take into account the total picture of testing from both the user and IT perspective.
- Volume testing
The very best resource is to rely on the vendor to provide support and benchmarking results that objectively validate the application and configuration will be successful based on your current and projected volumes.
- Final Sign-Off by Department
The first level of sign-off should be the department management. For this, I personally recommend involving senior management in the final sign-off process as they are responsible to the stakeholders.
Do not pull the trigger on a system implementation if the test results show it isn’t ready for production. After a long schedule and investment, there is often a lot of pressure to implement quickly.