Why it’s critical to consider long-term business objectives and trends when implementing a WMS or WCS

It is a mistake to build a WMS or WCS based solely on current product mixes and order velocities. Instead, be sure to consider long-term objectives, as well as industry trends. Heed this cautionary tale: In the past, many distribution centers built their systems to exclusively convey cases.

Now, they are struggling with ‘eaches’ due to e-commerce shifts. Ultimately, the best WMS/WCS design is one that allows the business to adapt to changes and variability within supply chains.

How do WMS/WCS solve for inventory management on a job or project basis?

Inventory management on a project basis is a matter of inventory ownership. Even if most inventory is tied to a specific job or a specific project, there is almost always some inventory that is used in common. This common stock is usually low-valued items such as nuts, bolts, and washers. Even so, it needs to be included in the conversation about integrating a WMS or WCS with an ERP.

What is a typical timeline for an integration to a WMS?

Timelines for WMS integration projects vary. A good ballpark estimate is two to three months from the start of the project cycle to being able to test the integration in a test environment. Three elements are required to begin the project cycle: an understanding of the various roles of the systems being integrated, defined touch points, and defined functionality. Once those three elements are place, it is possible to define the error conditions and how to automatically recover from them. All of this is part of the design effort. Ultimately, the design needs to be put into a test environment, so that the error conditions can be tested to make sure both sides recover. Testing like that takes additional time, but it is worth it in the long run.

Where can we find information about specific WMS/WCS integrations to VLMs or other hardware?

For more information about specific WMS/WCS integrations to VLMs or other hardware, reach out to the hardware manufacturer. Every manufacturer has their own interface, message formats, and other details specific to that interface. Talk to the manufacturer to ensure your integration proceeds as effectively and efficiently as possible.

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