A significant investment in time and money is needed to integrate Warehouse Management Software (WMS) and Transportation Management Software (TMS). Is it really worth it?
You know the answer is “yes.” Still, a project of this scope can seem daunting.
Let’s break it down.
First, the advantages.
- It’s a simple fact. When WMS and TMS systems talk with one another, better supply chain visibility will result. Not only that, but seamless data flow enables better inventory planning.
- Out on the dock and in the warehouse, operational efficiencies will emerge during the integration of a WMS/TMS system.
- Your customers, as well your vendors, are adopting these systems. A fully-integrated system will maintain your ability to collaborate with these partners.
- Rapidly evolving technologies—including machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)—require a WMS/TMS system that can communicate with them.
Next, the (perceived) challenge
You are probably wondering, ‘how difficult is this going to be?’
Like any complex undertaking, the key is to break down the process into manageable segments. But not before you fully understand your business strategy and process. Then identify what needs improvement.
Carefully defining your specific situation and goals will help you effectively vet systems—and potential system providers.
There are a wide array of systems and within each system a full menu of capabilities. You almost certainly don’t need every component, so a well-developed plan will help steer you away from the “shiny new objects” that can seem appealing but don’t really add value to your operations.
To start, an integrated system must be well suited to meet your basic needs. In our experience, for example, simply standardizing the entry of date and time for events produced an immediate benefit by providing a consistent record of when shipments get checked out from the warehouse and when they are delivered.
Finally, don’t fly solo
You don’t need to—and probably shouldn’t—go it alone with WMS/TMS integration.
Find the right partner to work with you. This is a big step because you’ll want a partner who shares your values, and who you can trust.
The right partner will:
- Focus on your objectives and long-term growth strategy;
- Provide full transparency in system design, engineering, costs, and pricing;
- Take an active interest in your business with on-site visits and welcome you to get to know them with ready access to their key staff.
A successful partnership with your WMS & TMS software providers and integration partner(s) will result in a long-term relationship, with benefits for both parties. That will take a while, but the time to start is now.