WMS Modifications: Bridging the differences between IT and Ops

An ideal Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) allows for continuous improvement. In striving towards that ideal, it may be difficult for a VP or Director of distribution to work together with IT to improve the system, as IT may be overloaded or reluctant to make changes due to perceived risk.

When these situations arise, it's important to leave emotion at the door and work through your modifications as a business decision, not an emotional one. Focusing on the three points below can help you create a list of pros and cons, which will and let operations (the revenue stream) make the call.

What's the Informed Risk? Though the disciplines that IT brings to the table can help mitigate those risks. When planning, IT should seek to minimize risk and inform Ops of the options, if there are any, in approaching any issue.

What's the Potential ROI? This should be a quantifiable and IT should work with Ops to correctly define this.

What are the Opportunity Costs? There's a good chance you don't have endless resources or endless budgets. Doing Enhancement A might mean we cannot do Enhancement B and C. Operations, not IT, needs to make the call and live with it.

If you're on the IT team and you're having trouble seeing eye to eye, remember that Ops is responsible for revenue, and you are in support of that mission. However, while you support Operations, you are not responsible for the actions of the Ops team. This doesn't mean you should let them modify the system willy-nilly; instead, let Ops set the direction the WMS should go in and, do your best to lay out the plan and describe the pitfalls.

And for the frustrated Ops and trucking logistics workers out there, bear in mind that IT is responsible for system stability. It is important that the processes IT puts in place are in lock-step with the business requirements. This not only makes IT happy, but will produce the proper documentation and other artifacts that will leave the system in great condition while helping you move at the right pace.

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