October 6th, 2023 | 3PL, eCommerce, Logistics, Order processing

Choosing a New WMS – The Cost of Doing Nothing

Choosing a new WMS platform to drive your warehouse operations is a daunting prospect. Deliveries will keep coming in and orders must keep flowing out while at the same time your team get to grips with a new system. Even if the long term benefits are obvious it’s tempting to defer the decision until the last possible moment.

As with many big decisions, waiting until there is no longer any alternative is not going to end well. There are lots of reasons to put off making a change, one of the biggest is that the hidden costs of sticking with your current platform are hard to quantify.

Warehouse problems
Warehouse problems


It can be fiendishly difficult to quantify the cost to your business of a suboptimal warehouse process or an intermittent error but the case for making a change becomes far clearer when you think instead of the cumulative impact of these problems on the business.

  • Poorly designed warehouse processes will mean you have to take on extra staff or run extended shifts more often than should be necessary. If you can’t give your staff the tools they need they’ll be tempted to look for an employer who can.
  • Inaccurate inventory figures or errors in fulfilling customer orders will increase your customer churn, if you can’t get the basics right your customers will look elsewhere.
  • Poor stock control and inefficient usage of space will conspire to cost you money, ultimately forcing you to move into larger premises far earlier than should be necessary.
  • A lack of integration with the other key systems, either internal or external can threaten the service you are able to provide or leave you struggling with ongoing manual workarounds instead of a one-time technical fix.
  • Inflexible systems or an unresponsive supplier risk leaving your business unable to react to changes in technology or legislation. Could your company provide a satisfactory response if asked to demonstrate consumer data held in your WMS platform conformed with GDPR best practise or if a major customer asked about the mechanism in place to provide the end-to-end traceability needed to support a product recall.

Your existing WMS may provide a workable solution for another two or three years but if the writing is on the wall you should start planning for it’s replacement as soon as possible. Giving yourself enough time to consider your alternatives, specify a solution that’s really tailored to your needs and then scheduling the move for your off-peak period makes the whole process.

Changing your WMS platform is a long term undertaking, if you’re concerned that your current platform is no longer right for your business it can be helpful to start taking some notes to add structure to your thoughts.

Step 1 – Identify the changes you’d like to see
Start to build a list of the changes you’d like to be able to introduce into your warehouse processes, be explicit about focus on the high level challenges your business faces (staff retention, customer churn, rising labour costs, etc.). Identify

Step 2 – Understand your current options
Confirm whether or not any of the requirements you’ve identified can actually be addressed by your current supplier and what cost would be associated with the changes. Be realistic, if your supplier has a history of failing to meet their commitments you may not be able to rely of the assurances they provide, asking to talk to other users for whom they’ve done similar work can be a useful way of gauging whether they’re likely to deliver..

Step 3 – Look for alternatives
Engage with other alternative WMS suppliers to assess what they have available. Make it clear that you’re in the early stages of assessing your options, suppliers should understand that choosing a new WMS can be a slow process and be happy to discuss options with you in a general way.

We frequently talk to companies on and off for two or three years before they’re actually ready to make a decision.

If you are interested in a structured review of your warehouse operations OrderFlow can work with you to complete a detailed requirements gathering exercise that will identify the optimal workflow for each of your key warehouse processes and then provide detailed process flow diagrams that shows how OrderFlow would be configured to deliver it.

Step 4 – Make a Plan
Come up with a plan that identifies either your target migration date if the issue is pressing or the ‘trigger events’ that would prompt you to move from your existing system (e.g. moving to new premises, order volumes increasing by 20% etc.).

If you are coming up against the limitations of your existing WMS or are struggling to get the support you need get in touch with OrderFlow to see how we can help. Our team of multi-skilled professionals has a wealth of experience in the world of warehouse management, our OrderFlow platform provides a scalable enterprise WMS that can deliver the changes you need.

Why not give us a call on 01249 750564 or drop an email to enquiries@orderflow-wms.co.uk to find out more?