When planning your WMS budget, the two most important areas to pay attention to are user licenses, costs, and professional service fees. Companies often underestimate equipment requirements, server capacities, and communication bandwidth. It is possible that your equipment requirements are more complicated than you think to get the best functionality from the WMS or any add-on modules.
You may have barcode scanning in your eCommerce fulfillment center. This could make it easier to use the devices, which can help reduce hardware costs. To ensure compatibility, this will need to be verified with the WMS vendor. Some might need to purchase a new set of scanners, backup batteries, and other equipment. Most people are left with questions after scanning.
These costs are often underestimated and can cause your budget to be destroyed. Management may also request additional funding to help you implement the project. Sometimes, settling for less equipment can lead to less desirable workarounds and additional steps. While it might be cheaper to purchase equipment initially, labor costs will increase over time.
This checklist contains 8 points to help you budget for WMS equipment.
Computing for End Users
Different people need different computers, tablets, or handhelds to access the WMS. Director, inventory control, and first-line managers typically have offices on the floor. For some applications or add-ons, small handheld devices might not be sufficient for WMS access.
Take a look at every department function and decide what input, printing, and data display they require. Then, determine which devices and the best tools to use.
Also read: 13 Types of Supply Chain Management Tools
All printing requirements by the department should be considered, including item-level barcodes, receiving worksheets, peel and stick shipping labels, and receiving worksheets. An upgrade to the WMS might require different printers than a standard wifi-connected unit. You will need to verify that any printers you have can be used with the new WMS, just as with scanners. Can a network card or wifi-based printer be inserted?
WMS will determine which type of printer is needed, what the output per day and peak hours are, as well as the number of printers required by each department or user. These requirements and equipment will differ from one facility to the next.
Wireless Access Points
Access points wireless are essential. They are essential as there is no way to access the WMS via handheld or truck-mounted devices without them. They connect all devices and users to the system, ensuring that fulfillment continues to run smoothly.
Wireless access is essential for many critical devices. To accurately determine the type and number of access points, based on user activity, transaction volume, and facility characteristics, you should use a third party who specializes in site surveys.
Devices and Scanners
There are many styles of wrist-mounted and handheld devices, scanners, tablets, and tablets that can access the WMS.
The team will need to decide how many users you have and whether existing handhelds can be used with the new WMS. You should consider how many spare units are required in the event of a hardware failure or software malfunction, as well as whether you require replacement batteries for multi-shift fulfillment centers.
You should budget for protective cases, chargers, and holsters. Also, remember to plan for maintenance programs that will replace damaged units. They are worth it.
A truck-mounted computer/device is required if you depend on forklift operators for replenishment and put away. They are usually equipped with a wireless or tethered scanner.
Pack Station Hardware
Are packers going to scan the items before packing? A scanner and computer will be required if they do. Your pack station may not require hardware if it does not. What number of pack stations will you need to accommodate future growth? Is packing and manifesting done at the same station and step? What does this mean for hardware requirements? What scanner is used to verify scans?
A computer, scanner, and printer are required at the manifesting station. A scale is also required. It should be connected to the network to allow weights to be automatically entered into the WMS. What number of shipping stations do you need? Are your current hardware and software compatible? If you have an existing system, can you test it properly? Rolltop scales are a good investment to improve ergonomics.
Also read: What is POS Inventory Management System
Additional Budgeting Tips
Budgeting for equipment should include electrical and communications contractor fees. This is especially important when you consider wireless access points, electric drops for packing and manifesting, or other management work hubs.
Are there any existing relationships between WMS and hardware providers that could help you? Bundling products or using a vendor with a strong relationship with WMS vendors can often result in discounts.
Don’t forget to involve the IT department. They are just as familiar with the WMS and their equipment requirements as you. As a group, plan, and budget.
This is the most difficult aspect of planning for an increase in volume during peak eCommerce periods, especially seasonal. Plan in detail, making sure you have enough communication bandwidth and access to the equipment so that your productivity and order throughput is not affected. Your staff may have to sell equipment that software vendors don’t offer.