While it may have been the only available course of action as the economy was spiraling downward, continuing to postpone a WMS initiative in the face of recovery is not a safe bet. As positive growth returns for an operation, the need to do this critical infrastructure work only intensifies.
Waiting too long can put an enterprise at a competitive disadvantage. Furthermore, many operations have to schedule WMS initiatives around peak season blackout windows. Delaying the start of a WMS project may mean pushing back plans yet another year.
Postponing the project also magnifies the impact of time and resource challenges. You will not only get a better price by acting now; you will also have better leverage with software vendors and integrators in scheduling and getting the ‘A-team’ assigned to your project. Wait too long and you may find the competition for attention and resources further delaying your project.
Get Ahead Of The Curve
If the need exists, you have to try to be ahead of the curve. Some folks may believe that is a risky course.
For many, it still is not a comfortable climate to even suggest a major capital project. But waiting runs the distinct risk of being called to account for inaction a couple of years down the road. If your distribution operation is hurting in 2011 or 2012 because of sub-performing warehousing systems, saying that you tried to play it safe in 2010 is not going to cut it.
With 2010 here and recovery looming on the planning horizon, it is time for distribution operations to give careful consideration to WMS needs. If you have been sitting on a WMS selection, implementation, or upgrade, now is the time for action. There are certainly limits on what some companies can do at this point in time, but do not let that keep you from at least moving ahead with the planning process.
Take a look at your needs and invest some effort in refining your business case. If a solid case exists, push it the best you can. Do it in a manner that educates the key financial decision makers on the potential risks and penalties of delaying action. Even if your initiative gets shot down, you will have an easier time moving ahead as conditions improve. You will be making the safe bet for you and your company by keeping WMS high on your priority list.
Singer is a principal with Tompkins Associates Inc., Raleigh, NC.