Congratulations! You’ve made the leap of bringing on new tech to your warehouse.... now what?
In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect when you’re expecting a new software. We’ll discuss the process of onboarding the new software platform in your warehouse and how to avoid some common pitfalls. We’ll focus on the onboarding process for transportation and warehouse management software (TWMS), but much of the advice can be applied to other management platforms as well.
But first...What is a TWMS?
A TWMS is a software platform that combines the capabilities of a traditional warehouse management system (WMS) and a transportation management system (TMS). TWMS software enables seamless processes between your business's warehouse and transportation operations. While ShipCaddie TWMS is the first-to-market TWMS platform, much of the advice in this article could be applied to a traditional WMS, TMS, or ERP.
The Onboarding Process:
The onboarding process will typically take between 6-8 weeks. This period will cover software selection to warehouse-wide implementation. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, below is the general workflow your business should follow:
- Do your homework
- Define requirements
- Create a timeline
- Get your team onboard
- Test, train, go live (and repeat)
Do your homework:
Selecting the right software for your company will be a challenge but, having clearly defined goals and shopping for specific features will help you narrow your search. Another great way to field software is to initiate contact with your top choices and request demos or training for the platforms. This will help you get a feel for the platform and its functionality.
Popular features for these software platforms include carrier integrations, data visualizations, virtual warehousing, and integrated billing.
Once you have picked software, it's time to define how you want the software to be used. Common areas businesses want to improve by using a TWMS are the customer post-purchase experience, operational efficiency, and growth capabilities. Having an idea of the ways you would like the software to help your business will allow you to create specific KPIs for the software. These KPIs should be clear, quantitative, and processes to assess the success of the KPIs should be in place.
Create a timeline:
The next step in this process is to create a timeline for onboarding. We recommend working with your software provider for a general timeline. Then, break down each KPIs from the previous step into actionable items. We recommend creating a timeline that dictates which department is responsible for each step, has a clear flow of communication, and enough extra room to make changes along the way.
Get your team onboard:
It's all about teamwork! The daily operators of the new software are going to be crucial to the success of your onboarding process. For this reason, getting your team onboard will be vital.
We recommend listening to these employees at every stage of implementation and training. They will provide the best insight into aspects that are successful and what could use improvement. Additionally, close communication with this team will allow you to identify gaps in your training program.
Test, train, go live (and repeat):
We highly recommend a cycle of testing, training, and going live when onboarding new software. This cycle should start with small batch testing of the new software. This could mean having a small group of employees beginning to use the software for their daily tasks. After a period of testing, this group should discuss the successes and challenges they encountered. Use their insights to create a training program to help train additional employees. It is also extremely helpful to work with your software provider to build out your training program and provide training materials.
After your team is well trained and the company’s goals are thoroughly communicated, it’s time to ‘go live’! This is the last big step of implementation. The whole team will begin using the software for their daily tasks.
But... it’s not over yet. Be sure to periodically reevaluate if the KPIs you set out to achieve are progressing and if the daily users are taking full advantage of the software’s features. When tweaks need to be made, repeat the test, train, go live cycle.
If your business has decided to bring on a new TWMS or other software platform, it is going to be vital to have clearly defined goals, an achievable timeline, and an ability to reassess along the way. Following the above recommendations is a great start.
If you would like to learn more about the onboarding process for ShipCaddie TWMS, please reach out to us today!