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Did you know that
companies such as Circuit City, Verizon,
Honeywell, Sport Chalet and more
700 others are now able to upgrade their WMS
for under $8,000*?
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By contrast, others
are spending $400,000 or more
every few yearséeven when they receive free software upgrades
under their vendor és maintenance
contract. This is because the service cost to install these
upgrades and bring any customer-specific configurations and
modifications forward to the latest release becomes a costly,
This report will explain
why traditional upgrades are so costly, and how
HighJump Software, a
3M company, will
empower you to break this cycle and save millions in fees over
the life of your system.
The Decision to Upgrade
Your Warehouse Management System
To actively compete
in today's ever-changing business environment, companies need
a warehouse management system (WMS) with robust, adaptable functionality
that can stand the test of time. This is often a central component
of a comprehensive system that can supplement warehouse management
operations with functionality for supply chain visibility and
event management, transportation and yard management, collaborative
inventory management, supplier execution enablement, data collection
and RFID. Collectively, these components represent a supply
chain execution (SCE) solution that can provide competitive
advantage in an ever-changing business environment.
If you're like most
logistics or IT managers and executives, you're probably relying
on a five+ year-old WMS that requires you to pay your current
provider to upgrade your system with important new features
(i.e., RFID) that address your specific business requirements.
You may also need to add new supply chain execution functionality
but are unable to implement it with your current WMS. But the
decision to upgrade is not one that can be easily made, regardless
of its necessity. The upgrade process affects more than just
your order-fulfillment operations. Long implementation periods
and the re-development of custom code create a ripple effect
throughout the organization in terms of high costs, risk to
core business processes and diminished efficiency.
The Underlying Problem:
Why does such a common
undertaking have to paralyze your operations and your profitability?
The reason: Conventional systems contain a shortcoming in their
design in that many changes can only be accomplished through
switches. Anything beyond the functionality offered with these
switches must be incorporated with the addition of inflexible
custom coding, which doesnét carry forward with an upgrade.
This custom code is added during the original system implementation
to bridge the gap between the standard product and your
company és unique needs. As further
needs develop, more code is added. In some situations, this
reaches an extreme where so many changes have been made that
any new modifications become a major undertaking, effectively
reducing or even paralyzing the systemés ability to be altered
at all. The problem with this strategy is that the system will
ultimately contain haphazard functionality that is difficult
to locate and documentéand that might adversely impact other
areas of the software application.
Continuously upgrading these types of warehouse management systems
with additional code-level changes leads to a potentially disastrous
spiral of exorbitant costs, extended timeframes, and a high
level of system and operational risk.
All previous code-based modifications have to be re-applied
when the system is upgraded. For you this means a never-ending
process that results in loss of competitive
advantage and possibly irreparable damage to key customer relationships.
At some point it becomes impossible to recognize any return
on investment because the upgrade process contains nothing but
*Please note that the
$8,000 does not
include reengineering of the business process, O/S upgrades,
hardware upgrades, database upgrades or travel expenses.
What You Can Expect
to Gain With This Report
In this report we will
examine the five critical factors every warehouse, logistics,
IT and supply chain professional must consider when evaluating
the decision to upgrade their existing WMS. We will also explore
warehouse management and supply chain execution systems from
HighJump Software, a 3M company,
and discover how the adaptability of HighJumpés
architecture eliminates the need for custom code-based modifications
and minimizes the risks associated with the typical upgrade
As a result, you will
be able to consider the possible impact involved with these
interrelated critical decision factors as you determine the
best course of action for your business, whether that means
upgrading your existing system or replacing it with a more adaptable,
The Cost Factor
The simple fact that
traditional warehouse management systems contain custom code
is the reason they are so expensive to upgrade. A full system
upgrade can push your total cost of ownership (TCO) to $1
million or moreéwhich can surpass the cost of implementing an
entirely new system. And worse, these upgrades perpetuate an
already troublesome and expensive situation.
The complexity of modifying
the code means that only the vendor or vendor-certified IT consultants
can undertake the type of modifications that you need to keep
current with customer needs. Businesses oftentimes find themselves
"held captive" by their vendors because they have no other means
of altering the code. This type of work typically requires three
to six months in development time, which can accrue a hefty
bill from your vendor for the necessary coding, testing and
debugging. Much of this is due to the fact that any previous
code-based changes made to tailor the systemés standard functionality
to fit your particular business needs must be re-applied, re-tested
Your customer service
could also be negatively affected by diminished efficiency in
the event of unexpected system downtime during the upgrade process.
Ultimately, you could lose revenue if shipments are lost, expectations
are not met and unhappy customers start exploring alternative
distribution options. Worse yet, you haven't solved the root
cause of this perpetual problem.
In short, upgrading
an antiquated code-based system keeps you tied to your vendor
for costly modifications.
The Time Factor
you're already short on time. With the speed of today's unpredictable
business environment, you'd probably prefer to spend your day
managing customer expectations instead of managing a lengthy
upgrade to your WMS. Or perhaps the increasingly complex demands
of your customers have compressed the timeframe in which you
can implement the changes your business needs to increase efficiency
and remain competitive.
Unfortunately, the complexity
of modifying code-based processes not only requires you to wait
until your vendor can schedule the appropriate resources to
begin the project, but it also means that the modifications
involved will likely require three to six months to implement.
In some cases, the upgrade process can extend over a year due
to the intricacy of altering the underlying code.
Although many vendors
promise short implementation times, the actual process typically
goes far beyond their estimates. This happens because business
requirements are constantly changing, even while a company's
system is undergoing an upgrade. Many companies find themselves
in a situation where midway through the upgrade they have to
make additional changes which require the vendor to rework what
has just been upgraded, further delaying the completion date.
In essence, extended
periods of time spent upgrading your WMS is time not spent focused
on the efficient operation and continual improvement of your
The Risk Factor
Upgrading a typical
WMS can pose a variety of threats to your core business operations.
Once again, the prevalence of custom coding means that these
types of systems are not architected to handle change. Therefore,
the difficulty involved in code modifications represents a serious
risk for lost data and disrupted business due to system debugging
and other testing that may lead to unexpected downtime.
In addition, upgrades
made to one part of the system can have unintended effects on
related functions. The likelihood of this occurring increases
with the volume of custom code. Moreover, the traditional upgrade
process puts business operations at risk if the upgrade cannot
properly support them. Equally risky is the prospect of maintaining
a WMS infrastructure that has limited to no support from the
suppliers of related equipment and software.
Ultimately, the potential
risk to customer relationships must be considered in the upgrade
decision. Customers today demand short order cycles and high
degrees of accuracy throughout the fulfillment process. Shipping
mistakes and other customer service errors that can result from
glitches in the upgrade process can cost you dearly in lost
customers and revenue. Ironically, the upgrade process for a
code-based WMS can threaten the stability of the operations
and customer service it is intended to improve.
The Adaptability Factor
Your present need to
adapt your WMS to the changing business environment is evidence
of the fundamental importance of system adaptability. Just think
of the number of changeséboth planned and unplannedéthat have
occurred in your business over the last
12 months. Evolving markets, emerging technologies
such as RFID, changing customer preferenceséthe global economic
climate advances so quickly that no software provider can predict
what your business will need six months or a year from now.
Therein lies the problem.
It is a serious mistake
to assume that any software upgradeéno matter how comprehensive
it may seem during the initial implementationécan provide all
of the functionality your business will need down the road.
That's why adaptability is so crucial. A system upgrade that
does not meet new business requirements forces you to develop
more custom code, which puts your organization at a competitive
disadvantage as it diverts capital and resources away from other
core business goals. As discussed in examining the cost, time
and risk factors, modifying code is not an easy or risk-free
task. In the end, your company will bear unnecessary expense
and jeopardize operations in meeting the changing demands of
The inherent inflexibility
of code-based systems prohibits you from quickly and cost-effectively
reacting as your business environment changes.
The Support Factor
Whether you require
vendor support for incremental changes to your WMS, a new version
upgrade, or the answers to frequent questions, the level of
support your vendor provides is critical to your ability to
operate efficiently. Oftentimes companies decide to postpone
upgrading to the latest version of their
vendor és WMS software due to the fact that their previous
custom changes will need to be re-applied to the new version.
Unfortunately, this is essentially foregoing an upgrade to the
level of support they will receive. This occurs because the
vendorés support staff is continuously trained to deal with
issues pertaining to the most recent version of the software,
and therefore becomes less knowledgeable about previous versions
as time passes.
a potentially complex upgrade to your WMS can require you to
maintain older versions of related infrastructure such as databases,
operating systems and other software. Again, this means that
the support personnel trained to deal with these components
are focused on providing assistance for the newest versions
and not those that are several years old. In some cases, support
for older infrastructure is transferred from the original provider
to a third-party vendor, who can then charge a premium to support
organizations that elect to maintain older software and infrastructure
on an outdated WMS not only hinders efficient operations, but
also decreases the level and quality of support you receive
from your vendors.
A Better Alternative!
Software, a 3M
company, has taken a different approach
to the traditional obstacles presented by code-based systems.
Its unique architecture separates business logic from underlying
code, so the system is completely adaptable to all of your current
and future requirementséand any modifications you have made
are unaffected by the upgrade process. Therefore, you can make
your own modifications as neededéquickly, cost-effectively and
with little risk to operations.
Dramaticaly Reduced Costs
Some companies bite
the bullet and resign themselves to the belief that all warehouse
management systems, whether old or new, require the expensive
and painstaking process of custom code modification every time
the system must be changed. While this may be true for older,
proprietary systems, HighJump's
unique architecture permits changes to be made without any custom
coding. In its place are powerful configuration tools that can
be employed by the users themselves to accomplish "point and
click" changes without requiring vendor resources. This dramatically
reduces the costs of maintaining a warehouse management system
on an ongoing basis. And, more importantly, it enables companies
to avoid the code modification process for future upgradesékeeping
total cost of ownership low.
One of the key benefits
of HighJump's adaptable architecture
is that modifications are easy to make on an ongoing basis.
This solution doesn't require your operations personnel to spend
their already limited time working with your vendor to apply
new functionality. Your operations team is empowered to make
changes on an incremental basis in no time at all. In addition,
even new system installations are performed quickly due to the
fact that HighJump leads the industry
in its rate of successful implementations.
adaptable infrastructure grows with your business, thereby mitigating
many of the risks involved with typical upgrades. System downtime
is minimal as upgrades are made in hours or days, not weeks
or months. Because of this, your business is up and running
quickly with new functionality that accurately addresses the
unique needs of your business operations. Ultimately, your customer
relationships will remain strong as you deliver uninterrupted
While the expense and
time involved in typical upgrades make frequent changes to traditional
systems prohibitive, HighJump's
warehouse management system can be quickly and cost-effectively
adapted whenever needs change. This advanced, highly flexible
system allows changes to be implemented on an incremental basis
versus waiting to do massive upgrades every few years. No other
system on the market can make this statement, and it's one of
the reasons HighJump has more than 700 satisfied customers.
customers benefit from a full-system approach that supplements
software and upgrades with training, consultation and toll-free
telephone support. This support includes having the latest software
version shipped directly to you on CD-ROM, which your operations
team can then use to perform the upgrade in a matter of hours.
HighJump's unique architecture allows
all customers to receive identical upgrade packages, which enables
you to update your systemés underlying functionality without
altering any of the modifications you
may have made.
The simplicity of upgrading
HighJumpés solutions means that
youére always running on the latest versionéand you always have
access to HighJumpés support personnel
who are completely knowledgeable about dealing with your questions
and concerns. Furthermore, running the most recent version of
your HighJump system enables you
to keep current with new versions of related databases, operating
systems and software, which improves the level of support you
receive from these vendors.
Responding to changing
customer needs is a never-ending process. Many companies prefer
to endure the pain of periodic system upgrades rather than implement
an entirely new warehouse management systeméan option that may
not even be explored because of misconceptions about implementation
costs, maintenance and complexity. Forging ahead with upgrades
without looking at other options puts your company's bottom
line and competitive advantage at risk.
Software's uniquely adaptable architecture provides businesses
with a state-of-the-art WMS that can adapt to a changing business
environment. Implementing this type of flexible system as an
alternative to traditional system upgrades allows companies
to position themselves to meet the customer service demands
of the futureéwithout exorbitant fees. Typical upgrades are
simply too expensive, risky and time-consuming to implement
as often as they are needed.
HighJump Software, a
Software, a 3M
company, is the global leader in
providing highly adaptable, best-of-breed supply chain execution
solutions that streamline manufacturing and distribution from
the point of source through consumption.
's tightly integrated solutions empower operational
excelence in the warehouse and optimize
the flow of inventory throughout the supply chain by facilitating
colaboration with customers, suppliers
and trading partners. These comprehensive solutions combine
robust, standard functionality; a best practices-based implementation
methodology; and a uniquely adaptable architecture that facilitates
fast, costéeffective system modifications.
The result: the industry's lowest total cost of ownership for
more than 700
satisfied customers worldwide. As part of the 3M family, HighJump leads
the industry in financial strength and delivers on an unmatched
commitment to innovation and quality. HighJump
leverages these advantages to continualy
expand its solution footprint and empower operational
excelence for domestic and multinational
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Exemple de réflexion
sur des points clé pour une décision de changement informatique