I shake my head when I see it. And, unfortunately I see it all too often. In this case, I am talking about the biggest myth of WMS implementations. This is that testing is a phase of the project.
But I get it, it is a convenient way for people to think about a project. Actually, it is the way I used to think about a project until I had a revelation several years ago. Testing is not an 'event'. It needs to be part of the core processes in a project. Think of it is a constant challenge process. I call it Validation. More about that in a bit.
The best WMS implementations are a result of a collaborative effort between Operations and the WMS Implementation team. I am drawing a distinction here between them knowing that Operations representation should be part of the core WMS implementation team. Anyway, instead of the word 'test', we use the word 'validate' to describe the process.
Why? Because testing has sort of a pass/fail connotation to it. We use the idea of validation to describe a process that includes sort of "Hey did it crash sort of testing," but which also measures "the exactness of fit," performance and operational ergonomics. We are really describing micro-level process improvement loops inside the WMS implementation.
Think about the side benefits of this. First, operations does not feel like they've been 'handed' a system. They've collaborated in the tuning of it prior to go-live. Second, you are giving hands-on exposure to important operations resources throughout the project live-cycle. This sort of repetitive exposure to the system allows the operations team to operate more effectively during and after go-live.
For anyone exposed to 'Agile' project methodologies, you will recognize what I've been describing. But, you don't have to subscribe Agile (and all that comes with it) to run with this either. It can work like this:
Now, the downside of this approach in a WMS has to do with the nature of a running operation. That is, a mistake in the process in step 1 (say, picking) can manifest itself in problems in step 5 (shipping let's say). You can solve this by adding an a separate process that focuses on functional or end-to-end validation.
Using this validation approach will dramatically change the nature and success of a WMS implementation.
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