WMS Super Users; an often overlooked but very important and necessary role to have, particularly if you are a company that does not have the IT infrastructure or support that’s regularly involved with the WMS.
What is a WMS Super User?
A WMS Super User is a person who really understands how the WMS is being used in the facility (or facilities), and also understands the unique situations which may come up where a typical user might need help. A good WMS Super User is very detail-oriented. They don’t necessarily have to be technical because that can usually be taught in steps, but what’s most important is understanding how the operation works and the impact of changing something or how something not getting done correctly will impact the operations. The WMS Super User will also need to know or learn how to speak both operational and technical languages. What if a file doesn’t get transmitted as expected? There are a lot of reasons why that can happen – a WMS Super User will research if it’s truly an issue or just a temporary glitch where something needs a reset. They are good at figuring out what the potential issues might be, where that information can be found, etc. A WMS Super User keeps detailed documentation, is a good detective and also a good teacher, passing along what they learn to others.
Why Companies Need WMS Super Users
It’s easy to dismiss the importance of having a WMS Super User; it can be hard to make the investment and justify the position from a cost perspective. Consider this; the WMS Super User is your first line of defense prior to going to software support. If an issue can be resolved in-house prior to going to support it will usually get resolved faster (and in the warehouse, time is often money). They are also the one who reaches out to support so they learn how to better work with them and troubleshoot more effectively going forward. A good WMS Super User is local and hopefully more available. They will learn and add to their knowledge as they gain different experiences, lessening the need to draw on support. This may lower software maintenance costs as you will be less likely to go over the allotted support hours per month/year. And on a final note, when its time to upgrade your software, the Super User becomes your champion and quality assurance in making sure the new system is continuing to support the business as designed.
How to Identify a WMS Super User
You may think you don’t have a WMS Super User; many companies have one (or more) and don’t realize it. It’s usually that person who is always called or asked first when there’s an issue with the WMS because they’re so knowledgeable and capable with the system. This person truly understands how the system works; and not just the quickest way to sidestep an issue, as sidestepping often leads to a bigger issue down the road. They’re also often the person who makes the software support calls (unless you’re in one of those rare facilities where pretty much everyone calls software support as needed). Maybe it’s time to give that person some recognition and the formal title of WMS Super User.
You Can’t Have Just One WMS Super User
There will be a big investment in knowledge in this person – and you have to make sure that as a company you’re protecting that knowledge by not keeping it all in one individual. It’s good to identify two or more people and provide them the training. One could be the main go-to contact, with the second individual used as backup but still getting the knowledge and experience by teaming with the other WMS Super User. WMS Super Users need to have an apprentice. Multi-shift operations will often organically produce multiple WMS Super Users.
Once you have a WMS Super User, Now What?
Be sure to provide your WMS Super Users with training on a regular basis. Today, training is often offered online and may not even require travel or separate costs (some level of training might be included in your software support or maintenance package). This person can help figure out how to better use the system to help your company accomplish something; try to make sure that you give them the opportunity to team with a resource that will actually show your WMS Super Users how to do something (i.e., this may come from the software company support itself or a third party integrator; someone who has the knowledge and is willing to teach your WMS Super Users. Attending software vendor conferences like JDA FOCUS can also be a great way to get educated on what is coming in future releases to help judge when it may be time to upgrade (or not), learn how others are handling their challenges, etc.
- If you have a WMS Super User, you are on the right track.
- If you have more than one, you have made a wise investment in your company and your people.
- If you don’t have any, today’s the day to choose your first WMS Super User!
Contact Open Sky Group today to learn more about how we work with our support clients and assist in the training of WMS Super Users.