Your Roadmap to Successful Mobile Inventory Management System Implementation

  • Data Collection
  • Digital Transformation
  • ERP Systems

If you are one of the many organizations that use an ERP platform for inventory control, then you already know how powerful this technology can be. But in today’s fast-paced supply chains, extending these capabilities onto the warehouse or shop floor with enterprise mobility is crucial to stay competitive.

Implementing new software is no cakewalk. For some, it can feel like wandering a complex maze. However, with the right approach and software partner, you can easily navigate the labyrinth and reap significant benefits for your business, ensuring a smooth, successful implementation.

This article will walk you through the key stages of implementing a new mobile inventory management system (IMS). You’ll gain insights on what to expect, as well as the best practices used by industry leaders with decades of implementation experience.

Let’s dive in!

Building the Foundation: Pre-Implementation Phase

Key Considerations for Successful Implementation

Before skipping right to the implementation itself, it’s crucial to build a solid foundation. If you haven’t already talked to your new software provider about your team’s role in the project, now is the time. Your active involvement contributes significantly to a successful outcome.

Prior to implementing your software, you will want to:

Build Your Business Case

The first important step is to build a strong business case. A business case is the cornerstone of any successful technology project, helping you secure buy-in from key decision-makers. It also provides the foundation for the project roadmap.

When building your business case, speak with internal and external stakeholders to formulate answers to the following questions:

  • What are the top business problems you aim to solve?
  • Why is this important now?
  • How much is the problem costing the company?
  • Have you identified a solution and how much does it cost?
  • What is the financial payback or Return on Investment (ROI)?
  • What are the competing projects and how do they rank in priority?

Once completed, communicate these answers to your potential mobile software vendor. This way, they can better support you in determining the best solution for your operation and calculating ROI.

Building Your Technology Business Case

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Ensure Technology Compatibility with Existing Systems

Don’t put the cart before the horse. Make sure your new software is compatible with your existing systems. For example, RFgen’s mobile platform has standard ERP integrations for major platforms, such as:

This may require thorough vetting through IT, and possibly stakeholders from other departments and members of your organization’s buying committee. Trying to move forward with a project without IT’s approval will likely stall the implementation, sometimes permanently.

The Insider’s Guide to Choosing the Best Inventory Software

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Know Thyself: Perform an Honest Self-Evaluation

An essential component of your team’s homework is the self-evaluation. This will help you understand your current processes. Even if you think you know how your business processes work, often the reality is very different. While this may take some time, it’s a very important factor in project success.

In our experience, every buyer should follow these 4 steps:

  1. Set up an internal task force to define ineffective processes and desired outcomes.
  2. Take time to understand your processes as they actually operate, not just in theory.
  3. Create clear, actionable goals as a way to reduce project risk and measure success.
  4. Reach out to vendors for support—there’s nothing like a strategic partner to help you get the project rolling!

Symbiosis & Synergy: Consulting, ERP Systems, and Inventory Management

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The Implementation Process: Key Stages

Now we get to the implementation process itself. Here’s a step-by-step guide on the best process for successfully implementing your new mobile inventory platform:

Stage 1: Planning

You may have heard the saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” That logic applies to the project planning phase. An effective plan is crucial to successful execution.

This stage involves defining your business goals, assembling a dedicated project team, and creating a detailed project plan. During this phase, you will meet with your project team to begin the project, discuss needs and timelines, and introduce key personnel on all sides. The project manager will play a crucial role in facilitating communication, tracking timelines, and managing resources.

Stage 2: Design

The design stage builds on the groundwork laid during planning. It involves conducting a Business Analysis Workshop (BAW) to understand your business processes and current workflows. The BAW document serves as the final product scope for development, outlining detailed specifications for each application you’ll be implementing.

The BAW process is an ideal time to leverage your vendor’s business intelligence and implementation experience to refine your strategic objectives.

Stage 3: Development

In the development stage, your team will work closely with the lead consultant and project manager to build your solution according to the BAW. This includes software installation and software configuration, custom mobile app development, and quality assurance testing.

For RFgen adopters, this phase is greatly shortened due to Mobile Edge™’s ability to be quickly tailored based on flexible, pre-made templates.

Stage 4: Testing & Delivery

Test, test, and test some more!

The delivery stage involves a series of quality assessments to verify system readiness. These include Functional Acceptance Testing (FAT), User Acceptance Testing (UAT), and Go Live preparation.

Only once the testing has been perfected should your new solution hit the big green button on GO LIVE—the moment of truth.

Also, it’s a good idea to remain in close contact with your solution provider in the hours and days after, just in case you need responsive go live support.

Post-Implementation & Beyond: Next Steps

The journey doesn’t end when your mobile system goes live. It’s just the beginning. Your staff will need training on the new product so they know how to use it. Regular monitoring of workflow effectiveness and KPIs will inform continuous improvement. And, of course, you may want to expand the scope of your solution or scale it to new facilities. In this case, reach out to your provider’s technical support team to begin the process.

Expand your solution, scale to new sites, or give your apps an uplift.

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Common Pitfalls in Mobile IMS Implementation

Even with the best intentions, things can go awry. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Lack of Clear Goals: Don’t sail without a compass! Without clear goals, you’re sailing in the dark. Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your implementation.
  2. Inadequate Training: Don’t skimp on training. Your system is only as good as the people using it. Software with high usability helps, but training is essential to get the most out of your new technology investment.
  3. Resistance to Change: Change is hard, but necessary. Address any resistance head-on and foster a culture of continuous improvement. Training, usability, and ease of use are good tools to help overcome resistance.

It’s a Wrap

Implementing a modern mobile inventory system is a monumental step toward operational maturity and scalability. It not only streamlines your stock management processes but also reduces errors, improves scalability, and results in significant time and cost savings. By following the stages outlined above and leveraging the right tools and expertise, you can master the maze of implementation and set your business up for success.

FAQs

Now, let’s clear up some common questions about inventory management system implementation:

1. How long does it take to implement a Mobile IMS?


The timeframe can vary widely based on your business size, complexity, and specific needs. Most software solutions that involve customization can take 9-12 months. RFgen’s platform-based solution can be implemented in under 4 months. A phased approach can get your solution up and running sooner while adhering to an aggressive implementation timeline.


2. How much does a Mobile IMS cost?


Again, this depends on various factors like the size of your business, the features you need, and the provider you choose. Make sure to do thorough research and get quotes from multiple providers. Upfront cost may not matter as much if the mobile solution can deliver quick ROI in under 12 months. The difference in time-to-deployment can make a huge impact on total cost of ownership (TCO) when all is said and done.


3. What if my staff is resistant to the new system?


Change can be challenging, but clear communication and robust training can help ease the transition. Highlight the benefits of the new system and how it will make everyone’s job easier. If your mobile solution has an intuitive, modern interface, the risk of failed user adoption will be significantly lower.


4. How do I know if my Mobile IMS is successful?


Look at your pre-defined goals. Are you achieving them? Cost savings and overhead reduction should be high on the list of factors for success. While quantitative factors like KPIs and ROI are fairly straightforward to measure, also consider qualitative factors like staff morale and customer satisfaction.


5. Can I implement a Mobile IMS myself, or do I need professional help?


While it’s possible to implement an IMS yourself, it’s usually best to seek professional help from the software provider, especially if you’re dealing with large-scale operations or complex needs.