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WMS Implementation, Optimization, and Support (PkMS, WMOS, RedPrairie, High Jump)

What your WMS Vendor Doesn't Want you to Know

May 26

Written by:
5/26/2016 12:42 AM  RssIcon

I recently came across an interesting article on DC Velocity's website entitled "What Your WMS Vendor Doesn't Want You to Know" - Dec 2009 by James A Cooke.  Of course it is what our company has been preaching for years and has resulted in many happier WMS users. It essentially states that just because you bought your car from the dealer, it doesn't mean you have to put up with their high prices and poor customer service to get the oil changed.

When it comes to repairs, savvy automobile owners have long known they can get a price break and more personal service by bringing their car to an independent garage rather than the local dealer. Now, owners of some warehouse management systems (WMS) have that "outside garage" option as well. In the past few years, several third-party software maintenance firms have appeared on the scene to provide support for specific brands of warehouse management systems.

I  think this is a good analogy that helps put the question of third party WMS support into perspective. 

We've had many a prospective client ask us sheepishly, "Is it OK with if we use your company to support and enhance our application?" "No!", I retort, "Of course it is not OK with them. They want to protect their services revenue." 

But....does that mean you can't use a third party? Of course not. And I hear of many companies asking their WMS vendor if they can use a third party. And of course the account manager at the software vendor is going to say "No". He's got a quota to protect. The fact is some software vendors out there have gotten to big for their britches. They forget who pays their bills, who's the reason they are a viable company, and that we are in a free market economy. They attempt to bully their customers into thinking that they can only buy from them. 

Despite the apparent advantages offered by third-party software firms, some users remain leery. P.J. Jakovljevic, an analyst for the Boston-based software consulting firm Technology Evaluation Centers, says users are often reluctant to switch to outside support firms out of fear of burning bridges with the vendor. They're afraid that if something happens to the third-party firm, the vendor won't take them back as a customer or will charge a hefty penalty to do so, he explains.

Just as with independent auto repair shops, these third-party software maintenance shops generally charge a lot less than the vendor would. "You ask for modifications from the vendor and it's going to cost $175 to $200 an hour for their staff to do what you ask them to do," says Phil Obal, president of Industrial Data and Information Inc., an independent software research company based in Tulsa, Okla. "The third party can do it for less."

But if you want better customer service and lower pricing equating to an overall better value for your company, then try a third party firm.

Smart distribution managers will start quietly checking around to find out if third-party support services are available for their particular WMS. At the moment, this option is available for a limited number of WMS packages, so their search may come up empty. But that could change in the very near future. This market is projected to grow over the next year.

Excercise your rights to better pricing, better service, better value, check into a third party firm for your WMS Support needs.

About Chad Richardson

Chad Richardson is a veteran in the WMS software space. He has worked for Manhattan Associates in Product Management and Professional Services and has founded or co-founded two companies that help Fortune 1,000 companies Optimize, Implement, Upgrade, and Support enterprise WMS systems. He currently holds the position of Principal at his latest company, Incite, LLC, and can be contacted at 720-261-8198.

Copyright ©2016 Incite, LLC

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