Recently, we’ve seen the economic impacts of UK’s Mini Budget; with food prices increasing, prices at the pump surging, worker shortages in key sectors, and rising mortgage rates. These economic impacts have allowed us to see first-hand the adverse effects of not having a strategic testing plan in place to catch and tackle the wider issues at play that can completely derail the outcomes you want to achieve.
All projects have a testing phase and unfortunately, testing is very rarely given the priority it needs. Is there a reason why projects some projects don’t fulfil on their full potential? From our experience, rushing the testing can derail the project immediately or even later down the road, causing both organisations and their customers to suffer delays and increased costs. Poorly integrated or rushed testing during a project implementation is one of the biggest bottlenecks (if not the biggest) for getting solutions into production as quickly as possible. It can be costly to put this right and will certainly impact everyone involved.
Organisations of any size, that are dealing with logistics need an extension to their operations to include an outline of their approach to test strategy; you need credible testing to ultimately determine if it will all add up to meet your intended results. If this is done successfully, you’ll find a little talked about benefit in the process, while celebrating a successful WMS implementation.
A proper testing strategy and approach will not only allow for a speedy deployment, but also reduces the risk to the business. Implementing a test strategy the right way avoids some of the biggest issues affecting projects today which is maintaining customer and employee satisfaction throughout the project lifecycle and allowing businesses to achieve their full potential. Here at Bricz UK, we surveyed some of our experienced supply chain consultants to share the key testing highlights to help deliver a successful WMS implementation:
In order to get good test coverage, it must include data preparation and housekeeping, this part is almost always the most time-consuming. The cross-functional team working to design test cases should have a good understanding of the data when creating the tests scripts, as using valid data that mimics the real world is just as crucial as the warehouse business process itself as it will allow you to get a full overview of the requirements that need to be tested.
Perform End to End Test
It’s critical to validate the system from start to finish as a user in order to check the full application flow as well as the accuracy of the data movements and other integrations and connections in-between all connect systems.
Automated testing provides continuous assessment of a system’s capabilities and limitations without disrupting product flow. Meanwhile, automated testing can simulate thousands of actions within a WMS in seconds. The very best resource is to rely on the vendor to provide support and benchmarking results that objectively validate the application and configuration some key areas to test a system can include (RF floor transactions, Wave Processing, Host Interface Processes, MHE/WCS Interfaces and Report Execution).
Include a “Day in Life” Test Scenario
Prepare a day’s worth of real data which can be used to cross test the system, end to end (data, integration, processes) and include your subject experts to validate the test results.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Most go-lives fail because there isn’t enough user testing. Confidence in the system will fail if users aren’t engaged.
Buy the Strongest Coffee Available
Arguably, the most crucial part of testing. Ensuring you and your team stay motivated to power through the long days of testing.
There is no substitute for thorough testing. Before systems integration testing begins, a dedicated chain of systems should be set up and ‘smoke’ tested by all teams involved in the process. For integration to work properly, the host system must generate purchase orders and distribution orders and route them to the correct WMS. As soon as the WMS system is configured to send inventory and shipment information, these systems need to be ready to consume and confirm that the data is correctly generated. WMS processes benefit from both the review and discipline of a strict testing regime. Thorough testing can help operations learn how the system works and how best to use it early in the project, which will be crucial for the success of the project.
With these strong testing strategies in place, you can discover the hidden benefit in the process- optimising the potential in your people and delivering valuable opportunities to them. The opportunities testing presents for any team member of the project to get a deeper understanding of the system is invaluable, so we recommend getting the project team members involved as early as possible. It can ultimately have a big advantage in the success of the project
To implement a successful WMS and see the full range of benefits to your organisation, many moving parts must be coordinated and having a trusted advisor on your side with experience orchestrating and navigating complicated supply chain implementations can alleviate the drain on your internal team while positioning a more experienced resource on the critical tasks and helping to train your team for the future.
At Bricz UK, our team is helping organisations develop testing strategies focused on key areas of the testing lifecycle all while allowing you to develop your people.
Contributor: Zamier Mohammed, Supply Chain Consultant at Bricz