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Remote Control WMS

03 June 2021

Tech savvy WMS providers adapt to pandemic-driven challenges by getting creative with processes and improving their service capabilities, says SnapFulfil CEO, Tony Dobson.

Demand for remote technology implementation took off early 2020, as the pandemic forced companies to limit human interaction in their facilities. For many this meant a considered switch to the way they research, develop, and carry out complex projects—especially in the warehouse where being on site allows a first-hand view of processes, problems and bottlenecks.

Developing a distance-based protocol has created a whole new approach to understanding customers’ challenges and developing the right solutions. “If you’re a software vendor, there’s a benefit to being on site,” says Dobson. “Translating the end quality of those interactions and delivering them remotely is challenging. Can the customer be as successful if I’m not in the room?”

New solutions

Consequently SnapFulfil has adapted its approach to consulting, training and delivering new solutions, so they can best meet customer needs virtually - a process that will have lasting effects on the ways they interact with clients. Cloud-based SnapFulfil began developing their unique remote implementation (RI) programme well before the pandemic, but interest and adoption have soared since the launch over a year ago.

It facilitates onboarding of their highly configurable WMS from anywhere in the world within a matter of weeks and also provides customised virtual support and training. It guides managers and staff through the go live process, providing targeted online training and consulting support along the way. Developing the product required SnapFulfil to rethink its approach to service and retrain its project managers with a focus on curiosity and questioning—especially in the early phases of project advancement.

Lateral thought

“We worked a lot on our project teams being more enquiring, because you don’t get the depth of answer if you’re remote,” Dobson explains. “The way we interact today is a lot more inquisitive; we ask why business processes are the way they are. This requires the customer to give it a bit more lateral thought - and it’s a different approach for the project manager too.”

Training and education have changed considerably as well. Typically, project leaders will conduct three full days of on-site training, Dobson says, but with the RI programme, they provide two-three hour sessions over five or six days. In addition to reducing screen time, the process also allows employees to step away from the classroom and handle other aspects of their job that are often difficult or stressful to put aside during a traditional technology implementation. “We’ve changed our training methodology to give them more flexibility,” Dobson adds.

“A project team descending on a facility is, by nature, disruptive. Being remote allows you to tightly schedule calls with different resources at the client, so you can be a lot more flexible in how and when you engage with them. “Adversity breeds better solutions. We’ve just completed a highly successful financial year closing new business remotely. To do that, you have to be increasingly good at the service piece.” 

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