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Warehouse Management Automation
A majority of warehouse information technology projects fail. This is a dramatic statistic, but it is a problem that is also preventable. Why is the project failure rate so high? There are five primary reasons that are often cited - lack of leadership, no clarity of vision, no due diligence, lack of accountability, and lack of a proven process.

A failure of leadership is the primary reason that most projects fail. The success of any project requires leadership with a strong vision of the future and the ability to implement that vision. That requires the ability to inspire others to share that vision and work hard to attain it. The original vision does not necessarily have to come from a companys CEO, but if the CEO does not support it, the project is doomed to failure. If a warehouse management project is to succeed, all of the parties that will be potentially impacted by it, must either be part of the project team or be represented on the team by someone with whom they can share their ideas and differences. A strong leader will align the team and make sure all members are committed to the projects success. The teams interactive dynamics and politics must be addressed by the teams leadership and team members have to be kept on the same page.

If there is no clear and compelling reason for a project, it will almost certainly fail. Lack of clarity is the second major reason for project failure, no matter what the scope of the project. It may seem that the rationale behind a particular project is clear to everyone involved, but it is also a simple fact of human nature that peoples expectations differ. Again, it is function of leadership to make certain that a proposed project will provide the expected results. It is necessary that any project be capable of adding value and that the principals involved all understand the value that should be produced.

Additionally, many projects fail simply because the proper research wasnt conducted before they started. Someone has to do the homework by making sure that the system to be implemented contains all of the features to produce the desired end result. Companys often choose software packages because they are recommended by someone else. The only difficulty with that concept is that companies have different needs and what fulfills one companys desires and expectations may be a miserable failure by anothers standards. It is important that any software be thoroughly investigated to make sure it does what it needed and does it in a way that will best benefit the company making the purchase. The best way to reduc that risk is to perform due diligence - investigate and learn about the project up front.

Lack of accountability is the fourth reason that projects often fail. Vendors of any sort are most likely to talk about the results or successes of their particular product, not the failures or the drawbacks. Often vendors dont take responsibility for results of a software implementation. In other words, they do not guarantee that the system solution will produce the results that the purchaser desires. And, this reason is tied intrinsically with the other three. Making decisions means taking risks and strong leaders have to take risks. At the same time, however, it is more productive when those risks are carefully calculated in advance.

Successful project implementation requires that adequate processes be in place. As with any other endeavor, the rush to obtain instant answers and instant gratification can result in skipped processes and skipped processes generally indicate a failed project. A systems engineering approach will insure that proper processes are followed throughout implementation of a project. There are seven phases involved in a systems engineering approach. They are requirements and specifications, preliminary conceptual design, design and architecting, production and testing, operational implementation, evaluation and modification, and deployment and maintenance. Progressing through these phases in order and making certain that one step is completed before another is begun will help ensure project success.

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