Seven Considerations When Testing Your Warehouse Management Software

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Here at Cycle Labs, we have many grizzled warehouse management system (WMS) veterans, most of whom are also experienced in the realm of software testing, and more specifically, test automation. We polled, poked, and prodded our grizzliest of grizzled WMS vets to find out what are some of the most important considerations when testing your warehouse management software.

1. Data management
A truly automated test includes data setup and housekeeping, and this part is almost always the most work. An automation engineer working with a cross-functional team designing test cases should have the “data conversation” when creating the tests, as using valid data that mimics the “real world” is just as crucial as the warehouse business process itself – and having to manually create and reset test data is not reaping the full benefits of test automation.

2. Using dedicated testing environments
Manual testers plugging away in the same environment used by automated tests often result in false positives, data nightmares, and other chaos…For example, if a manual tester deletes a location that is also being used by an automated test then the automated test will probably fail when it moves inventory to a non-existent location.

3. Writing tests for more than one environment
When creating test scripts/features they should – ideally – be able to work across various WMS environments within a company assuming the warehouse business processes aren’t drastically different. I’ve heard horror stories of automation engineers writing a suite of test scripts against one environment assuming that they will work elsewhere, and then later finding they can’t be used at other warehouses due to small nuanced differences in processes (which could be accounted for in the script by making it more flexible), hardcoding when variables should have been used, and/or different data configuration elements. It’s easier to write tests from scratch against a variety of environments than to go back and modify an entire test suite after the fact.

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4. Ensuring the testing team is truly cross-functional and that all have “bought in” to the program
For example, an automation engineer isn’t going to write scripts/features to test out the terminal receiving process that is worth a salt without the involvement of at least one employee from the loading dock (in this case the subject matter expert) who is intimately familiar with the company’s inventory receiving process and knows from experience what is likely to go wrong, what needs to be validated and also believes in what the automation engineer is doing.

5. Creating regression and performance tests for the most critical business processes
while focusing on their most common paths (aka smoke testing) before fleshing out the test suite with edge cases, negative tests, and more permutations. Target what absolutely MUST work first. For example, an online Blu-ray store should consider starting off their test suite with an order fulfillment test for their best-selling movie. They should also – and admittedly this is optional – burn all copies of the Cats movie.

6. Performing true end-to-end tests complete with related integrations, in addition to the modular test case suite
Its 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. The modular tests can be used to help create the end-to-end tests if they were properly designed. Be sure to choose a test automation solution that makes creating end-to-end tests easier, and our Cycle product does just that. For that reason – among many – we are Blue Yonder’s choice as a test automation provider.

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7. Buying the strongest coffee available by law,
and if that doesn’t cut it, then look into illegal coffee options.

Are you interested in learning more about implementing test automation in your warehouse management system? Check out our success stories, our blog, or learn more about the Cycle platform.

This post was written by:
James Prior
Technical Pre-Sales Consultant
James has been working in software pre-sales and implementation since 2000, and has more recently settled into focusing on technical pre-sales.

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