Are all Cloud Warehouse Management systems the same?
No – not all cloud warehouse management systems are created equal and for many, the idea of business systems delivered as a cloud service still feels very new and a bit scary. Cloud Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are no exception.
It seems like everybody is using a WMS of some sorts these days. From embedded WMS “modules” included as part of an ERP solution, cloud solutions, to best of breed bolt-on WMS systems.
So how do you know what to look for and where to look?
The reality is, cloud systems have been around for many years and most of us use them daily in our personal lives trusting some of our most sensitive information to major cloud platforms without a great deal of thought or worry.
A lot of the fear around cloud systems is still spread by traditional software vendors who are 5 or 10 years behind in terms of technology and still have to promote and sell their solutions. Many of these legacy systems have served businesses well over the last 20 years but like any business, if they don’t move forward; they will go into decline and ultimately disappear.
What are the keys to choosing the right Cloud Warehouse Management Systems that will maximising customer service and satisfaction? A good WMS shouldn’t provide a “spike” in customer service it should flat out raise the bar.
1) Maximum Functionality
When analysing a WMS system, ask yourself, “Will this WMS streamline our business processes?” There are dozens of other ways in which a cloud WMS can help you do more with fewer resources whilst maximising productivity.
2) Ease of Use
If a WMS is easy to use, it will reduce the amount of time you spend on employee training, for ALL employees, from pickers to senior management. Well-designed cloud warehouse management sustems lets users spend less time setting up and monitoring daily operations, so they are able to quickly adapt to new requirements and new employees can also be up and running in a matter of hours, instead of weeks.
3) Transaction Management from start to finish
A good WMS will let you manage everything from door to door, from receiving to manifesting. You want a WMS that gives you detailed information for everything like products, employees, and transactions, every step of the way.
At a minimum, the following are some of the steps that should be tracked:
- Putting away received goods
- Order picking
- Cycle counting (inventory audits)
- Any item movement
A cloud WMS solution needs to be able to scale with a company’s growth and adapt to meet future requirements. Otherwise, it’s not a long-term WMS solution. Is the WMS is built around an open architecture? If it is, your WMS is more likely to work with future applications and operating systems (rather than locking you into in a particular platform).
Your WMS should be able to grow with your business. So flexibility is key, check to see if a potential WMS works with many ERPs, hardware brands and types, and business models and sizes.
5) Useful, Easy-to-read Metrics
Data is important, but so is data presentation. It’s all very well having the metrics that help you track performance of your warehouse operations; it’s quite another to be able to understand the data. Good cloud warehouse management systems should allow you to easily create reports and charts that let you see how your warehouse is running.
6) Seamless ERP Integration
Your WMS has to work in tandem with your ERP to keep a business running. That’s why it’s so important that you choose a cloud WMS that works with major ERP systems, seamlessly.
7) Proven Track Record
To find out how well a WMS works, you want to get information from the people who have actually used it. Ask for a list of customer references and if possible go and see it in action.
8) Value for ROI
Price is only one small part of total cost of ownership. Functionality, flexibility, integration, scalability, ease of use, customer support and more all come into play. When choosing a WMS system, you obviously need to weigh these requirements.
9) Commitment to Warehousing and Logistics
A final indicator to ensure you get the right cloud WMS for your business is the vendor’s overall focus on warehousing and logistics. In many cases, cloud warehouse management systems are available from companies that offer business solution tools spanning many industries and requirements. This may enable those vendors to diversify their offerings, but it also restricts their day-to-day insight into the very specific, niche field of warehouse management.
Over the next ten years as software providers upgrade and redevelop their systems to take advantage of newer and much improved web technology.
The idea of buying a non-cloud system will be seem inconceivable.
Household names such as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft are all making big pushes into cloud technology including Netsuite by Oracle for over 9 billion USD. This shift by the vast majority of the industry will become normality and early adopters of true cloud technologies and cloud WMS will reap the rewards with a huge early competitive advantage over their less forward thinking competitors.
The right cloud WMS system saves you time and money and ultimately increases your customers’ satisfaction. On the other hand, the wrong WMS can actually damage your customer service and reputation while dragging down productivity, as it drives up costs.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.