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Is a Cloud-Based WMS Pie in The Sky?

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 12:29pm
Chuck Fuerst, director of product strategy, HighJump Software

You have probably already heard about the benefits of a warehouse management system (WMS) a million times: Increased productivity, real-time access to information, up to 99+ percent inventory accuracy, faster shipping, and on and on. But perhaps it’s time to upgrade your current system and you’re not sure you have the IT resources to install and support the transition, or you’re worried about the infrastructure costs. In other words, will the ROI justify a new WMS?

The answer to this, for an increasing number of companies, is in the cloud.  

Cloud computing for WMS means that your WMS vendor will host the software application and hardware infrastructure for you as an on-demand, scalable and elastic service. It shifts the burden of technology administration to the technology experts. There is no hardware to purchase or maintain, patches and upgrades are done automatically, implementation is dramatically simplified and no capital expenditure is required. You access the WMS via a Web browser and gain the functional benefits of a new WMS without the up-front costs and IT drain. In other words, a cloud-based WMS helps you focus entirely on business operations rather than back-office systems, which can result in significant reductions in labor costs or free-up IT resources for customer-facing applications rather than managing a warehouse.

If that’s not compelling enough, here are more ways using a cloud-based WMS can improve your bottom line and speed up your ROI.

Faster implementation: A cloud-based WMS can be up and running much faster than a traditional, on-premise solution. There is no lengthy and confusing installation process to slow your business and tax your resources. Rather than hard-coding customizations to your WMS, the software is configured to your needs and the software image is ready to be turned on in a fraction of the time it takes to implement a traditional on-premise WMS. Plus, there is no need to worry about applying the latest patches, since ongoing updates are applied automatically and seamlessly.

Grow and adapt to your business needs: Because a cloud-based WMS pricing model is subscription-based, you only pay for what you use. And because the cloud is elastic and scalable, you can access more power when you need it for seasonal business changes or spikes in demand. A WMS in the cloud is also particularly helpful for companies operating in highly regulated industries that have constantly shifting demands and requirements.

Lighten the IT load: On-premise software requires servers, rack space, electricity, cooling, bandwidth, network hardware and trained IT staff to install the systems and perform upgrades and routine maintenance. Cloud computing removes the maintenance headache of cost and labor, freeing up time for your IT staff to focus on more important, customer-facing initiatives There is no hardware to purchase or maintain, and you are no longer required to manage hardware vendors, hardware support contracts and carry insurance on your hardware. The shared infrastructure provided by the cloud takes advantage of economies of scale by giving you better hardware utilization and resulting in more computing capacity for your infrastructure dollar.

A cloud-based WMS can support a business just as an on-premise solution would, but with more flexibility for optimizing efficiencies and resources. By understanding how this technology can improve your operations, you can prove that this solution is a realistic investment that is worthwhile today and will still be relevant in the years to come.

Chuck Fuerst is the director of product strategy at HighJump Software. He has more than 15 years of experience in the technology market, working for supply chain and ERP software companies to deliver innovative solutions. Chuck is responsible for monitoring supply chain industry and technology trends and identifying ways to enhance the value of products for HighJump’s customers. He holds a Bachelor degree in Marketing Management and Innovation from Concordia University. For more information on HighJump Software, visit www.highjump.com.

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