The Cloud-based WMS: An Inevitable Business Decision

The ultimate goal of implementing any warehouse management system (WMS) is an increase in operational efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Leveraging a cloud-based WMS achieves this on a new level

A cloud-based WMS eliminates the need to maintain infrastructure, allowing your IT department to focus on further enabling your business. Furthermore, there is no need to buy your own servers, undergo costly upgrades, and manage fluctuating capacity. Additionally, for distribution operations with complex requirements and unique business processes, a cloud-based WMS delivers increased flexibility over traditional on-premise enterprise solutions. Overall, cloud solutions streamline processes to make your business and team more strategic, more responsive to change and more focused on core objectives.

Once a considerable deployment, the cloud is now the next frontier in terms of core IT infrastructure. Read on to explore five competitive advantages of moving critical supply chain operations to the cloud.

Rapid Adoption

Teaching your IT department new tricks and best practices is very expensive and time consuming. A cloud-based WMS reduces costs and time needed to train IT and administrative users on running, managing and maintaining on-premise enterprise software.

With a cloud-based WMS, adoption is rapid. Services can quickly be deployed without long procurement, installation, and deployment cycles of onsite hardware and resources. Getting up and running faster also decreases time to value and helps you achieve business objectives much more rapidly.

Cost Predictability

A cloud WMS replaces large, upfront capital expenditures and unexpected maintenance costs with a low, flat monthly fee. With an operating expense model, you pay-as-you-go as long as the solution is continuing to add value. This enables a return much more quickly than on-premise enterprise solutions and eliminates the need to gain approval for an expensive investment.

Moving away from a capital expense model is gaining more popularity. The economies of scale available with the cloud allow cloud providers to purchase and maintain large volumes of hardware storage at a fraction of the cost. This enables costs to decrease and performance and functionality to increase steadily over a multi-year horizon.

Security and Compliance

The need for security and compliance will always remain the highest priority. Having a vendor responsible for the infrastructure security, including A/C and fire prevention, multiphase authentication, redundancy at all levels, backups, and data privacy, reduces risk immensely. By leveraging the outsourced expertise, you prevent small, overlooked flaws that can greatly impact operations for an extended period of time.

From a compliance perspective, many Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors have an extensive list of certifications that would be expensive and challenging to obtain yourself. This decreases the overall burden on your business while delivering a very quick boost in return on investment (ROI).

Performance Tuning and Monitoring

Having a vendor accountable for monitoring the solution eliminates the need to pay attention to all the varying performance counters. Every aspect of your WMS is actively monitored and stored for historical tracking, delivering a more reliable system.

With a cloud-based WMS, both critical and warning alerts are generated and sent automatically to the appropriate teams, often without the business needing to know. Services are proactively tuned and optimized to catch potential issues before they impact operations. This allows quicker resolution and fosters proactive, as opposed to reactive, business.

Benefit from WMS Vendor Innovation

Adopting the latest technology trends, such as the cloud, is critical to remaining competitive in today’s dynamic world. However, this is often a difficult task to keep pace with while simultaneously gaining executive buy in. Instead of investing significant amounts of time and research, automatically take advantage of emerging trends by choosing a vendor that is at the forefront of what is next.

Final Thoughts

Far gone are the days when the cloud was just a popular moniker. Moving supply chain operations to the cloud is an inevitable enterprise business decision. Those that focus on strategic initiatives and best practices for their distribution operations, rather than getting distracted by their infrastructure and underlying technology, will increase their loyal customer base efficiently and profitably. Opportunity in the cloud awaits.

Scott Brask is the vice president of support and cloud at HighJump, a global provider of supply chain management software. He joined the company in 2006 and has more than 12 years of experience in the industry. During this time, Brask has fulfilled many leadership roles, including support, services, development and product management. Brask spent five years as the director of cloud and the past two years in his current role as vice president of worldwide support & cloud. He received a Bachelor’s of Science in management information systems from Metro State University.