Cloud WMS Review
Cloud Warehouse management systems are the next generation to traditional server based software for the warehouse. Cloud WMS systems offer many benefits, but the most significant is the ability to leverage the latest technologies without having to go through complex upgrades. Businesses are changing rapidly due to commerce on the internet, and accessing new levels of software to meet those requirements is more important than ever before.
WHAT IS A CLOUD WAREHOUSE MANAGMENT SYSTEM (CLOUD WMS)?
A cloud WMS system is built from the ground-up to be take advantage of new advancements in technology. Customers no longer invest in complex IT infrastructure, and leverage the application as a subscriber. True cloud WMS systems are designed to be implemented anywhere on the globe and eliminate traditional upfront software licensing, with a more cost effective monthly or yearly subscription fee.
Here are some of the key factors when looking for a Cloud WMS:
- SaaS (software as a service) subscription pricing model
- Multi-lingual, multi-location, multi-tenant architecture to deploy anywhere
- Uptime and response time service level guarantees
- Scalable to accommodate all of your transactional volume, users & locations
- Integrated software suite to accommodate growth
- Revision managed cloud system that provide continuous updates from research & development
WHAT TO AVOID
Many software companies understand the market trends, and are offering Cloud alternatives, but many of these offerings are really hosting servers on an individual company basis. This is no different than buying a server and running the software in your facility, which sharply contrasts with the true benefits of a real Cloud platform. Most, if not all of these software offerings are a bandaid until these companies build a new system from the ground-up, which could take several years. All the R&D will go towards the new ground-up effort, not the legacy system being hosted.
In order for the Cloud WMS to work for your company, you need understand your requirements, and determine functionality of the solution. Many cloud systems are a “one-size-fits-all”, where changes and coding modifications are not allowed on the platform. This could present a significant issue to many logistics professionals, where process within the warehouse may require special workflow.
In building our Cloud Platform, JASCI invented and patented a workflow system that provides the flexibility to create and change workflow at anytime. The workflow system will help operations customize process & workflow for efficiency, but also provide flexibility for future applications as the need surfaces.
INTEGRATION WITH EXISTING SYSTEMS
If you’re like many companies, integration with other systems is very important for a successful implementation. There are several types of integrations to discuss.
- Out of the box integrations with popular systems such as SAP, ORACLE, Microsoft Dynamics & Quickbooks should be considered, as they offer quick and reliable integrations without lots of customization.
- Website and Marketplace integrations with platforms such as AMAZON, Shopify, Ebay, Bigcommerce, Etsy, Woo commerce and unique websites designed by customers must also be considered.
- EDI (electronic data interchange) requirements may also be required for out of the box integrations with certain EDI transaction types.
- Integration with legacy systems that must be facilitated, which could require customized integration capability.
At JASCI, we have created both out-of-the-box integrations for many platforms, plus the ability to customize integrations with our mapping tools. Mapping and transforming data within our tools makes integration reliable and customizable for any of our customers. Security must also be considered when delivering data over the internet. At JASCI, we encrypt data through a secure tunnel, and ensure data is always secure.
Out of the box integrations with all the major carriers is a necessity for anyone considering a Cloud WMS. The ability to rate shop and ship internationally is also an important criteria. You may also want to consider how to on-board custom carriers as the needs arise. At JASCI, we support all the major carriers and can ship internationally to over 50 countries.
There are many other considerations when looking at a Cloud WMS. We will discuss these in detail in our Blog, but for now, you need to consider
- Ease of implementation (time frame, approach, go-live)
- Mobile computing options for the workforce
- Ease of use for staff members
- Analytics and reporting
- Order management options
- Customer service options