As more and more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) tackle the process of digital transformation, it’s to cloud computing that a large proportion of companies are turning. As businesses increasingly consider a Cloud Warehouse Management System, we asses the benefits of turning away from conventional on-premise technology.
Even a year ago, by February 2017, cloud adoption amongst UK businesses had reached 88% – with an average of three cloud services in use per company. And as confidence in the cloud grows, companies are abandoning their reluctance to relinquish on-premise control over their IT systems, and the trend towards the cloud continues apace.
Why use a Cloud Warehouse Management System?
As more SMBs adopt the cloud as their technology platform of choice, the range of business solutions on offer continues to grow. These software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions encompass a range of applications: from email and hosting, right through to more complex business solutions such as Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).
The benefits of the cloud for warehouse management in particular are clear:
1. Lower capital outlay
The hardware requirements for a cloud-hosted warehouse solution are reduced to zero. With cloud WMS, you don’t need to purchase, run and service your own servers, and so there’s no capital outlay at all.
Instead, with a managed SaaS model, the responsibility for managing and maintaining the hardware rests entirely in the IT provider’s hands.
It is often easier to obtain budget approval for such cloud projects, as they are lower in cost, and a management team is more likely to back such cost-efficient initiatives that promise a lower investment and a faster return.
2. Reduced downtime
With 24-hour maintenance provided by the software manufacturer, there’s a marked reduction in downtime with cloud WMS solutions. With hosted solutions experiencing far more uptime than their on-premise counterparts, there’s no need to halt operations in the warehouse as the systems so rarely go down.
3. Automatic maintenance and upgrades
With a cloud Warehouse Management System, all maintenance and upgrades happen automatically and in the background. There’s no need to take systems offline for upgrading, and bugs and patches are applied seamlessly. As there’s only ever one software version – the latest version – it’s also easier for IT partners to provide support for software systems too.
So, overall, cloud-hosted warehouse management systems offer a reliable, cost-effective and streamlined solution, providing a great level of efficiency than their on-premise counterparts.
Starting with a cloud solution
For businesses that are investing in a WMS for the first time, starting off with a cloud solution is a wise consideration. The reduction in necessary internal IT staff and infrastructure is significant, whilst the superior uptimes and timely upgrades guarantee a high level of service.
There are three types of WMS: core, intermediate and advanced. Core systems provide basic warehouse functionality and often come as part of an ERP package, such as NetSuite or SAP Business One. Intermediate systems include HighJump Warehouse Edge, which is more advanced in its functionality and has a degree of configurability that is suited to SMBs. Advanced WMS are comprehensive solutions – such as HighJump Warehouse Advantage – that offer top of the range capabilities and are suitable for enterprise level businesses.
Moving a pre-existing on-premise solution into the cloud
Companies that are already running on-premise WMS can migrate their systems to a cloud environment relatively seamlessly. When moving an established WMS to a cloud environment, the procedure involves taking the pre-existing defined database and procedures and simply migrating them into the cloud. A long-standing customer of ours recently migrated its HighJump WMS system into a Balloon One hosted cloud environment in just 5 days.
Move your warehouse management into the cloud?
If you’re looking to embrace the cloud and want to benefit from greater efficiency, increased profitability and reduced complexity in your organisation, the whitepaper, WMS in the Cloud: ROI Considerations, explains how cloud WMS can be affordable for any company. Check out Warehouse Core for a easy to implement cloud WMS solution targeted at small warehouses.