A cloud WMS, or Warehouse Management System, is a software system that is delivered over the Internet.
The purpose of any WMS system is to optimise warehouse operations in the in 3PL Logistics, Supply Chain, Distribution, Wholesale, Manufacturing and Retail sectors. Ways in which it does this include automating the tasks involved in inventory management, reducing the time between the arrival and shipment of goods, and saving on associated costs.
WMS software should provide analytic and reporting functions that can be used to forecast business and inform managerial decisions. The data the WMS collates needs to be stored on a server.
Traditionally, WMS Warehouse Management Systems have been based on company premises using an on-site server that is developed and maintained by company staff, or partners.
As technology has advanced and internet access has improved exponentially, cloud-based WMS systems are becoming more and more convenient for reasons that this article will explore below.
For more information on cloud-based WMS Warehouse Management Systems, please call 0800 170 1161 or contact ProSKU online.
What is ‘the cloud’?
‘The cloud’ refers to the delivery of computing services via the Internet. Cloud computing offers on-demand access to resources such as servers (both physical and virtual), applications, data storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence.
These resources are hosted at a remote data centre. Data centres house computer systems, as well as the equipment and hardware needed to connect computer systems to the Internet and other business networks.
Data centres are managed by a cloud services provider (CSP) who usually charge a monthly subscription fee or invoice clients according to the cloud services they use.
There are three ways to deploy cloud services – public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud – and four general categories of cloud computing services – infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and server-less.
A cloud WMS falls within the SaaS category. This is where software applications are delivered over the Internet and accessed with a web browser on a phone, tablet, or computer. The CSP will manage the software application, its underlying infrastructure and any maintenance, such as software upgrades and security patching.
What is a cloud-based WMS?
A cloud WMS is a software application that you access through a connection to the internet.
Your system and data are hosted on a segregated or private server managed by a CSP, who will charge you a fee for their services.
However, with your data hosted by a third-party, you avoid costs associated with installing software infrastructure in your warehouse.
This also provides your data with some additional security, since it will be protected behind a variety of security protocols that limit who can access it and what they see.
With a cloud WMS, you can manage and store your inventory in the cloud.
How is a cloud WMS different to a server-based WMS?
A cloud WMS has many advantages over an on-site server. For example:
- Easy delivery – with the server being stored remotely in a data centre and managed by a CSP, you are not responsible for maintenance or system upgrades. There should be no need for you or your partners to travel to the server site
- Rapid implementation – cloud- based technology is much quicker to implement, with lower upfront costs. Their attributes are not unique to any one user, so they are easier to support
- Anytime access – the WMS system will be accessible from almost any internet-enabled device or location. Real-time visibility is provided via a PC or mobile device with internet access and an intuitive interface
- Reduced costs – you do not need to set up and maintain your own IT infrastructure, leading to savings on hardware, software and skilled support staff. The cost of a cloud-based system is shared with other clients of the CSP, making them very cost-effective
- Ease of customisation and upgrade – cloud-based systems are simple to scale up or down based on needs and changes in business. They have faster upgrade cycles and can be more responsive to changes in the market or disruption in supply chains. A cloud WMS makes it easy to add or remove storage and process resources as needed, which can give them increased flexibility in meeting customer demand
- Increased security – Cloud-based WMSs are more secure than on-premise systems in terms of data protection
- Convenient back-up solutions – there are more back-up options that will prevent system downtime. Your system will not go down when large scale back-ups occur
An on-site server might still excel in the following areas:
- More affordable long term cost because there is no monthly subscription or additional maintenance fees
- You own the licence and have complete control of your IT infrastructure, giving you security in the knowledge of where your data is stored and who can access it
- More customization options are generally supported, despite having to do the coding yourself
- Doesn’t need a high quality internet connection to access and operate
- Integration can be easier and the servers can be virtualized to support other business practices outside the warehouse
ProSKU WMS Cloud
ProSKU WMS Cloud is a modern, cloud-hosted software application that was developed by the experienced logistics software company, Chess Logistics Technology (Principal Logistics Technologies). Chess Logistics Technology has over 30 years worth of experience developing and implementing leading WMS systems.
An SaaS system, ProSKU WMS Cloud was developed using market feedback, enabling it to handle the rigours of 3PL/eFulfilment, Wholesale, Manufacturing and eCommerce/Retail businesses.
ProSKU has several distinguishing features that make it competitive on the market:
- A rapid 4 to 6 week deployment period using implementation methods that reduce decision to go-live times
- A monthly rental subscription that can be funded from operating budgets to preserve essential capital for other investment areas
- End-to end functions that enable you to streamline receiving operations; optimise your storage space; reduce costs; manage greater volumes of goods; increase picking efficiency; guarantee accuracy in despatch; and improve customer service
- Integration of applications for a seamless fulfilment process from customer click to completed delivery
- Developed and maintained in a highly secure IT environment, available 24 hours a day
- Accessible from anywhere at anytime via PC, tablet or mobile, with an intuitive Android App for task execution
- Developed and supported by an exclusively UK-based technical team with record response times