WMS time: why deploying an inventory system is more accessible than ever

Warehouse management
27.1.2021

According to Heureka.cz, Czech e-shops reached a turnover of 196 billion crowns in 2020. Compared to the previous year 2019 (155 billion), they grew by more than a quarter. E-shops met the biggest challenge before Christmas. The companies that deployed the Managed Warehouse System (WMS) in a timely manner had a big advantage – they better handled the onslaught of orders and the lack of warehouse workers. And it is not only about large companies, because WMS is increasingly expanding among small and medium-sized companies.  

Available and more flexible software

Today, companies routinely buy a  warehouse management system as service software (SaaS). This means that its implementation does not require the construction of a complex infrastructure, as in the case of on-premise solutions. Companies now implement managed warehouses in a, matter of weeks, not months, as they used to.  

Companies pay regular monthly fees for managed warehouses in the form of SaaS. Its implementation does not require a multimillion-dollar investment – previously, companies took out loans to purchase software and build IT infrastructure (such as servers) to implement on-premise solutions. Thanks to these changes, small and medium-sized companies will also reach a managed warehouse.

WMS has become a modular system in recent years that grows with the company. Businesses can flexibly increase and decrease the number of users, as well as continuously add and remove features. Thanks to this, they do not have to think about 5 to 10 years in advance as when buying a boxed solution, but the systems adapt to the current situation. This simply frees them from big commitments – for example, companies often bought expensive solutions with unused features, believing that when they grew in size, they might come in handy.

Easy connectivity and the end of monolithic systems

Today's business tools have open APIs through which businesses can connect relatively easily. For example, WMS simply links companies to an e-shop, ERP, or accounting system. The systems then communicate with each other and, for example, the condition of the goods on the e-shop always reflects the real state of the goods in stock – without the need for manual rewriting.

The boom in simple and easy-to-connect tools has forced the slow retreat of monolithic systems – programs that have a module for everything – accounting, warehouse, e-shop, and so on. The disadvantage of these massive systems is their high price, demanding implementation and the fact that the warehouse module will never be as good as a separate warehouse system.  

These massive systems are advantageous for multinational corporations, which thanks to them can manage, for example, branches in 20 countries in one place. For other companies, however, they are more of an obstacle and an extra cost. SaaS tools will only provide companies, with features that they make real use of, and no penny will be wasted. And if a company has separate accounting, warehouse and e-commerce software, you can be sure that it works with narrowly, specialized tools developed by experts on the subject.

Technology growth favors cloud WMS

According to research by Modern Materials Handling magazine, 48% of companies had a cloud warehouse system in 2019. In 2018, there were only 39%. Businesses have taken a liking to using the benefits of cloud services such as access from anywhere or automatic updates – but improving wireless Internet coverage and the ever-increasing speed and reliability of internet connections also plays into the cards of cloud-based WMS. This addresses concerns about internet outages, which companies can also insure with wired connections. Cloud services are also backed up and secure in the first place, so businesses don't have to worry about their data.

The development of portable warehouse terminals, which are equipped by storekeepers, has also benefited from the availability of controlled warehouses. The vast majority of new, devices nowadays use the Android operating system, which is simple and intuitive – every storekeeper who carries an Android smartphone in his pocket quickly orients himself on the reader.

Developers are becoming more and more experienced

When the world's first cloud-based WMS came into the world 15 years ago, companies knew nothing about them. Since then, awareness of managed warehouses has grown so much that virtually everyone has a company that uses cloud WMS in their area. The available know-how has also expanded – after a few minutes of searching, those interested in cloud WMS will get a  comprehensive idea of what WMS is and how it will help their business.

Along with the awareness of WMS, supplier experience is also growing. They smoothly run the customer through implementation, because they have done it many times before. Today, suppliers also have a perfect overview in industry specifics. The solution can be adapted to a customer from wholesale, e-shop or manufacturing company.

Be with it and try our LOKiA WMS warehouse solution. Write us and we will show you how a managed warehouse will improve your processes in practice.

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