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Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years and now cloud computing is set to take them to the next level.
A great WMS gives you a centralised view of the movement of your goods and cloud computing is ideal for this because it allows all the elements of your warehouse operation to be seamlessly integrated. Holding all your information on the internet, rather than at a physical location, means you’re less likely to be held back by a lack of computing power at a particular site. You don’t need to worry about on-site IT support either because you’ll have experts you can call on, as part of your service level agreement.
But the main reason cloud computing is gaining traction is because it gives businesses the kind of control that is essential to staying relevant in the digital age, here’s how:
One of the biggest sources of pressure for warehouses nowadays, is the increasing expectations from customers. Lead times for deliveries are getting shorter to the extent some retailers are even offering same day delivery. Customers also expect to be able to receive their deliveries from a range of locations that are convenient for them. Meeting such demands with traditional warehouse management systems can be stressful but with cloud computing you can rise to challenge.
Because an online-based WMS allows you to get an overview of your entire system, it’s easier to find the stock you need. This is particularly useful if you have multiple warehouses. The sooner you can pick the products you need, the sooner you can send your customer a dispatch confirmation email, which helps build your reputation for reliability and efficiency.
A cloud-based WMS also allows you to track your inventory more easily and make sure you have the stock necessary to fulfil your customers’ orders. If you do experience an unforeseen demand for certain products, cloud computing makes it easier to respond because you can quickly communicate to your suppliers and staff to get the stock you need. Even when staff are on the warehouse floor, they can use a mobile device to access the same information you’re seeing on the cloud.
When everyone can see the same information, you are also less likely to make errors such as duplicating deliveries.
If you can’t meet your customers’ expectations, chances are they’ll simply move on to someone who can. That’s one reason why a web-based WMS can be critical to giving you an edge over your competitors.
Many businesses now operate on a multi-channel level which requires making complex decisions about the most economical and efficient way to fulfil orders. A cloud-based WMS makes it possible to base such decisions on evidence because it not only brings together all the data you need, it also presents it in a way that makes it easier to interpret. Running an efficient multi-channel business will make you a true player in the digital age.
Cloud computing can help make you more efficient at every aspect of your warehouse management from ordering to storing and shipping. This can make a huge difference when you’re running a start-up for instance, because it can help free up time for you to concentrate on the numerous other tasks you’re likely to be juggling.
If long-term sustainable growth is your goal, then investing in a cloud-based WMS is likely to pay dividends.
You don’t have to worry about the cost of switching over to cloud computing because you’ll have no upfront costs. You can pay via a monthly subscription instead.
You’ll also save money because having more control over your inventory means you’ll be less likely to order surplus stock. This means you’ll have money to spend on other areas of the business, like infrastructure.
If you’re looking to grow your business, then having access to the latest and best technology can make a real difference. If you switch to a cloud-based WMS you’ll always have the latest technology because your subscription will pay for automatic system upgrades too.
Growing your business is also much easier when you have the support of a motivated and happy workforce. A cloud-based WMS is likely to help your warehouse employees enjoy their job more because it will make it less stressful. The system will take some of the pressure off them by automatically dealing with back orders for instance.
Allowing them to automate painstaking or repetitive tasks, like manually counting stock, will allow them to concentrate on the more satisfying aspects of their jobs. Automating such tasks also means errors will occur less frequently and you’ll be able to operate more efficiently.
Switching to a cloud-based WMS has the power to step change the way your entire business operates, enabling you to stay competitive and ultimately drive up the profitability of your business.