In recent years, the development of cloud-based enterprise resource planning solutions has been helpful for many companies. However, many wonder if there are any specific advantages to making certain components of the system run on a software as a service platform. An example of this is the warehouse management systems found with many distributors and manufacturers. These programs are designed by and large to better handle inventory for transfer, use and fulfillment. They're meant to be used by people working inside the warehouse more than anyone else. However, the the cloud has brought about new opportunities that open up a certain level of expansion for business operations.
Beyond the warehouse
One of the more immediate benefits of the cloud-based software is scalability based on application, with warehouse management being no exception. A manufacturing operation may be working with multiple storage facilities as well as distribution centers, and all of them have to use the same ERP system to get information. However, as Supply Chain Digest notes, some distribution centers may not need all the features of a WMS or even mobile WMS platform. For example, they may not need some of the inventory functions that warehouses require.
With the cloud, these features can be scaled up or down based on the need of the warehouse or the distribution center. This can allows the manufacturing and distributing operation to focus on the necessary tasks at hand. By doing this, the cost is greatly lowered in implementing new software because the whole system doesn't have to be completely reconfigured .
More importantly, the cloud allows sales, management and other staff members to bring the data from the warehouse with them to other locations. This may seem peculiar to companies until they realize that they can use their inventory and warehouse operations as a form of leverage. Instead of just pitching to clients how the business operates over the course of a given day, salespeople and other employees can show potential customers exactly what is going in the warehouse or distribution center in real time, as well as information on what's happening to a specific order. This provides a high level of visibility to both workers and customers as to what is happening with the products they want or need. This is especially the case with mobile WMS, since all this data can be displayed from a tablet or smartphone.
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