Some businesses are only just coming round to the idea of implementing a WMS system, while the real forward thinkers are already looking towards the next stage of their technological evolution. Cloud based Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are seen by many as the logical progression, removing many of the associated costs and operation headaches that come with the installation of a WMS.

Whether it’s investing in new hardware, paying out for new software updates or dealing with down-time and maintenance, investing in a traditional WMS takes time and money to set-up and get running. Cloud based services are changing the way we live and work and it is already improving the infrastructure of a growing number of warehouse facilities. Below are six key reasons why you should be looking towards the cloud in 2018.

The cost effective choice

Many smaller, traditional organisations are keen to evolve and invest in a WMS but are deterred by the investment required upfront. Even though the long term returns will make it worthwhile eventually, budgets are either too tight for the initial payment, or they believe the funds can be best put to use in other areas of the business.

A cloud based system removes the cost of installing new equipment and the set-up costs, instead charging a small monthly fee based on how many users will be accessing the platform. It is a far more cost effective method which opens up the software to an even wider audience.

Instant accessibility  

Being able to access your supply chain data from any location means there is no delay in making key decisions that can impact on performance levels. Controlling the WMS from a workstation, mobile phone, tablet or laptop ensures management can remain actively in the loop even when they are not on the premises.

Growing with your business

Another cost-related pain is having to invest more into software upgrades, patches and technical staff if you reach the point of expansion. The cloud allows businesses to quickly scale up (or even down) based on your immediate needs within the business. This sort of flexibility ensures you can react quickly to changing demands without affecting performance levels.

Flexible licensing

The vast majority of business experience forecasted financial highs and lows across any given year, especially those linked into physical retail outlets. Price packages in traditional WMS systems are usually more rigid in comparison to cloud based solutions, which makes it harder to adjust to the different needs through these periods. In the cloud, user licenses can quickly be added when demand is higher, and removed when business returns to normal levels.

Improved security

Unless you are an extremely large business, the security measures around your WMS platform usually remain the same until upgraded annually, or sometimes even longer, leaving valuable data vulnerable as new methods are found by hackers to by-pass existing systems. A cloud-based WMS is constantly updated using the latest updates and patches, ensuring your core business information is constantly protected against any potential threats.

And should anything happen within your facility that damages hardware, such as fire, natural disasters or even power outages, all of the data remains securely in the cloud ready to be accessed again when you are back up and running.

Increased IT productivity

Most IT departments find themselves stretched as management tend to underinvest in staff numbers, which can affect the integrity of the work being carried out. Installing a cloud system lessens the burden on staff and ensures they can focus on other areas of the business to be more productive. With less attention needed on supporting an internally hosted WMS system, it will improve the quality of their work in other departments and improve overall efficiency across the entire organisation.