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SaaS: What You Need to Consider for WMS

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SaaS: What You Need to Consider for WMS

July 27, 2021

What Every Supply Chain Organization Needs to Know about SaaS to Make an Informed Decision on Their Next WMS Deployment

As on-premise software deployments give way to the proven economics of deploying on the cloud, another option has surfaced in recent years that is gaining much momentum among supply chain businesses: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

More and more companies are choosing SaaS as the way to run their Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), and for good reason. However, to appreciate the advantages, one must first understand the differences between these three viable options, as follows:

  • On-premise deployment: You own the hardware and software. You are responsible for maintaining and upgrading it. You control the systems and data internally. Upfront capital costs and ongoing maintenance costs are high and provisioning during peak demand might be a challenge.
  • Cloud deployment: You purchase the computing power. The provider then owns, provisions, and maintains the hardware. Your software and data are hosted there, where you pay on a monthly, quarterly, annual, or per-use basis. CapEx is eliminated, while business resiliency and scalability are assured.
  • SaaS deployment: SaaS is software delivered over the cloud. Your software is accessible online via a controlled subscription. You own the data, but your provider stores and manages it. SaaS is quick, easy, and efficient to deploy. However, it does not offer the scale or control you get with cloud or on-premise deployments.

A Matter of Priorities

Deciding what deployment model is best for you depends on your business strategy and operating philosophy. Traditionally, WMS installations have been facility-specific. WMS is an execution-based system and governs the way products are shipped from location to location. As a result, many firms are reluctant to relinquish control of their WMS.

Over the past five years, however, SaaS has proven to be quite dependable, especially in terms of performance. Those companies willing to surrender the touch-and-feel of servers find the remote connectivity afforded in a SaaS deployment provides tremendous cost savings in terms of hardware and labor (cloud-based benefits) but also great flexibility across geographies (where internet connectivity is reliable).

It comes down to what you want to invest in. The current trend sees warehouses operating with more automation and fewer people on the floor. As SaaS becomes more popular, IT staff can be reduced or repurposed, lowering overhead while pushing system management responsibilities to a qualified provider.

The Issue of Modifications

As a word of caution, if you do a lot of system modifications, you may want to retain your IT staff. Open Sky Group has found that system modifications raise enough problems to consider a “no modifications” approach as best practice. Here’s why: every time you modify your software, you create unexpected downstream complications that require more workarounds, ultimately leading to systems falling out of warranty or becoming prematurely obsolete. And while modifications are possible in a SaaS environment, the idea that each warehouse or operation is totally unique has become rather quaint.

Modern supply chain software has reached a critical mass where very few operations fall out of a base WMS product norm. Most facilities operate the same way. By keeping your modifications to a minimum, you enhance the continuity of your operations across your operating footprint. Warehouse training becomes more standardized. Expansions become simplified. Cost is lowered. And with a standard product running everything from the cloud, speed-to-market is enhanced. If you’re ever inclined to modify something, first think about how you can approach the change operationally before writing new software code. You will likely save yourself many headaches in the process.

Your Next WMS

Whatever you decide, Open Sky Group can help you install, configure, and deploy your WMS and other systems in a way that suits you. We have been serving the supply chain industry for 15 years and our agile, templated, “no modifications” approach to implementation has served our clients well. Instead of spending nine or more months getting to solution “go-live,” we can turn most projects around in four-to-six months, no matter what deployment option you choose.

Related videos:

How to be Successful With WMS SaaS

Are Warehouses Ready for WMS SaaS

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Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

Senior Vice President of Technology

As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich

CEO

Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.