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Total Cost of Ownership Warehouse Management System – Part 1



Total Cost of Ownership Warehouse Management System – Part 1

September 23, 2021

Total Cost of Ownership of a Warehouse Management System (WMS) – Part 1

Buying a warehouse management system is not a small investment, regardless of the provider you choose. It’s important to understand all of the costs involved before you sign on the dotted line. The license itself is just the tip of the iceberg – there’s even more that you may or may not be aware of — that sometimes gets hidden, depending on how an estimate is written up. Here is the first in our three-part series on the total cost of owning a warehouse management system.

License Costs

Probably the most expected cost in a software purchase is a license. It is what the provider is charging you to use the software. This might be a one-time cost or a recurring cost. It might be a cost that is hidden (i.e., SaaS) or called out. For a warehouse management system, licenses are generally sold as named users, concurrent users, or enterprise/site licenses. There are often price breaks for a higher number of users, similar to buying in bulk. Don’t forget to allow for and understand costs associated with buying additional licenses outside of your initial purchase.

Support and Maintenance Costs

Support and maintenance are essentially the costs involved in making sure the software continues to run smoothly after being implemented. It needs to be evaluated in two categories. First, there is the direct cost from the provider for support and maintenance. It’s good to find out what exactly is covered by your provider’s support and maintenance plan, i.e., is it 24×7 support and upgrades for a year or something less? Sometimes this cost is hidden (e.g., SaaS, hosting, recurring license) and sometimes this cost is called out.

Your internal costs of support and maintenance must not be overlooked.

Generally, it’s not advisable to have everyone in the warehouse calling your software provider’s support line for help, at least not when it comes to a warehouse management system. Your organization will want to have only a few select people responsible for taking questions from users and determining if they need to be escalated to vendor support. This person(s) might be absorbed by operations or might be budgeted under IT. The point here is to think in advance about how you will cover your internal “help desk” before the project starts so that those resources can be part of the project team, learn the new system, and how to support and maintain it. This might be the same person/people you choose as your WMS Super User(s).

We hope we’ve given you a good start in understanding WMS — the total cost of ownership.

Upcoming posts in this WMS Total Cost of Ownership Series:

Part 2 covers the next four types of costs:

  • Replacements and consumables
  • Enterprise infrastructure costs
  • Facility infrastructure costs
  • Education costs

Part 3 covers the final cost type:

  • Implementation and integration costs

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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.

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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.

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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

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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


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.

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