Before you move to the cloud...
Yes, it's possible to use a cloud-based WMS to run an automated facility, say the experts. But there are some important issues to address first.
By James A. Cooke
When it comes to their software, a lot of warehouse and DC managers have their heads in the clouds these days. Rather than buying a traditional warehouse management system (WMS) and installing it on their corporate servers, they're opting for cloud-based applications that are hosted by the vendor or a third-party on an off-site server, often far away, and delivered via the Internet.
Much of the appeal of cloud-based solutions is their low cost. Companies can avoid a hefty upfront capital outlay for software licenses as well as ongoing expenses for upgrades and maintenance. At present, most cloud-based WMS users are small warehouses that use basic equipment like forklift trucks, bar-code scanners, and radio-frequency devices in their operations.
But what if a user wanted to trade in its forklifts and RF devices for, say, sorters, carousels, pick-to-light systems, or automated storage and retrieval systems? Would it have to rethink its choice of software? Or is it possible to use a cloud-based WMS to run a facility with sophisticated automated material handling equipment?
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Robert J. Cudnik
Logistics Engineering, LLC
517 Patterdale Lane
Blythewood, South Carolina 29016
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