1. Cloud-based computing
This is without doubt the most significant trend in the world of the warehouse management system.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery means customers do not have to manage and maintain their own system.
In 2011 these Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings will be capable of matching best-of-breed WMS as research and development has seen them built from the ground up specifically designed to work through the SaaS model whilst delivering high-end functionality.
The cost of ownership is lower with a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) warehouse management system (WMS) when compared to traditional on-premise client/server software. Its arrival could be well-timed as the UK looks to exit recession and companies look for economical ways to improve their warehouse operations.
2. Configuration not customisation
Warehouse management system (WMS) providers are reflecting the unique needs of different businesses by making their solutions highly configurable and giving customers the tools to configure their warehouse set up.
As warehouse management systems become more configurable the emphasis moves towards making them easy-to-use. Extra configuration tools are only valuable if the average warehouse manager is able to use them easily.
Configurable reporting is particularly beneficial to warehouse managers and top level management. Rich configurable reporting driven from within the warehouse management system saves time and effort whilst giving warehouse decision makers instant visibility on their warehouse operations performance.
3. Mobile warehouse management software that works on any web-enabled device.
Mobile warehouse management software applications that have traditionally been built to work on rugged hand-held mobile computers are likely to be replicated to work on other web enabled devices – they may even become platform agnostic.
We have already seen examples of companies ruggedising the Apple Ipad to use them to access their warehouse management system whilst driving fork lifts. This is economically feasible because the cost of consumer devices is significantly lower than their enterprise alternatives due to the quantities produced.
Business owners and top management can already access web based warehouse management system reports via devices like the Apple Iphone and models on the Google Android platform.
We predict that 2011 will see mobile warehouse management system technology entering onto other devices and enabling warehouse managers to monitor their warehouse wherever they are.
Author: Oliver Rhodes