Warehouse Management Systems in the Cloud are becoming increasingly popular, and Soften has a number of our WMS Cloud solutions installed and working exceptionally well in the field, with many more companies looking at Cloud-based solutions.
But it is certainly fair to say that WMS was a bit late to the Cloud party versus Transportation Management Systems (TMS) although that is starting to change as noted above.
One of the reasons for the slow adoption were initial concerns – often fed by large WMS providers which lacked a Cloud solution – that response times for things like RF terminals and material handling systems would be slow, and cause operational problems.
Although it is possible this might have been a problem for some vendors in the past, I can say with certainty that this is really not something WMS users need to worry about today.
Internet speeds continue to improve, and are today quite sufficient for many operations, and often better than the speeds realized in internal corporate networks. Additionally, leading Cloud WMS providers are smartly leveraging advanced web-based techniques to optimize data communications and thus response times.
For example, using browser-based technology on radio frequency terminals can substantially improve traffic and hence response time versus the same communications using traditional terminal emulation approaches. Many WMS vendors have not yet taken advantage of this opportunity.
With that said, for very high volume DCs, it may be advantageous to put a local server in a facility that uses “agents” that focus on nothing but optimizing data communications for such areas as material handling communications or high volume label printing. Softeon’s experience is that using this approach almost always delivers more than adequate response times.
If all that is not enough, costs for high speed T1 communication lines continue to fall. Softeon’s experience is that if you have such volumes and a T1 line is a good idea to endure rapid response times, then the extra costs for that line ($600-800 per month) are relatively minor and easily affordable.
Softeon has not really seen any issues in the field relative to WMS response times, and that includes a number of implementations in South America and elsewhere across the globe.
We’d be happy to explain how this would work in your operation.