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The option is more cost-effective than traditional on-premises implementations, eliminating the need to purchase hardware or pay for additional third-party licenses, says Pantoja-Navajas. Chief information officers and corporate IT departments are eager to shed resources that don't relate directly to their companies' core competencies. "WMS should be focused on streamlining [operations] for the customer, not adding a lot of extra costs," he says.
That said, users of WMS software have been slow to adapt to the cloud. Initially, says Pantoja-Navajas, they were concerned about such issues as speed, reliability, scalability and security. Those worries abate as companies became more familiar with the advantages of cloud-based applications. "The cloud is providing all of the benefits that customers were looking for in the past," he says. "They are becoming comfortable with the concept of not having a server in-house."
The battle continues between "best-of-breed" vendors and those that offer WMS functionality within larger, enterprise-style application suites. "We are finding that more and more customers want to have a very basic solution," says Pantoja-Navajas. "For many years, companies were implementing solutions that very were customized. That's why the cost is so high." Multi-tenant applications delivered via the cloud can provide users with a more standardized product, while reducing the pain of upgrades, he says.
The future of WMS lies in systems that stress mobility, relying on devices such as tablet computers and smartphones, according to Pantoja-Navajas. Traditional radio-frequency devices will no longer be essential equipment. The technology, he says, "has to be able to expand beyond the four walls of the warehouse, reaching to stores and vendors, creating a more collaborative environment."
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Keywords: Warehouse Management, Technology, Asset Management, Business Intelligence & Analytics, Business Process Management, EDI Communications (XML/EDI), Event Management, Order Fulfillment & P.O. Mgmt., RFID, Wireless, Bar Code & Voice, Supply Chain Visibility, Cloud, SaaS & On-Demand Systems., Retail, CPG, Food and Beverage, Inventory Planning & Optimization, Warehouse Logistics, Best Of Breed, Multi-Tenant Applications
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