Android & SaaS Are Changing The Face Of Warehouses

SaaS and Android are ringing the changes in WMS

Businesses are always looking to improve warehouse operations, ensuring daily processes are kept streamlined, accurate stock levels are maintained and orders quickly fulfilled. By implementing effective barcode scanning technology and SaaS solutions into the warehouse, companies can benefit from managing and picking stock in the fastest, most accurate way possible, ensuring each consignment is always correctly picked, packed and shipped so customers are kept happy.

With the increase in use of android devices in conjunction with the fast pace and the high expectations of e-commerce clients and their end customers means you need a WMS that is simple, scalable, responsive and totally geared up to the e-commerce World without compromising on features.

Many warehouse operations—receiving inventory, recording shipments, tracking stock movement, and so on—are now done digitally. Not that long ago, the main issue facing warehouse managers when it came to digital was deciding which proprietary system would be best for their warehouse operating environments. Then two things changed.

First, the world went mobile: smartphones, tablets, android handheld devices etc took the market by storm, meaning that small computer like devices are now commonplace. Second, companies began moving more and more of their IT functions to third party vendors both to save money and to keep up with the latest technology.

SaaS and Android are ringing the changes in WMS which is signalling the end of an era previously dominated by ageing, clunky and costly legacy WMS systems.

With these two factors dominating the industry, it has become common place to ask can android devices, smartphones etc be used as a cheaper, more familiar alternative to bulky and expensive RFID guns that were a fixture in most warehouses?

In the past, using a mobile device in a warehouse was a difficult task as the average camera on a phone was not designed specifically for that purpose.  However, technology has come a long way and today you will find several options available for adapting mobile devices to warehouse tasks:

  • Holders allow smartphones and tablets to take on different form factors, including one approximating the typical RFID gun, increasing comfort and usability.
  • There are several android mobile-device-compatible scanners, overcoming the limitations of the average smartphone camera.
  • Mobile devices are now more durable, and additional cases, holders, and films make them even more suitable to rough warehouse environments.
  • Many holders and add on devices come with additional batteries for extended battery life.

Resulting in mobile devices becoming more “like the old-style devices” erasing the major differences between them and traditional RFID guns making the WMS the key differentiator in todays warehouses. The increasing reliability of wireless internet, the availability of 4G, and in some cases, offline operating modes have been key in these new trends and developments.

By enabling software users to access warehouse management system using consumer grade devices, empowers users to select devices that best suit their diverse budgets and business requirements

At the same time, with the end in sight for Windows Mobile and Windows C/E and the growing popularity of the Android operating system, a new breed of mobile-first WMS systems is emerging.

E-commerce retail warehouses are leading the way, combining SaaS flexibility and Android mobility to transform the efficiency of their warehouse fulfilment operations by finally allowing access in real time to inventory, while more effectively addressing day to day operational pressures such as Goods Receipt, Picking, Packing and Shipping accuracy, Next and Same Day deliveries, and Returns management.

Enhanced warehouse operative mobility also contributes to job satisfaction and optimised staffing levels, leading to a reduction in staff turnover and the incurring of unnecessary labour costs.

With these positive developments, the business benefits of a subscription-based SaaS software delivery model versus outright purchase, or re-engineering existing legacy systems, are being swiftly recognised. Among them, lower total cost of ownership, rapid deployment, scalability, software maintenance and updates performed remotely, minimal reliance on in-house IT staff – less risk altogether.

Integration is the key

Much of the appeal that smartphones initially had stemmed from the changing role that IT departments were playing in large organisations. Many facilities saw RFID guns, with their specialised hardware and proprietary software, as large capital expenses that required sizeable IT departments to maintain. The hope was that switching to mobile devices would mean cheaper hardware and more options in terms of software.

These kinds of decisions were (and are) being made against a background trend of companies shedding their IT departments, choosing instead to purchase IT services from 3rd party vendors on an à la carte basis. With fewer in-house IT resources, warehouse managers have been on the lookout for ways to offload updates, maintenance, and repair.

The shift has become even more pronounced with the cloud. Cloud software allows updates to be made on an ongoing basis, meaning minimal disruption of normal operations and a guarantee of up-to-date software. Instead of deploying software solutions on local servers (which need to be maintained), software is hosted off-site, usually by the software’s creators. This has resulted in IT personnel being less involved in maintaining WMSs and inventory systems, and more involved in strategic direction (for example, supply chain planning).

In addition to offering simplified, lower cost deployment and greater mobility, some of the latest Saas-based e-commerce WMS systems and android devices are much easier than others to integrate with e-commerce and legacy software already in place.

About us

Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.

Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.

ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.