Considering Buying a Web-based Warehouse Management System?

Is there much difference between Saas or Cloud web-based WMS solutions?

For a long time now, companies have chosen traditional warehouse systems to manage their inventory because the traditional systems were specifically designed for warehouse management. However , with the progression of e-commerce, these solutions are fast becoming unsuitable for businesses looking to branch out into the world of online sales, which has resulted in the introduction of web-based WMS solutions.

When looking for technology to run your business, we are often bombarded with descriptions of hosted or cloud-based platforms and endless acronyms. There are many types of WMS solutions out there and knowing which one to buy can be difficult to fathom.  Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) are two terms you hear almost every day and are fast becoming common place within the world of warehousing.

Is there much difference between a SaaS or Cloud solution or are they both the same?

SaaS, or software as a service, is a delivery method where the web based software is hosted on a shared infrastructure. This means that your data will be stored on the same server as other customers’ data, but will be segmented so that only your system users will be able to view and access your data. SaaS systems are increasing in popularity partially because they reduce the need to have IT resources manage and update the system.

The software vendor will take responsibility for ensuring that the system is operating at peak performance and is running the most up to date versions. This type of system is optimal for small and less complex operations. SaaS solutions are “out of the box” solutions, meaning that core system functionality is standard and system customisations are either limited or unavailable. This does limit the flexibility of the system, but allows for a fast and simple implementation.

By comparison, Cloud based solutions offer additional features not available with a SaaS WMS. This type of WMS is hosted on a segregated or private server depending on vendor specifications. This offers higher data security protocols for companies that handle higher value inventory or simply desire to have an added level of security. When the WMS is in the Cloud the software is managed by the software vendor, and typically customisations can be made to the software. The level of customisation usually varies depending on the software vendor. Cloud based warehouse management systems also offer a wider range of system functionality typically not available with a SaaS WMS. The added functionality and ability to make customisations greatly increases the ability to adapt to changes in operations and business procedures with little or no disruption to current operations.

Both systems are built to perform the same basic duties and have been tailored to fit various types and sizes of businesses. While the SaaS solution is ideal for start-up and low complexity businesses due to its limited customisation, the Cloud WMS customisability is better suited for medium to large size businesses as well as those with multi-location needs.

With a SaaS based WMS your business will benefit from a lower initial investment cost, reduced IT needs and a fast implementation time. Cloud based warehouse management systems exceed SaaS WMS in terms of system flexibility and complexity. WMS in the Cloud allows users to safely handle and track high value inventory with a higher level of security protocol. Regardless of operational size, volume or complexity a web-based WMS is adaptable to your business needs and can increase business efficiency and productivity.

One area where a cloud WMS tends to “win” is in the realm of software upgrades to the system itself. Your vendor will deliver updates to your SaaS WMS, and they typically can be installed automatically and update your software during predefined hours of downtime. Your provider also manages scalability, which is usually an easing of a burden from your staff.

On-premise solutions may or may not get consistent updates from your vendor. Receiving updates usually requires a contract that covers them for a certain period of time, while you might have to pay for updates at a specified time in the future. Other updates or upgrades you want are an internal responsibility, whether your team creates them or you work with a third party to develop them.

Key Points:-

SaaS vs. Cloud How are they different?

What is a SaaS based WMS?

  • SaaS= software as a service
  • Accessed via web browser
  • Exists on shared infrastructure
  • Managed and upgraded by software vendor
  • No software customisation available – “out of the box”
  • Business essential features come standard
  • Lower system flexibility Device #1 Device #2 Device #3 Shared Cloud

What is Cloud based WMS?

  • Exists on segregated or private hosted server
  • Higher data security & redundancy
  • Advanced security protocols
  • Managed and upgraded by software vendor
  • Software customisation is available – varies based on vendor
  • Additional features and functionality are standardised
  • Increased system flexibility & adaptability

Benefits of SaaS & Cloud based WMS


  • Ideal for start-up or low complexity businesses
  • Low initial investment
  • Reduced IT resource needs
  • Does not require additional customisation
  • Fast implementation time


  • Ideal for medium to large size businesses and multi- location operations
  • Guaranteed system uptime
  • Customisable to guarantee consistent branding
  • Flexible to meet changing business needs
  • Higher level of data security & privacy

In summary, you can see that cloud-computing and SaaS are two different, but closely related terms.

With cloud-computing, a user is able to customise and manage an application on a server that is hosted by a 3rd-party. You are given access to your data on those servers via the internet.

With SaaS, the user no longer has to maintain either the physical servers or the cloud-based software application. Instead, you pay a subscription to access an already developed software application via a web browser. You don’t have the responsibility of maintaining the software. You lose some control over the management and customisation of the application.

As you can see, cloud computing and SaaS are two different ideas, but they work with each other to bring easy-to-access, cost-effective software applications to users. However, a common goal is for the web-based WMS system to work on as many devices as possible. This means you won’t likely need to buy a lot of new hardware if your equipment meets initial requirements.

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.