In 2016, small and start up businesses have affordable, high quality software choices to make when planning for growth. Failure to adopt systems early will slow growth, increase costs and result in missed opportunities. For any stock holding business, subscribing to a low cost warehouse management platform to manage inventory should be very high on the agenda not long after the doors open for business!
What are the alternatives?
Don’t get us wrong, we all love Microsoft Excel. It’s ease of use allows most people to grasp the basics within hours whereas the die-hard can become Jedi pivot’ers and formula gods within weeks of hard work!
When it comes to stock control however, forget Excel! Leave Excel to the accountants, for exporting bits of data and occasional adhoc reporting!
Failure to adopt systems early will slow growth, increase costs and result in missed opportunities.
Cloud finance and online payment systems have lead the way in creating truly scaleable platforms with 100,000’s of subscribers. Platforms like Xero allow users to subscribe to great small business accounting functions for less than £20 a month per user!
Old, stuck in the mud thinking argues “buy cheap, buy twice.” For many things in life, we agree! For modern software applications, we definitely don’t. Xero now boasts over 500,000 paying subscribers because they have built an easy to use, highly functional platform which they can support and develop cost effectively while keeping subscription fees low enough to become a truly volume business.
Salesforce.com have had a very similar success story and are now both leaders in their respective fields having entered the cloud market early. SAP, Oracle and Microsoft are all investing heavily in this business concept to try and catch up because it works for both the supplier and its users.
Unfortunately, “buy cheap, buy twice” does apply to old legacy technology designed and developed in the years before cloud technology.
Don’t be fooled, good software products sell themselves.
Basic isn’t always bad if you’ve bought on that basis. However combine old buggy legacy technology with a high price tag, poor innovation, slow progress and even slower support to fix buggy, version specific problems installed locally and you can start to see why platforms like Xero are becoming so popular. In the meantime, fingers crossed Betty the cleaner doesn’t unplug your server by mistake!
How do I spot the good ones?!
It’s as easy as 1,2,3!
- Short term contracts
- Geninue free trial of the software before you commit
- Cloud based access from any device with an internet connection
Don’t be fooled, good software products sell themselves. If you need 5 visits from a Mercedes driving, shiny shoed salesman who wants to walk away with a large upfront sum of cash….. ask why!
Demand a short term trial of the software but ensure you take the time to use it. A free trial is only worthwhile if you have the time to watch the online ‘how to’ training videos or speak to someone who can guide you through. Even Excel needs someone to explain the basics! If a free online trial isn’t available, chances are you are talking to a software provider who is trying to sell you a ‘mature’ piece of technology designed 20 years ago and you’ll be implementing something new before long.
Properly trialling a cloud platform can take time but it will be time very well spent Vs a 2 hour meeting with Mr Shiney shoes promising you the world!
What should a low cost warehouse management system offer?
Great, low cost warehouse management systems should offer everything very expensive warehouse management systems do! It’s all about scale!
If you need a one user system because you operate from a small warehouse or even a large garage, you need a monthly cost to reflect your current trading position! A one user warehouse management system model does not work for legacy technology providers. There are too many overheads, setup days and typically a 4-6 month timescale to work with.
If a free online trial isn’t available, look for a better partner!
Small, nimble businesses often need a better service than large established businesses due to their dynamic nature but strangely enough can’t afford the price tag historically associated with great software and great service!
Good low cost warehouse management system functions
As outlined above, low cost warehouse management system functions should be no different to very expensive warehouse management system functions but below are some key areas to look for:
- Goods in processessing
- Returns processessing
- Inbound quality management checks
- Automated putaway of stock using configurable algorithms
- Outbound order management
- Outbound order processing including pick, pack and despatch
- EDI cababilities including a well documented API
- Realtime processing
- Warehouse KPI Management Dashboards
- User configurable reporting
- Web access for clients, suppliers and partners
Low cost warehouse management system platform from ClarusWMS
Are you launching a startup business or perhaps growing a small 3PL fulfilment operation? Speak to one of our team to understand how ClarusWMS’ simple cloud subscription platform can support excellence from day one promoting better customer service, better results and faster growth. From depot to National DC, the ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
With a simple monthly subscription, no minimum term and users live in a matter of weeks, START UP as you mean to go on!
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of cloud warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution and manufacturing.