If you are out searching for a warehouse management system there are lots of options depending on the complexity of your business and your budget. One option to consider is an on demand solution or software as a service (SaaS).
We recently had the opportunity to have a presentation by Deposco of their ShipForce warehouse management system on demand software solution. Deposco was established in 2004 and has financial backing by The Albermarle Group and UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. In addition to ShipForce, Deposco also offers an Inventory Management System (StockForce), a Supply Chain Management system (Mobile WorkForce) as well as Business Intelligence (BI) to support on-demand user support of key warehouse metrics.
ShipForce offers all of the standard warehouse management system functionality including: receiving by advance shipping notice (ASN), purchase order or blind, quality verification, put away (directed or user enabled), replenishment, pick selection options, pack verification, inventory adjustments, etc. These functions are performed in conjunction with radio frequency (RF) to guide the user to perform the given task.
What you gain with a SaaS model is reduced need for additional Information Technology staff to maintain another application, the cost of additional equipment to support both a test and a production environment and the cost of license and maintenance fees associated with purchasing the application.
ShipForce has integration points from the client’s ERP application for sales orders, purchase orders, return merchandise authorization (RMA), item master, locations, and additional master type data. And standard integrations from ShipForce up to the client’s ERP system for shipment details, inventory synchronization, and in process fulfillment status as needed. These data integrations can be sent and received in a number of different ways including: web services, FTP, flat files, HTTP, direct database connections or direct upload into a user integration point.
What you can look forward to gain with a warehouse management system like ShipForce is a reduction in labor force through more efficient automated processes; elimination of manual data entry through the use of RF technology. Reduced shipping errors with the use of pack verification and an integrated manifesting system. Ability to reduce inventory write offs as all inventory locations and their contents are controlled systemically and all inventory movement is guided via the RF. And finally because of better control and management of what inventory is in the warehouse and where should lead to reduction in overall inventory and increased inventory turns.
Deposco’s ShipForce is SAS 70 type II certified and its audit controls of activities, processes and safeguards were developed by members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA). Deposco’s application complies with Sarbanes-Oxley for public companies need for compliance to these standards and it is also PCI DSS certified.
With any SaaS software model you need to be sure that the software you will be utilizing is housed in a secure environment that has redundancy for fail over for everything from a generator for power to multiple sources into the building for supporting WAN. Redundancy is key here to be sure that you have sufficient and timely rollover to protect your company in the event of a failure at the vendor’s location. In addition to this failover protection you will also need to be sure you get validated transaction through put and at what connection speed to the SaaS vendor’s location. The larger the transaction volume the larger the communication connection will need to be.
So as you embark on your next warehouse management system selection remember that there are many options out there and a SaaS model is certainly one to consider!