One of the most time-intensive and expensive parts of getting started with a new warehouse management system has always been integration. Connecting your core systems (financial, marketing, and ERP, for example) to work together with your WMS has traditionally taken months to implement, and it has been at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Luckily, technology has come a long way, and with the power of the cloud and sophisticated integration toolsets, you now have the freedom to quickly and easily connect all your internal, client, partner, and vendor systems. What was previously done in a few months can now be completed in just a few days for an incredibly low cost.
Advanced cloud platforms and sophisticated data integration toolsets allow for cheaper, faster, and more secure integration than was ever before possible. With this new integration power, you have the freedom to access, share, and utilize your data from any number of sources. This helps you reduce costs, accomplish more tasks, provide better customer service, and find new ways to make improvements in your supply chain.
The biggest hurdle in data integration used to be the intense number of man-hours it took for the custom coding and development required to connect components. Pre-built connectors already loaded into the WMS help you quickly and natively connect to Oracle, SAP, Sage, Quickbooks, or one of 500+ other applications. Custom connections are also easier to create than ever before. Visual mapping tools do all the coding work for you so integration can be done in a simple drag-and-drop interface. Two tools, in particular, are a huge help during the data integration process so that everything works together to help your warehouse run smoothly:
- Business Modeler — a visual tool for designing business logic for an application.
- Job Designer — a visual tool for functional diagramming, delineating data development, and flow sequencing using components and connectors.
Time-intensive reports are a thing of the past too, as automatic testing and debugging features quickly and accurately identify errors and issues during integration. Previously, you would have paid your vendor or consultant a boatload of money for testing, error reporting, error correction, and then retesting. This process not only costs money, but it takes a lot of time, delaying your ability to use the new system.
Advanced management and monitoring tools within a cloud-based WMS offer powerful testing, debugging, management, and tuning features to track data execution statistics in real-time. What was an essential yet arduous part of launching your WMS is now an automatic function which you never notice that always runs in the background.
A cloud-based warehouse management system puts everything in the same place for easy and efficient collaboration. All project stakeholders, whether they are your employees, clients, vendors, or partners, work in the same platform and are able to make decisions with the same data. This consolidates all project information and enterprise metadata into a centralized repository shared by all team members: business users, job developers, and IT operations staff. Developers can easily version jobs with the ability to rollback to a prior version if anything should go wrong. This means that whether it’s your first integration with your ERP system or your 100th integration with a new client or a new partner, communicating progress, sharing information, and keeping everything on track is easier than ever before.