In 2008, Supply Chain Matters began to recognize the potential attraction of on-demand (software-as-a-service SaaS) warehouse (WMS) and inventory management software applications.  At the time, this technology alternative was fairly innovative in the market, but certain customers were already catching-on to the benefits.  The largest benefit was cost attractiveness and accelerated  time-to-benefit, with no up-front capital costs for software acquisition, training, and infrastructure deployment. The area of most confusion however was depth of functionality, and whether these types of applications could approach “tier one” vendor offerings.

Flash forward to 2010 and today’s market can even be more attracted to SaaS platform applications since cost, rapid implementation, and narrower scope implementation have become a more weighted criteria.  Overall functionality has come a long way as well, with easy to use user interfaces.

This year also marks the U.S. entry of SaaS based WMS provider SnapFulfil, and with this introduction the U.S. market will have even more choice in SaaS WMS.  The company itself  has longstanding roots going back to 1972 in the entity of Synergy Logistics in the U.K.  SnapFulfil was launched in the U.K. during 2007 and has built-up a referenceable customer base.

The company’s marketing byline notes that it provides a new way to deploy WMS and will change traditional thinking about software. Marketing aside, this is a viable alternative worth considering especially if your organization is willing to trade-off high customization for flexibility and faster deployment. The company truly believes in a different paradigm of software deployment with a business premise that implementation risk should reside with the software provider vs. the buyer.  That alone is refreshing.  To carryout that premise, SnapFulfil includes the implementation cost within the contracted monthly pricing, has a goal for less than 30 day implementation, and backs-up its commitment by not initiating monthly billing until the actual go-live date.

Functionality is broad and business rules driven, and the company touts its ability to provide equivalent tier one functionality to include resources management, third party logistics support, kitting capabilities related to production, yard management and decent management reporting.  Hosting data centers exist both in Boston and London and have been certified.

If your operation needs good functionality and you’re open to an SaaS approach, it may be worth your while to investigate SnapFulfil.

Bob Ferrari