This week, I’ve been at SuiteWorld in Las Vegas. It’s NetSuite’s biggest event and, in addition to being a good opportunity to learn about the challenges facing e-commerce companies today, it’s also a really good place to learn about how NetSuite is developing its platform.Its Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a part of that platform, and yesterday I headed along to hear NetSuite's principal WMS consultants talk about how its functionalities are evolving.
The talk was pretty refreshing. If you prefer to watch and listen instead of read then check out the video I recorded in-between sessions here. Scroll down for my written summary.
It was clear from the presentation just how much NetSuite has been focusing on its WMS positioning. Probably most significantly, it looks like it's moving its WMS Lite platform away from being its entry-level product. Instead, they're making Advanced Inventory the new entry-point.
So, what about WMS Lite? Essentially, it's morphed into the new NetSuite WMS. The 'Lite' has been dropped from the name, which clearly has significance in terms of how NetSuite is positioning itself. The new NetSuite WMS is an evolution; one that's likely come around as a result of the number of large warehouses wanting to use the system.
NetSuite's new three-tiered approach to warehouse management
This evolution involves the inclusion of units of measure, of the ability to receive goods as pallets/cases...those are two examples. These are functions that were noticeably absent from WMS Lite, so will no doubt be welcome additions for NetSuite's WMS users. These additions, and NetSuite's proactive approach to developing its WMS offering, show that it's clearly listening to its customers. It's listening, it's changing. That can only ever be a positive.
There's also a third element to its WMS offering. It has introduced LogFire; a cloud-based WMS that was acquired by Oracle a couple of years ago. It's a cloud-based WMS with around 45 big clients. And it's made some good strategic moves; its integration with Oracle's Transport Management System will no doubt provide its customers with some peace of mind.
So, essentially, NetSuite is building a three-tiered WMS offering. Advanced Inventory is the new entry point, NetSuite WMS offers increased functionalities, and Oracle's new Cloud WMS rounds out the group.
What does this all mean?
NetSuite's expansion of its WMS capabilities echoes the truth that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to warehouse management. There are thousands of warehouses, thousands of companies, each of them dealing with different order volumes, each with their own specific needs. A lot of these companies need custom-fit solutions. An off-the-shelf offering just doesn't cut it for them.
Ultimately, it's down to each company to enact the changes that they need to see in order to help their brand to grow. NetSuite's developing more software to match more needs. But software isn't the full picture.
It's easy for WMS providers to look at the features that their prospects say that they need, and work out ways to tick them off. It's far more difficult to establish how those features should be implemented.
That was one of the biggest eye-openers that we came across when building our WMS; the consultative element of implementing a WMS, of establishing which features are actually needed and how they should be used in each specific warehouse space...that's a massive need. And it's one that we meet.