Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is Snapfulfil?

Snapfulfil is a comprehensive Warehouse Management System (WMS), which is conceptually innovative, functionally rich and technically advanced. So what is different? It is a fully hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) solution delivered as part of a complete package. The functionality of Snapfulfil is broken down into discrete modules which cover all the activities in the warehouse:
- Receiving
- Warehouse Resource Supervision & Management
- Inventory Control
- Order Management
- Picking
- Despatch
- Perpetual Audit
- Yard Management
Snapfulfil is also a multi-site, multi-lingual solution with the ability to support multiple inventory owners.
Snapfulfil is easy to use with a simple intuitive user interface throughout, built on the foundation of over 30 years experience in warehouse control. Processes and business rules can be configured and changed to provide high levels of flexibility.
Snapfulfil utilises RF terminals, barcode scanning, RFID systems and voice technologies.

What is a SaaS system?

A SaaS or Software as a Service solution delivers software to your business without the need for investment in internal IT infrastructure or the associated resource overhead traditionally required.
The software is delivered via a secure and dedicated internet connection from our state of the art Data Centre facilities. We continually monitor the Snapfulfil solution, proactively policing and administering the solution to deliver optimum performance. We back up our service with a comprehensive support service, ensuring our customers can focus on running their business and not on running IT.

Are there any minimum requirements I should be aware of?

The minimum number of RF users required in any Snapfulfil installation is 5.
Your desktop users will require a PC with Internet Explorer 6.0 or later and a monitor with 1024 x 768 (1280 x 768 recommended) minimum resolution, which are virtually ubiquitous these days. All connectivity to the internet will be taken care of by us. We will conduct a site survey at your warehouse to verify how many access points are required, then supply and install these RF Devices as part of our service, at no additional cost to you.

SaaS WMS or Cloud WMS?

What is the Difference?
Like a lot of terminology, phrases such as 'In the Cloud' or 'Software as a Service' can often be misused or misinterpreted. We don't profess to be experts in phraseology, but as an experienced Software as a Service vendor, we would like to clarify some of the points that you should be aware of when reviewing Warehouse Management Software Systems.

"In the Cloud"
Software must be installed on some form of computer hardware. If it is installed on your own hardware, on your premises, it is often described as 'On Premise'.
To do this, you must buy the software, often involving substantial investment and then implement the software within your own environment/operation. This acquisition and the provision of the implementation services will often require help and services from the selected software vendor, raising the cost. Combining this with the Radio Frequency hardware and supporting infrastructure can often lead to substantial 'up-front investment.

Installing the Software "in the Cloud" allows you to install the selected software on someone else's hardware, but often still involves most of the headaches and costs associated with On Premise implementations.

"Software as a Service" or SaaS
SaaS software provision uses "The Cloud" for the installation and deployment of the software on professionally managed computer hardware, but takes away the majority of the headaches associated with software implementation, by wrapping up the configuration and implementation services into the monthly subscription. Snapfulfil takes this process to the next level, by also including all of the RF hardware and supporting network as well, but enough about how good we are!

By deploying Cloud-based WMS I can remove on-premises IT. Is this cost saving the greatest benefit to Cloud-based WMS?

The cost saving is a major consideration, but there are others:

Corporate Level Data Centre

Few businesses could justify the use of a large scale, virtualised data centre, with hundreds of processor cores, 24 hour security, diesel power generator backup and load balancing business servers dedicated to the provision of the WMS, but with the SaaS Model, this investment of Tens of thousands of pounds per month is shared across the user base. Effectively delivering a much more powerful IT platform for much less cost to the users.

 

Reduction of IT Overhead

Another saving is due to the centralised location of the application allows constant monitoring by IT experts, to look after routine back-ups, upgrades, database administration and on-going maintenance. This means the client’s own IT can focus on other core business needs without needing to recruit additional headcount.

 

Speed to Value and Return on Investment (ROI)

On-premise systems can take many months, to implement with the additional planning and preparation required for a fixed site deployment. This time and initial investment/financial lease can therefore take many years for companies to see a return on their investment. SaaS warehouse management system installations alow many of the steps to be taken out, providing the system faster (often in less than three months) providing an almost immediate ROI

 

 

How do I know a pay-as-you-go operating expense model will not prove more expensive than a fixed cost capital-intensive business model over the long term?

This is a common myth, but often fails to take into account all of the real costs of owning a WMS. When a company purchases a perpetual licence, this often requires on-going maintenance and support. If that rate is 20%, then the company is effectively purchasing the licence again every 5 years. This 5 year term will often require an upgrade to the IT Server hardware and hand held devices, which can create a new investment requirement of same magnitude as the initial costs for deployment and more..

Finally, as many people will tell you from bitter experience, the business ‘cost’ of choosing the wrong system can far outweigh the financial costs involved. If a business chooses the wrong on-premise system, it was misrepresented during the sale process, or poorly delivered by the project team then no matter what, that business is stuck with that poor system for many years and the ‘savings’ will soon disappear.
If that system circumstance occurs with a subscription model, the vendor will be highly motivated to resolve the issue or they will lose money when their client simply selects another SaaS system.

As Benjamin Franklin once wrote ““The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” 

Do Cloud-based systems have the same range of features as on-premises WMS? Do they perform as quickly and in a way that is as user-friendly?

The simple answer to this question is “of course”, but a more detailed answer would really be “of course, but it depends on the system and setup.” Some on-premise systems may be feature rich, but deployed on poor networks, or from inferior IT servers. Maybe the RF network is badly configured or the HHTs are old/cheap technology. Any business solution is only as good as its component parts. When choosing a WMS solution, you can effectively forget the deployment method; the important parts are functionality, quality of HHT and RF provision, Project Management experience and attention to customer service once installed.
If you are considering cloud/SaaS then you must consider the bandwidth available to connect to the internet of course, but this should only be a serious concern if the connection is very poor, or if software isn’t optimised for web deployment.

Connectivity

How can I trust a remote hosted system?

Our mirrored server arrays are hosted in two secure environments in London and Boston. Both are restricted access, state of the art, high availability ISO 27001 certified data centre facilities (formally SAS 70 Level II), protected by CCTV monitoring and manned security 24x7.
We provide dedicated, secure primary and secondary connections to the internet, with failsafe precautions in case of primary connection failure.
Access to your system is controlled by encrypted login credentials and unique session identification, to ensure that only authorised people can login. All information transmitted and received is securely encrypted and to ensure that your data is as safe as possible, we utilise the latest in "virtual machines" and 128 bit  database encryption to offer complete peace of mind.

What happens if I lose my internet connection?

As part of the package Snapfulfil will provide a dedicated and robust connection between the provided RF Infrastructure and the data centres, with a failsafe backup connection to protect against the unforeseen. These connections will consist of a primary ADSL line from BT and a secondary data line from a different supplier, plus all of the hardware you need to access these connections.
In the event that the primary modem or BT line fails then the connection is automatically transferred to the secondary connection. Since the lines are constantly monitored the original fault will probably be fixed before you are even aware there was a problem.

Will the connection go through my firewall?

No, Snapfulfil will supply an independent Security Gateway (Zywall USG series) and for redundancy a backup router (Zyxel P-660R) with a built in firewall. Since the only traffic on the connection is between your RF site and the Synergy hosted solution, issues such as viruses are not a concern.

Can you use my current internet provider for Snapfulfil?

In order to avoid contention and support issues, the Snapfulfil solution is delivered to your RF Network in a self contained environment.

Can I use your internet connection for my other business needs?

No. It is critical in delivering a ‘Real Time’ SaaS solution that there is no contention with other applications.

Can I connect from multiple locations simultaneously using my own login?

Yes, although each will be treated as a separate session and use one of your user licenses. This ensures that should you wish to view or interact with your business from anywhere in the world with internet access, you can!

Downtime can be a big issue in the warehouse. With cloud WMS, my system rests on the availability of the Internet. If this was to go down, so would the WMS. How can I add resilience?

Internet connectivity is often required for many aspects of the modern business, making the availability of the internet fundamental for the whole business, not just the SaaS element. For example our solution includes multiple redundant connections to the internet, including wireless and cabled connections, plus we will often use the companies own SDSL and Leased connections to back up the connections provided by Snapfulfil. Our overall uptime was 99.97% last year, which equates to less than 3 hours of downtime in a year. This demonstrates that not only is the uptime very good, but often higher than many on-premise systems that might suffer DB failures and hardware issues with no rapid reponse process in place.

Database

Does anyone have direct access to the database?

Direct access to the database is limited to Synergy support staff. Your data is at all times protected from unauthorised access and is encrypted using 128 bit encryption technology. Each Snapfulfil client will have their own dedicated database and URL. The login screen is protected by an encrypted password, top of the range system security and multiple firewalls, to ensure that the only people looking at your data are authorised to do so.

What database does the system utilise?

Microsoft SQL Server 2008, configured to utilise clustered nodes and 128 bit data encryption has been selected due to its inherent security, robustness and resilience.

Security

What disaster recovery processes do you have?

Our Hosted server solution is spread across two separate Data Centres, thus providing a geographically resilient solution and allowing us to operate out of either Data Centre. In the event of a failure at either centre the system will automatically switch to the other site, which has an identical copy of the database maintained at the transaction level.

How can I control use of the system?

When users are added to the system, the user's profile controls precisely what they can view and the actions they can take. These controls are set via the specific user's logon ID.

Security is important to me and my customers. What level of protection can you offer over my data when it is located in your cloud?

As you can imagine, data security is paramount to all SaaS clients. With recent high profile events relating to iCloud, it would appear that no-one is safe! However the level of protection for free-to-use consumer systems and the encrypted security provided by a software vendor that uses SaaS deployment at the core of its business is very different.

The latest hardware firewalls, , 128 bit / HTTPS login encrypted data streams and password security checks all add levels of protection to the cloud systems on offer. 

Functionality

Can we measure productivity?

Yes, this is one of the key features of our "Real Time" RF Driven solution. Snapfulfil provides a host of reports on individual and team performance, as well as tracking this against agreed standards, to help you to get the best from your warehouse operatives.

What does Snapfulfil do?

The functionality of Snapfulfil is broken down into discrete modules which cover all the activities in the warehouse, allowing your operators to navigate simply and easily around the system.
Each module contains high levels of functionality, which combined with the 'Rules' and 'Workflow' engines can accommodate virtually all warehouse functions without the need to modify the system.

Support

How does support work?

Snapfulfil monitors availability, performance, and reliability on a 24/7 profile.  Additional customer telephone and email support is provided by the dedicated Snapfulfil service desk and operates between 9.00am and 5.30pm for standard office hour's support. This support is provided in your simple monthly fee, paid with your Snapfulfil subscription. Telephone support, up to 24/7 cover can be provided if required. Contact us for more details.

If any supplied equipment breaks down, what do we do?

If any of our supplied equipment becomes defective we will send out a replacement by mail/courier the same day the defective unit is received at our repair centre, next day if it arrives after noon.

Technical

How is the interfacing to my systems managed?

We provide data files, interfaces and import/export routines to your current business system, to ensure that the software seamlessly fits in to your current operations. Each client’s requirements are unique so please contact us for more details on your particular circumstances.