What is a Warehouse Management System and Why do You Need It?

What is a Warehouse Management System and Why do You Need It?

A Warehouse Management System, or WMS, is software with processes that enable organizations to administer and manage warehouse operations. The primary operations in a warehouse include managing inventory, taking up processes and auditing. WMS can be the helping hand for businesses to take care of all these operations from the moment goods enter a warehouse until they are shipped.

To get a clearer understanding, consider an example, a WMS provides you with the visibility into your inventory at any time and from any location. Additionally, it helps manage supply chain operations from the wholesaler to the warehouse, and then to the distribution centre or retailer.

In case you are looking for something similar to manage your warehouse or inventory, you should know about the different types of WMS to choose. We have got you a detailed explanation of the three main types of the warehouse management system.

Types of Warehouse Management Systems

Standalone WMS

Standalone WMS is the most basic WMS type that is known for its warehouse management features. You can combine it with your existing or future solutions. However, it is sold as a unique product without any supply chain functions.

Standalone systems have got only the most significant features of a potential WMS module. It typically incorporates warehouse operations and inventory management. On using a standalone WMS, you will get features like barcode scanning, expiration date tracking, cycle counting, receiving, slotting putaway, picking, packaging, and shipping.

This type is a suitable option for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that have a tight budget. It doesn’t cover the logistics and integrated features, which you can find in other types of WMSs.

Supply Chain Modules

Supply chain modules can be considered as the type of WMS system that is a subcategory of SCM (Supply Chain Management). SCM software ranges to a broader scope of features – from managing vendor relationships to business administrations to risk management. Its main aim is to automate tasks like inventory management, product cycles and material sourcing.

When you invest in this WMS type, you also need to put your money in supply chain planning applications offering warehousing features. Combining your WMS with other applications is believed to be a good option ensuring paramount cohesion between different sections of your business. Supply chain modules act as a holistic approach to management as it includes both warehouse features and supply chain, whereas standalone deals only in the former.

Integrated with ERP

ERP is a leading software solution that comes with all the core applications crucial for successful 3PL processes. From supply chain planning, customer relationship management, to accounting and human resources, it incorporates everything you need for warehouse and inventory management.

So, if you are looking forward to upgrading your software solutions, integrated ERP systems are the best option. You will get a perfect edge of your peers and space to boost your ROI. They offer massive supply chain execution, scalability and warehouse management features. However, managing warehouses is not the core feature of ERP.

WMS as integration with ERP and as a supply chain module are largely different from the basic standalone systems. The call is yours if you want a specialized WMS or benefit of the combined software product. Make a wise decision based on your business size and long-term goals.

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Published by Tectra Technologies


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