Using a Warehouse management system (WMS), no matter the type or functionality, is a must for success in any operation. However, choosing the right solution for your business, today and in the future, can be a complicated exercise. You have to understand what software is the right fit, at the right price point and at the right ROI. Adding to the confusion is many ERPs have started to offer a WMS module as part of their core system. The advantage of this is an all-in-one system with easy integration alongside the ERP. But can the ERP’s WMS module functionality hold up over time and be able to scale with your business growth?
For some small to mid-sized businesses there are situations that the ERP WMS module can be just what you need. If you are a small distributor with a highly predictable operation and have 5 or less warehouse employees, an ERP WMS module could be sufficient. But beyond this, there a more than a few considerations when deciding to employ a true WMS or an ERP WMS module.
- Picking – With a true WMS, you will have ultimate picking flexibility. Need to improve productivity and capacity? Moving to a new picking method like voice directed picking or pick to box will allow you to tailor your needs to your operations and a true WMS can make these transitions seamlessly. Many ERP WMS modules, however, will restrict your options to only a few methods or just one.
- Putaway – Putaway is integral to inventory control and with a true WMS you’ll have advanced putaway logic with the ability to create defined rules allowing for smart use of floor and rack space, as well as manage a high number of SKUs across multiple zones. With and ERP WMS module, putaway is typically limited to only the one primary location.
- Task Management – Using a true WMS, you can take advantage of a high level of work prioritization and have task interleaving capabilities. This can alleviate wasted movements and assure that orders leave the warehouse on time. In contrast, most ERP WMS modules have very limited prioritization functionalities, and most do not offer task interleaving.
- Reporting and Dashboards – One of the most important aspects of a successful warehouse operation is the availability of real-time data and reporting for measuring success and finding opportunities to improve. A true WMS can provide multiple dashboards that show operational data to managers and on the warehouse floor. Many also offer this information on a web basis, so you can check operations no matter where you are in the world. Many ERP WMS modules do not offer any real-time data or reporting based on historical trends.
- Advanced Capabilities – ERP WMS modules are at a loss when it comes to advanced capabilities, the following functions come standard with many true WMS systems. Including: Transportation management, dock scheduling, advanced vendor compliance, labor management and advanced automation integration (robotics, AS/RS ect.)
A WMS of any type is an improvement to operations that are not currently using one, they can improve efficiency and reduce costs across the warehouse. However, opting to use an ERP WMS module due to ease of integration or cost, instead of a true WMS, can limit a company’s ability to be flexible within their operations, as well as restrict growth.
FASCOR WMS is a true WMS with all of the functionalities mentioned above, schedule a 30-minute, personal demo and our team can answer all of your WMS questions.