1) Overview of Warehouse Management System
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is a software or a service used to manage and monitor end-to-end warehousing operations. They are used by both ecommerce and conventional companies. There are also a few B2B companies that provide standalone warehousing services to other brands.
WMS platforms or software generally provide services related to stock management, personnel management, putaway, and dispatch operations. They monitor and control all the processes taking place inside the warehouse, from stocking the products and shipping them out.
Warehouse management systems might also provide additional services such as automation tools and integration with other services. These are especially useful for companies that use one single platform for end-to-end supply chain management.
2) How Does a Warehouse Management System Work?
Most of the popular warehouse management services today are offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms. Apart from these cloud-based solutions, conventional on-premises software are also available.
The Warehouse Management System (WMS) controls all processes inside the warehouse. This starts from the moment an item enters the warehouse. The arrival of the item or consignment is recorded by the WMS. All further operations that happen with the particular item are also monitored. This includes the initial stocking and also putways. This is followed till the item is dispatched from the warehouse.
This end-to-end inventory management provides the WMS with a detailed log of the entire inventory of the warehouse. This consolidated data is used to monitor and streamline things. At the end of the day, this makes it possible to efficiently manage a large warehouse with minimal manual intervention.
3) Top 10 Best WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) Software for Order Fulfillment
We have enumerated the top 10 WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) available in the market today for you. This will give you a brief summary of the top 10 WMS Software and help you choose the right one for your business.
Unicommerce is one of the leading Warehouse Management Systems. They manage over 6000 warehouses globally. Unicommerce’s advanced WMS is well equipped to handle warehouses of different sizes and types. Unicommerce also offers some ecommerce specific features, which makes them especially suited to ecommerce businesses.
Unicommerce offers targeted features to help you streamline things in an omnichannel retail scenario. Unicommerce WMS helps you manage proper allocation in different warehouses and in maintaining viable stock levels. The dispatch and shipment of products can also be automated and monitored from this WMS.
3.2) Vin eRetail WMS by Vinculum
Vin eRetail WMS by Vinculum is a cloud-based Warehouse Management Platform designed for a wide range of use cases. It can provide services to retailers, distributors, emerging ecommerce brands, marketplaces, and 3pl service providers.
Vin eRetail provides the necessary features to make multi-location inventory management a breeze. This WMS also features marketplace integration, enabling you to automate multi-platform selling. Vinculum also has integrations with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms like Oracle and SAP.
Increff WMS is a warehouse management service (WMS) that also features multi-channel order synchronization and fulfillment. They are offered as a SaaS (software as a service) platform and has a simple web-based interface. Increff WMS provides a single-level view of inventory and orders across multiple channels with real-time synchronization.
Increff WMS is targeted towards medium and large warehouses. Increff also offers integrations with several ecommerce platforms, logistics service providers, and ERPs.
SAP WMS is a warehouse management system designed to manage high-volume warehouse operations. SAP WMS features the necessary tools required to integrated complex supply chains, logistics, and distribution processes. It aims to optimize and streamline business processes such as multi-channel fulfillment, cross docking, and distribution operations.
SAP WMS supports both cloud-based and on-premises deployment to provide a comprehensive warehouse management solution. It can help you fully integrate production, end-to-end warehouse management, and control of warehouse automation equipment.
3.5) Oracle Warehouse Management
Oracle WMS is a cloud-based warehouse management solution that enables you to optimize inventory operations. It supports omnichannel fulfillment and can also manage reverse logistics. Oracle WMS also supports multi-channel and multi-location stock synchronization.
You can also integrate various services with Oracle WMS to optimize your warehouse operations. Oracle also provides a customer cloud community service to encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaborations.
3.6) TECSYS Warehouse Management
TECSYS Warehouse Management is a cloud-based warehouse management service (WMS) that provides cutting-edge warehouse and supply chain management services. TECSYS Warehouse Management currently serves over 600 clients and helps to reduce inefficiencies by improving the end-to-end warehouse management processes and by increasing order accuracy.
The TECSYS WMS can be implemented with minimal modifications to your business processes. They are also a Visionary on Gartner’s WMS magic Quadrant for the 9th consecutive year now.
3.7) Reflex WMS
Reflex WMS is a multi-site and multi-channel warehouse management system. The Reflex WMS has been deployed in 1100+ warehouses all over the world. They are designed to meet the challenges of omnichannel and ecommerce logistics.
Reflex WMS is a SaaS platform and can integrate with various other services like ERP, CRM, TMS, and warehouse operation automation tools and services.
3.8) 3PL Warehouse Manager
3PL Warehouse Manager is a Warehouse Management Solution targeted towards 3PLs. It is a cloud-based solution that can significantly streamline the operations of 3rd party logistics service providers . 3PL Warehouse Manager offers several 3PL-specific features including invoicing and billing with QuickBooks integration. You can also automate dispatch with API integrations.
3PL Warehouse Manager also offers several features to help manage multiple customers that a 3PL will have. You can create segmented billing and report with flexible billing schedules for each customer. You can also create scalable and repeatable workflows for each customer.
3.9) Fishbowl Warehouse
Fishbowl Warehouse is an end-to-end warehouse management tool that provides seamless integration with QuickBooks. They are also integrated with other services like Salesforce, Xero, and USP Ready. FishBowl WMS provides some standout features like using mobile devices to scan products and create invoices.
FishBowl WMS claims to offer enterprise ERP like functionality at a fraction of the cost. FishBowl offers a range of features apart from the usual warehouse management tools to make it a complete warehouse management service. These include features like business intelligence tools, employee time tracking, and ecommerce, CRM, and EDI integrations.
3.10) Oracle Netsuite
Oracle Netsuite is a cloud-based WMS that is marketed as a unified business management suite. Their range of features encompasses Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and ecommerce.
Oracle Netsuite WMS features intelligent pick and pack workflows, cycle counting, and shipping system integrations. Oracle Netsuite also provides a mobile application that enables users to perform tasks related to warehouse operations directly from a mobile device.
4) How to Choose The Best Warehouse Management Software for Your Ecommerce Business?
When you are looking for a Warehouse Management System for your business, there are several parameters that you need to keep in mind. We have provided a brief summary of some of the most important points to consider. You can use these as reference points to identify the best WMS for your business.
4.1) Overall Operational Cost
The overall operational cost of the Warehouse Management System should be one of the primary considerations. For cloud-based WMS solutions, the major costs will be the subscription cost and the cost incurred by you to make necessary changes in your warehouse equipment. To calculate the subscription cost, you need to carefully look at the pricing model followed by the WMS. This will enable you to calculate the exact cost that will be incurred by you.
For on-premises software, the calculation is a bit more complicated. You need to calculate the cost incurred by the initial purchase of the software. If any subscription-based services are offered (like technical support), you also need to consider the ones necessary for your business and calculate the cost. Most importantly, you need to consider the cost that will be incurred by the equipment you need to deploy to run the on-premises WMS.
4.2) Reliability of the Software
The WMS will be responsible for managing and monitoring your entire warehouse operations. The overall reliability of the software or the platform should be an important consideration. Any glitch in this space will result in a complete shutdown for your entire business and supply chain. Glitches also have the potential to corrupt your entire inventory database.
You can gauge the reliability of the software by looking at the user reviews and reputation of the platform. Well-established WMS platforms generally have enough reliability and redundancies built-in. It is recommended that you do not opt for platforms with nonexistent user reviews.
The overall scalability of the WMS platform you are choosing is important. If our business expands in the future, it will be a cumbersome task to switch to another WMS platform. You should check if the software you are choosing offers enough features and tools to enable future expansion.
If you plan to add certain features or workflows in the future, make sure that the WMS software supports them. If you are planning to switch to a multi-location warehouse model, do check if the WMS platform supports the same. This holds true for other features like omnichannel retail and multiple customer support.
4.4) Automation Tools
Automation tools have become one of the necessities in warehouses today. You need to check if the WMS platform you are selecting offers appropriate automation tools. The exact requirements will differ based on your business processes.
Basic automation tools to automate dispatch, putaway, and other regular processes are the bare necessities. Based on the software and on your requirements, you might need more advanced automation tools to automate parts of your warehouse processes. Integration with other services at the API level can help in efficiently automating a range of business processes.
4.5) Business Intelligence Features
AI-assisted Business Intelligence features have become the norm in the industry today. They can enable you to get insights into your business processes and identify pain points. You should always look for Business Intelligence and data analytics features appropriate to the industry you operate in.
Proper Business Intelligence features can help you save on human resource costs and increase efficiency. The kind of insights provided by these tools are almost impossible to achieve manually. These features are increasingly becoming necessary to maintain an edge over the competition.
4.6) Technical Support Provided
Proper technical support can make using a WMS platform a significantly better experience. You will need technical support from the onboarding process itself. In case of glitches or other problems, a good technical support department can help you go back to normal significantly faster.
If the Warehouse Management Service you are using offers paid plans for faster or better tech support, we always recommend that you opt for them.
5) How Do Warehouse Management Systems Help Streamline Ecommerce Operations?
While you are opting for an ecommerce platform suitable for your business, it is important to understand the ways a WMS will help streamline your ecommerce business operations.
5.1) Provides a Consolidated View
A WMS will enable you to get a consolidated view of your entire warehouse operations from a single place. This lets you monitor every process that takes place inside the warehouse.
In case you want to find any detail about a product, you can instantly access it using the Warehouse Management Software. You can also access details about any product, product category, or type, with access to all the previous data points. This can be especially used in providing insights to optimize and streamline your business processes.
5.2) Access to Automation Tools
Warehouse Management Systems provides you access to warehouse automation tools that can be implemented efficiently. This can be something as simple as integration with other services to monitor consignments and dispatches, to more sophisticated automation tools to automate processes like putaway.
Other warehouse tasks like employee clock-ins and clock-outs, product scanning, and related monitoring tasks can also be automated. If you are looking to automate your warehouse operations, the sky is the limit with modern WMS platforms.
5.3) Multi-Location Integrations
Warehouse Management Service platforms can help you sync inventory and operations between multiple warehouse locations using multi-location integrations. This enables you to further optimize operations.
Using multi-location integrations, you can seamlessly monitor and balance stock levels between multiple warehouses. You can also optimize the location of specific products by using past data and analytics features. You can also integrate omnichannel retail and seamlessly manage operations.
5) Final Conclusion
Logistics forms the backbone of the global economy. It is also equally important in ensuring the viability of ecommerce businesses.
Warehouses and the logistics related to them forms the most important part of this supply chain. This is where Warehouse Management Services come into play. They enable unforeseen levels of integration and automation in warehouses. This leads to cost savings which benefit every stakeholder in this process.
Perhaps even more important than the cost savings are the new possibilities opened by WMS platforms. WMS platforms help to create and access new markets and customer bases which were deemed unreachable through traditional logistics operations. They achieve this by significantly reducing the overhead and inventory holding costs for the logistics business owners.
A proper WMS platform can prove to be a game-changer for your business by giving you access to these efficiencies and streamlined processes. This can give you an edge over your competitors and provide access to unexplored markets teeming with potential.
1) What are the WMS Software available for ecommerce business owners?
Some of the best WMS software available in the market are Unicommerce, Vin eRetail WMS by Vinculum, Increff, and Oracle Warehouse Management. Most of the top WMS software in the market are provided as Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms.
If you are looking for on-premises deployment, WMS software like SAP WMS can be a good choice. There are also WMS platforms that target a specific niche. For example, if you are a 3PL business owner, you can take a look at 3PL Warehouse Manager.
2) How to Choose the Best WMS software for your business?
While looking for the best WMS platform for your business, you need to take several factors into consideration. Some of the most important factors to consider while looking for a WMS are the overall cost that will be incurred, the range of features provided, automation tools and business intelligence features available, and overall reliability.
You also need to have an idea about the features that your business needs, and look for the availability of those. You should also look at the overall scalability of the WMS platform so that it does not pose a bottleneck as your business grows.