Online shopping and e-commerce aren’t just a way to buy things anymore; they have become a lifestyle for most people.
The convenience and fast purchases from the comfort of their homes mean that customers almost entirely depend on online shopping.
This has created an overload of orders and shipments, making it harder for warehouses to keep operations running seamlessly.
In this article, you will discover the meaning of warehouse management systems (WMS), how they benefit your business and get to know the best WMS you can use to manage your eCommerce store.
What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?
A WMS is primarily used to maximize labor and space utilization with the help of coordinated material flows and optimized resource usage.
A WMS is primarily used to maximize labor and space utilization with the help of coordinated material flows and optimized resource usage.
It also acts as a great support system for global supply chains, which include the manufacturing and distribution processes for any businesses with a requirement of the same.
Online shopping has evolved over the years, and the flexibility the customer enjoys stresses the suppliers.
Customers can order, receive and send products back from anywhere worldwide.
Tracking all of that information manually is not feasible. Hence, a warehouse management system takes care of that while saving you labor costs and increasing efficiency.
Moreover, some of the most common features of a WMS are:
- Cloud-based inventory management
- Use of modern purchase methods that are compatible across the globe
- Easy access to information and data about the inventory status
- Highly accessible on mobile phones and computers
With these, a business can keep its supply chain running smoothly.
Why Do You Need A WMS?
The main thing that a Warehouse Management System improves is inventory management and control. You can streamline order cycle times, reduce inventory levels and track all units with detailed information about orders.
Businesses can access all inventory details like the current stock, upcoming orders, current orders, etc., in real-time to make effective decisions.
A WMS can help you get status updates about the shipping and delivery even after the deliverable leaves the inventory or the warehouse. You can see when the product reaches the distributor and when it’s handed over to the end consumer.
Apart from inventory management and shipping, a WMS is also great for customer service and support. With the inventory and shipping data, your customers can quickly get updates about their order and its ETA.
They can also access order information like product details, payment methods, and the order cancels.
So, is a Warehouse Management System the same as Inventory management? Not entirely; there are some key differences between both of them. Let’s go through them all.
Inventory Management System (IMS) vs. WMS – What’s the Difference?
Essentially, a Warehouse Management System does an inventory management system’s job, along with a bunch of other things.
An Inventory Management System tracks and maintains all inventory across all locations and provides a detailed overview.
It also maintains inventory levels to keep it stocked enough for projected orders and requirements.
Everything with an IMS is automated, and you get frequent reminders about any changes that need to be made in the inventory.
On the other hand, a Warehouse Management System is needed to manage warehouse tasks like
- Inventory management
- Tracking shipments
- Fulfilling orders in the most efficient way possible
- Standardizing all processes from stocking up to delivering the product to the customer
A WMS can work independently without needing an IMS, but it can also be used as a part of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. An IMS can only be used for its designed purpose and another software solution that would deal with shipment tracking and customer service.
Additionally, an IMS tends to be far simpler and easier than a WMS in terms of complexity. However, a WMS offers more control and insights while also focusing on other tasks.
Now that you know the basics of a WMS let’s see how it helps your business overall.
How Does a WMS Profit Your Business Overall?
In terms of actual profit gain from a WMS, you need to understand that a WMS will rarely be a direct reason for more earnings.
Instead, a WMS will help you get things done much faster and more effectively to increase your sales.
For example, a WMS reduces labor costs, utilizes whatever labor there is, and maximizes its outputs. Additionally, a WMS can lower training costs for new employees and reduce errors that may lead to a loss.
In short, a WMS is more about getting better benefits that will increase your profits when executed efficiently.
Prominent WMS Features
Before going on towards our top 10 warehouse management systems list, learn how to identify the right software solution for you.
Here are some of the prominent features you can look for in a good WMS:
#1. Functionality and System Features
The first factor is the flexibility and the ability to scale with your organization’s growth.
Obviously, getting a WMS that has the most features is probably the best solution. However, in most cases, a business must get things done under a budget.
So, if you’re on a tight budget, getting a WMS that does just what you need without breaking the bank is the best way to go about it.
#2. Flexibility and Being Future-Proof
Having a WMS that you don’t need to worry about even a few years later will make your life easier.
Besides that, you can also opt for software that frequently updates to add more features or make it more user-friendly.
A WMS will be a part of the entire digital infrastructure for your company. Get a system that can easily be integrated with other software like ERPs and other solutions you may require or use at present.
#4. Affordability and ROI
Regardless of how good a WMS is, it has to fit in your budget for you to get it. So first, understand your budget limitations and then calculate the ROI you expect to have from a WMS.
This will save you some money and help you set realistic goals for the WMS operations.
#5. Ease of Use
A complicated, feature-rich system is no good if you cannot operate it well. So, when it comes to selecting a WMS, ease of use becomes a significant factor. You can usually get demo sessions or free trials to judge this factor and determine if you can actually use the software.
Another important thing in warehouse management is being able to track your progress throughout the proceedings and have metrics that can be analyzed.
All of the understanding of data from this will help you optimize your operations and streamline your warehouse management.
There are several other minor factors that you need to consider:
- The usefulness of the WMS
- Good reputation and reviews by businesses who have or currently use the WMS
- Additional features like the focus on warehousing and logistics, transaction management, etc.
Once you’ve analyzed all these factors thoroughly, it’s time to go ahead and start your search for the ideal WMS.
You can start here and see our list of top Warehouse Management Systems to organize your inventory.
Sortly is a very well-rounded and highly reputed warehouse management system designed to make it easy for anyone to do basic functions for inventory management.
Features of Sortly
- Easy tracking with scannable QR codes and barcodes
- Reminders and alerts for stock requirements
- Customizable reports and insights
- Keep a record of everyone using specific inventories
- Easy data backups and syncing
- Compatible with all devices for businesses and customers if you give them the access
Sortly is a fantastic tool that can help you look after your inventory and track shipping until it safely reaches your customer.
You can get started with this app free of cost with limited usability or get a 14-day free trial of the premium version.
Netsuite by Oracle is amazing for handling inventory with mobile processing and great inventory visibility.
This WMS also offers benefits like improved data capture and accuracy, optimized space utilization, a boost in labor productivity, and much more. You also don’t need to sync everything between devices as NetSuite seamlessly communicates with all systems.
Features of NetSuite
- Better inventory visibility with real-time tracking for items entering, moving through, and exiting the warehouse.
- Easy inbound logistics management with predefined storage strategies and data tracking for easy put-away and picking up.
- Bin management for greater functionality in managing inventory
NetSuite by Oracle has been around for 2+ decades and is a popular choice for many businesses worldwide.
Sphere WMS is a multi-functional WMS with several benefits like being a cloud-based system, letting you do rapid order deployment, and giving you global access.
It has great flexibility and a strong feature-set that will be satisfactory for almost all industries.
Features of Sphere WMS
- Cloud-based system for easy backups and data storage, which can be accessed from anywhere around the world
- Real-time tracking, visibility, and reporting of the inventory for better warehouse management
- Amazing level of eCommerce and ERP integration for fluent workflows and collaboration
- Easy pick-up and storage of inventory items and access to everything for better inventory management
- It has a mobile app for accessing the system remotely
Sphere offers a perfect solution for businesses looking for one system with maximum warehouse management capabilities.
Infoplus is designed by creators with first-hand experience in dealing with inventory management and other warehouse management affairs.
It’s a cloud-based WMS for the likes of businesses that want to streamline their warehouse processes from start to finish.
Features of Infoplus
- Streamlined shipping and orders with better order management, automated systems, omnichannel retail, and rate shopping
- Excellent inventory management with quality control and warehouse planning
- Seamless inventory integrations for big-boss retail, shopping carts, and carriers
- Customized Infoplus API that takes your eCommerce store to a whole new level
Along with the above features, Infoplus has a lot more to offer. You can start by contacting them for a personalized quote.
EVS Mobe3 WMS
Mobe3 provides measurable warehouse improvements and a host of features to make warehouse management easier and more efficient.
With great integrations and smooth day-to-day usage, Mobe3 is a perfect solution to make inventory management faster. It also has functions designed to automate your picking, packing, shipping, receiving, put-away, and cycle counts.
Features of Mobe3
- Real-time inventory visibility to see current stock
- Extremely user-friendly UI for easier understanding of all functions
- Easy integrations with systems like ERP as well as other systems like TMS, MES, weigh scales, robots, and Slack
Mobe3 may not be as function extensive as other WMSs on this list, but it offers enough control to manage your warehouse properly.
Softeon is a cloud-based WMS that offers innovative supply chain and inventory management solutions. It’s highly scalable and flexible, which is great for growing businesses.
Softeon improves labor productivity, shipping accuracy, and inventory management.
Features of Softeon WMS
- Labor productivity tracking and reports
- Scalable system architecture that is great for startups and mid-size businesses that plan to grow
- Great material handling
- Improved shipping accuracy, which can be audited for finding areas of improvement or fixing issues
You can start using Softeon by contacting them or requesting a scheduled call with an expert to understand the WMS and get a personalized solution for your business.
3PL WMS by 3PL Central has been created by experts to have a better day-to-day workflow and improve your overall performance.
It also provides real-time information, great billing workflows, and many other features.
Features of 3PL WMS
- Has a proper inventory management system that tracks all your products and saves information in the cloud
- Helps in API and EDI integrations and automates orders and shipping
- Segmented inventory, billing, and reporting for better workflows
- Does 3PL-specific billing and invoicing
3PL WMS is easy to use and expand as your business grows more and more. You can get started with 3PL by requesting a demo session for a first-hand experience and then purchasing it.
Easy WMS by Mecalux
Easy WMS by Mecalux is a warehouse management system that will make your supply chain more competitive and maximize the potential of your inventory.
Features of Easy WMS by Mecalux
- Easy integration ability with ERP systems
- Streamlined product workflows and item information database
- Real-time inventory control for monitoring the stock and making changes
- Easy flexibility, adaptability, and scalability for personalized usage
Easy WMS is a limited functionality WMS great for fast and easy inventory management and better integration.
EPG LFS will help you connect all warehouse management systems and plan and control your flow of materials and information.
EPG LPS is available on all major platforms and works great with mobile phones to help you manage and navigate your inventory. It also covers employee and resource management for operation cost optimization.
Features of EPG LFS
- Sophisticated data representation for all process data from intralogistics
- Warehouse and inventory management with the use of bins
- Smart order forecasting with previous logistical data and analysis
EPG LFS is an innovative WMS solution that can fulfill the requirements of various industries and still do a great job at it.
Generix WMS is a highly flexible and adaptive WMS that excels in supply chain management and inventory control. It also increases productivity with better collaboration and visibility.
Generix WMS offers great control of inventory management and storage information for the stock. Generix provides other solutions to make a well-rounded ecosystem with the warehouse management system.
Features of Generix WMS
- Easy integration with other Generix solutions for an ecosystem experience
- Greater connectivity and control with Synchronise scheduling
- Synchronize and order your pick-slots in effective workflows to observe deadlines and make reports for further improvements
By itself, the Generix WMS is a decent system but is not a match for the other tools on this list. However, as a complete Generix package, you can make great use of this system with other solutions.
Having a proper WMS when running an eCommerce business is crucial for running a successful business.
The above WMS are tested, proven, and the best in the market. So choose the one that suits your business needs.
You may also be interested in these barcoding tools to manage your inventory.