Are you tired of struggling with disorganised inventory and delayed orders? As an online retailer, your warehouse management can make or break your business. That’s why WMS software is a game-changer. With its powerful capabilities, you can streamline your entire process and skyrocket your success.
But what exactly is WMS software and how can it revolutionise your e-commerce business? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we reveal everything you need to know about WMS software and how to choose the right supplier. Plus, we’ll even give you a head start with a list of the best WMS providers out there. Are you ready to take your warehouse flow to the next level? Let’s dive in!
- WMS software: what is it?
- When is it time to start using WMS software?
- WMS software: the costs
- How long does it take to implement WMS software?
- How can WMS software improve your e-commerce process?
- The most popular Warehouse Management Systems
- What to look out for when choosing your WMS software
- WMS software vs alternatives
- Integrating your WMS software with Sendcloud
WMS software – what is it?
You have probably heard of WMS before, but what does it stand for? WMS is the abbreviation of Warehouse Management System. Warehouse management is the day-to-day operational running of your warehouse. A WMS manages the complete warehouse management process, from inventory tracking to order processing and picking and packing.
What does a WMS do?
WMS software conveniently integrates and manages all warehouse processes, including registering purchases, storage, transportation and inventory management.
A WMS is used to manage the three aspects of the goods flow – receiving, storage, and shipping.
- Receiving: the entire process for all goods coming in. Unloading freight, checking and registering the incoming goods, and putting them into storage.
- Storage: includes everything that happens to your goods while they are being stored. Are they being moved? Then this is tracked in your WMS. Have they expired or become damaged and should no longer be sold? Then they are blocked.
- Shipping: everything that includes picking the order and transporting it to the customer. When you receive an order through your online store, the WMS will show you where the product is located and create a picking list.
The WMS also helps you with your inventory management. Your inventory is updated automatically and you receive a notification that the product needs to be repurchased if necessary. A WMS also processes your returns.
When is it time to start using WMS software?
Deploying comprehensive software for your warehouse flow may seem like a big step. But ensuring your warehouse operations are properly organised is equally important as a good e-commerce platform for your e-commerce store.
Fortunately, WMS software is not just for large retailers. Small warehouses with complex logistics processes can also benefit from it.
- If you ship over 50 orders per day OR you have multiple fulfilment centres: your e-commerce business is large enough to start with WMS Lite – an entry-level version that is relatively faster to implement with a lower cost than a full WMS.
- If you ship more than 500 orders a day or 10,000 a year: it will pay to switch to a full Warehouse Management System.
- If you process fewer than 50 orders per day AND/OR have a small warehouse: the investment is often too high, despite the benefits.
WMS software: the costs
Generally speaking, there are two types of WMS software: WMS software in the cloud, or fully personalised WMS software.
If you use software in the cloud, prices start from a low monthly rate. There are no costs for updates, upgrades, installation or implementation. You only pay a fixed service fee per month.
This lower cost is therefore immediately the main advantage of WMS software in the cloud. This can be a decisive factor for outsourcing some work, especially for small or startup online retailers.
Fully personalised WMS software for larger companies can cost hundreds of thousands of euros. It usually involves getting custom WMS software, building an interface and paying for other software, hardware, maintenance and updates. The benefit is that it can handle more work and can be fully personalised to your needs.
Advantages of WMS software in the cloud:
- WMS software in the cloud runs in a web browser. You switch the system on wherever you want.
- Cloud computing data centres are often more secure than in-house server rooms.
- And regular updates ensure your WMS never becomes obsolete.
Disadvantages of WMS software in the cloud:
- You need an internet connection. Your WMS doesn’t work without one.
- You are restricted to the features offered by your WMS provider, and cannot install additional applications yourself. The WMS software is not customised.
- You are dependent on the provider. Even though their data processing meets high security standards, it is not always clear where your information ends up. If the servers are located abroad, different privacy rules often apply.
How long does it take to implement WMS software?
The timeframe for implementation varies according to how large and complex your warehouse is. If you use a ready-made package, you can get started within a few hours.
If you go for custom WMS software, implementation can take much longer. The whole process can take anywhere between 3 days to several months.
Implementation of custom WMS software always starts with an inventory of the processes. A consultant will often visit your company to help you with this, and it serves as the basis for writing a project plan.
Next, the principal user is trained to work with the software, before this person goes on to train their colleagues. The principal user needs to process the master data in order to personalise and populate the WMS software. Links to other systems are implemented and activated.
How can WMS software improve your e-commerce process?
The supply chain is becoming increasingly complex with shorter lead times. Online retailers are therefore looking for ever-faster solutions.
A warehouse used to be considered an expense, but today it’s mostly seen as a place where great profits can be made.
With WMS software:
- You save time and money
- You store goods efficiently
- You ensure excellent use of your team and resources
- You ensure proper warehouse management with good workflow
- You reduce errors
- Your orders will be sent on time
- You work with less stock because your inventory management is handled intelligently
The most popular Warehouse Management Systems
Finding WMS software that best suits your business depends on several factors such as your industry, specific needs, pain points and budget. There is no one-size-fits-all.
But to give you some guidance, we’ve listed some of the popular WMS providers. Use this list as a starting point as you search for your ideal software.
Pulpo WMS is originally a German Warehouse Management System that has expanded into the rest of Europe and the United States. It offers fast implementation and personalised pricing according to your requirements. Pulpo has all the features you would expect from WMS software, and offers a 14-day free trial.
The British company Peoplevox is a well-known WMS software provider. Peoplevox provides customised software and therefore targets larger retailers with more complex warehouses. Peoplevox focuses on omnichannel retail and offers personalised solutions across different systems.
Boxwise is a Warehouse Management System that integrates very easily with your ERP, Exact Globe or AFAS Profit. It ensures your warehouse workers pick, pack and scan with confidence, and your deliveries arrive at your customers complete and on time.
You have the option of requesting a free demo.
iPacky is a WMS that helps you speed up your fulfillment process. Your warehouse workers spend less time picking and packing, and mistakes are a thing of the past.
Automate your internal and logistics processes, and optimise your omnichannel backend processes with the Descartes Pixi WMS.
Pixi connects to existing webshop systems, ERP solutions and other IT system landscapes through API Web Services and standard interfaces.
Shiphero’s Warehouse Management System simplifies the picking, packing and shipping processes in your warehouse. Not only will it save you time and money; it also increases customer satisfaction.
Shiphero easily integrates with the best-known e-commerce systems. Choose from one of three subscriptions: ShipHero Standard Plan, ShipHero 3PL Plan or ShipHero Enterprise Plan.
Exact is the Dutch market leader in business software. The Exact Warehouse Management System (WMS) digitises your physical flow of goods and optimises your logistics process. Their WMS solution integrates seamlessly with their ERP and administrative programs.
SAP is a well-known international organisation with extensive experience in supply chain management. Their WMS solution is comprehensive ERP software with special features for warehousing. It is dynamic and flexible, working with only essential dashboards and built-in KPIs.
WebStock has more than 10 years of experience in warehouse automation. Their WMS is easy to use and has different modules for all kinds of businesses.
WebStock helps you track your stock locations and levels, and order placement and picking.
The costs consist of a one-time purchase fee and an annual license. The license agreement includes support, updates and bug fixes.
Increff offers a simple and efficient web-based multi-channel WMS, and 133 warehouses currently use it for their operations worldwide.
BlueYonder is an American software company and has been named a leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems.
Oracle Fusion Cloud Warehouse Management
Oracle was also named a market leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems. Their Warehouse Management solution makes it easy to combine the benefits of the cloud with warehouse management functionality.
Manhattan is best known for its supply chain and omni-channel e-commerce solutions, which combine information from across the entire organisation. Their WMS is customised and used by major players like Argos, Crocs, and Scotch and Soda.
Locus by Centric
Centric’s WMS is ideal for medium to large enterprises with warehouses operating in retail, wholesale, e-commerce, 3PL and manufacturing. Centric also focuses on other IT solutions, including cyber security, HR, risk management, implementations and migrations.
Boltrics is another major and well-known name. With many years of experience, they offer various customised solutions, with comprehensive solutions for stock keeping, receiving and shipping, and features for customs, production, scanning and transportation.
BizBloqz is an all-inclusive WMS solution specifically for SMEs. This Dutch provider uses a platform that allows any logistics scenario to be realised without coding.
Ceyenne WMS – Diract
The Ceyenne WMS solution from Dutch company Diract is particularly suitable for larger e-commerce businesses offering multiple shipping options or working with multiple carriers. Their software is fully customised, flexible and scalable, and can be deployed in a variety of industries.
What to look out for when choosing your WMS software
The list is long, and the providers above only make up a small number of all the solutions on the market. So how do you choose your perfect supplier from the hundreds available?
If you are responsible for selecting the right WMS software for your company, you already know it can be a difficult process. The business processes you need for your software are not always easy to identify, and possibilities are endless.
Pay attention to the following when choosing your provider:
- Search as broadly as possible: Don’t consider only the famous names and major players. Some smaller suppliers sometimes offer very specific solutions for a particular industry.
- Become an expert: Make sure you know enough about WMS software selection and implementation, and only make decisions and choices you understand.
- To measure is to know: Provide a business case to determine the quality of a WMS and measure the investment required.
- Set goals: Identify areas of improvement for your warehouse.
- Ask questions: Ask suppliers for guarantees and references. Make sure all your issues can be resolved. You don’t want any system limitations to come to light after signing the contract. This is especially true for a customised WMS.
- Clarity: Make clear agreements with all parties involved and always document them.
- Contact: Is the supplier easy to contact? If contact isn’t smooth at first, chances are the same will be true for the implementation phase – and that’s not a good start.
- Assume additional costs: When planning your budget, always consider additional work, and do not assume less cost.
- Can’t figure it out? Then engage the services of an external consultant with knowledge of your industry. This will save you a lot of frustration and ultimately prevent a bad investment. Again, this is especially true when implementing a customised WMS.
WMS software vs alternatives
ERP system instead of WMS software
An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software system is a management system where everything comes together: accounting, order processing and CRM.
Smart ERP systems overlap with WMS software. You can track items, see where they are stored and check the order status. A WMS gives you more options to improve goods storage and flow.
An ERP system can be used for smaller warehouses with one picking location, and allows you to create item files, enter stock locations and generate picking slips.
Picking and packing solution
Not ready for a WMS yet? Then make sure to look into a picking and packing solution. Sendcloud’s Pack & Go feature helps you to create the ideal workflow for picking and packing. Use picking lists to efficiently collect items for multiple orders and print labels in just one click.
Integrating your WMS software with Sendcloud
WMS software does not specialise in shipping parcels. Combining a shipping solution such as Sendcloud with a WMS ensures that you optimise both your warehouse management and your shipping process, for example helping you process orders faster and error-free. You can save a lot of time and substantially reduce your error rate.
If you opt for a WMS, Sendcloud offers direct integration with various solutions. We currently integrate with Picqer, GoedGepickt, BizBloqz, Pulpo WMS, Peoplevox, Sherpaan, Ceyenne by Diract, Boxwise, iPacky and Descartes Pixi WMS.
We hope this article was helpful. Please be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions, observations or suggestions. We would love to help you!