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What are the different types of WMS and which is right for your warehouse?

If you're in the market for a Warehouse Management System, there's no shortage of options. However, not all WMS software is made equal. Different solutions are designed to suit different businesses. This guide explores some of the different types of WMS solutions available to help you find the right fit for your business.

#1 - Basic WMS

A basic WMS gives you all the essential functionalities for managing your warehouse operations, minus the frills. It typically includes features such as inventory tracking, order processing, picking, packing, and shipping. A basic WMS is an ideal solution if you are a small to mid-sized business with straightforward warehouse operations.

#2 - Advanced WMS

An advanced WMS offers you more comprehensive functionalities and capabilities compared to basic systems. It may include features like labour management, advanced inventory tracking (for example, lot and serial number tracking), task interleaving (optimising order picking to minimise travel time), and wave planning (grouping orders for efficient processing).

#3 - Cloud-based WMS

Cloud-based WMS solutions are hosted on remote servers, and users access them through the internet. They offer the advantage of accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection, reduced upfront costs, automatic updates, and scalability.

#4 - On-site WMS

On-site WMS solutions are traditional applications installed and hosted on servers on company premises. This type of WMS gives you full control and customisation but tends to incur higher upfront costs and ongoing maintenance.

#5 - SaaS (Software as a Service) WMS

SaaS WMS applications are a specific form of cloud-based WMS where a WMS provider manages all aspects of the software, including maintenance and updates. It's typically offered on a subscription basis.

#6 - Integrated WMS

An integrated WMS is part of a more extensive business management suite that includes features like inventory management, order processing, accounting, and more. Integrated systems offer seamless data flow and streamlined processes across your various business functions.

#7 - Standalone WMS

A standalone WMS focuses solely on your warehouse management functions. You can use a standalone system independently or integrate it with other systems like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or Order Management systems.

#8 - Supply chain module WMS

A supply chain module within a WMS is a specialised component that extends the capabilities of a WMS to encompass broader supply chain functionalities.

It integrates warehouse management into the larger supply chain management process, enabling a more holistic approach to handling your inventory and streamlining operations from the point of origin to the point of consumption.

#9 - Industry-specific WMS

Some WMS solutions are tailored to specific industries with unique warehouse requirements, such as retail, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, cold storage, etc.

#10 - Robotics/automation WMS

Robotics and automation-focused WMS solutions are designed to work in conjunction with warehouse automation technologies, such as robotic picking systems, conveyor belts, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

#11 - Paperless WMS

Paperless WMS applications replace manual paperwork with digital processes, using technologies like barcode scanning, RFID, and mobile devices to improve accuracy and efficiency.

#12 - Open-source WMS

Open-source WMS software allows you to access and modify the source code, giving you greater flexibility and customisation options. However, they often require technical expertise to implement and maintain.

Which WMS is best for your business?

The best WMS for your business will depend on various factors, including your industry, the size of your business, your specific warehouse requirements, your budget, and your long-term growth plans.

Here are some general considerations to help you choose the right WMS

  • Functionality: Evaluate the features and functionalities offered by each WMS and ensure they align with your specific business needs. Consider inventory tracking, order processing, picking and packing capabilities, integration options, and reporting capabilities.

  • Scalability: Choose a WMS that can scale along with your business as it grows. A cloud-based or SaaS WMS is often a better choice for scalability.

  • Integration: If you already use other business systems like an ERP or Order Management software, ensure that the WMS you select can integrate seamlessly with these existing systems.

  • User-friendliness: A user-friendly interface is essential for easy adoption and reduced training time for your staff.

  • Support and reliability: Look for a reputable WMS provider that offers reliable customer support and ensures minimum downtime during implementation.

  • Cost: Consider both upfront costs and ongoing subscription or maintenance fees. Balance the cost with the value the WMS brings to your business.

  • Reviews and references: Check online reviews and seek references from other businesses in your industry that have experience with the WMS you are considering.

It all starts with a needs analysis

To determine the best WMS for your business, conduct a thorough needs analysis, involve key stakeholders, and consider working with a consultant who specialises in Warehouse Management Systems.

Partner with Prime Horizon Group for WMS support

Choosing, implementing, and maintaining a WMS can be daunting without support. Prime Horizon Group is an official Blue Yonder WMS implementation and maintenance specialist. With consultants based in the UK, Europe and APAC, we can support you through the entire WMS implementation project cycle and beyond.

With 24-hour support, testing services, project management and WMS training, we provide everything you need to make your WMS implementation a success. To tap into the power of a Blue Yonder WMS, call +44 (0)330 043 6407 or email to start your WMS implementation journey, today.

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