Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are powerful tools for implementing automation in business, but they are not the same thing. They can be used interchangeably, so you will need to decide which is right for your business to get the best results.
Let’s take a look at each system and highlight the key differences to help you decide which would be the right fit for you.
ERP software is designed to integrate different business departments into a single, centralised platform based on a unified database. It can be extremely useful to bring disparate operations like accounting, inventory management, supply chain, CMS and more together.
The use of ERP software is pretty much essential for modern businesses. It enables real-time analysis of multiple business processes at once for efficient control and management. You can compare and contrast things to identify problems and opportunities to improve. It’s a rapidly growing software sector because more and more businesses are recognising the advantages of it.
The benefits of ERP software are many. It creates a standardisation that eases management across the board. It enables enhanced business reporting and offers a single source of truth, with many opportunities to implement automation and other efficiency gains. Deployment of an ERP system is an investment of money and time, but it can really pay off with the benefits it offers.
WMS stands for Warehouse Management Software. Its purpose is to make the daily activities of a warehouse simpler. This includes:
- Receiving inventory.
- Putting items away.
- The storage of stock.
- Monitoring and tracking supply levels.
Warehouses are a veritable hive of activity. Without a viable system to keep on top of everything that is happening, operations can fall into chaos and efficiency can plummet.
Reliable software designed specifically to improve warehouse operations can be a lifesaver. It will help save on time and cost, creating enhanced efficiency throughout the business. WMS software helps manage modern logistics, track inventory and integrate staff activities to ensure the management of the business environment goes off without a hitch.
The importance of a functional management system is outlined by American scholar and teacher W. Edwards Deming. He points out that system deficiencies are behind 85% of failures – not employees. Management has a responsibility to ensure the system is fit for purpose rather than constantly criticising employees and telling them to improve their work. Essentially, an adequate system that can adjust to different business needs in a modern operating environment is vital.
What should all Warehouse Management systems include?
A modern WMS should be able to function as a stand-alone system with options for additional modules for things like accounting and customer management. It’s worth noting that adding these types of modules can make the system resemble an ERP as it gains more functions to unify disparate departments for greater efficiency. A cohesive WMS should include at least the following capabilities:
- Labour utility.
- Utility classification.
- ABC classification.
- Cross-docking management.
- Warehouse capacity management.
- Inventory location (barcoding).
Can ERP systems include WMS modules?
We mentioned that you can add modules to a WMS that make it work more like an ERP system. Well, most good ERP systems incorporate a WMS segment as part of their capabilities. For example, Sage 200 can be upgraded with Sicon modules for warehouse management, such as the Sicon Barcoding and Warehousing module and the Distribution module. NetSuite also has a comprehensive module called NetSuite Warehouse Management.
The modules for an ERP may not be as extensive as a standalone WMS system. But they will be very effective systems that integrate with other departments to enable a 360-degree view of your operations in real-time. This can be an extremely valuable prospect for many, and the efficiency tools can lead to increased productivity and profitability across the board.
So which is right for my business?
The fundamental difference between ERP and WMS relates to use, integrations and support needs. ERP is the complete package with a far broader reach in terms of applications. WMS is a more focused solution that revolves around warehouse inventory and logistics. It requires support from other applications to form a more cohesive mechanism for the wider business.
Deciding on the right option can be a difficult choice. The key is to develop a strong understanding of your business structure and operating environments. When you know what you do, you know what you need. Then, choosing between ERP and WMS should become less challenging.
If you are having difficulty, it can be helpful to consult with expert advisers. ERP and WMS vendors are likely to try to sell their products, but you can speak to software implementation partners with expertise in deploying different systems in many business environments. Their knowledge and expertise could be invaluable in making the right decision.
Why choose Eventura as your ERP implementation partner?
Eventura has been providing robust business solutions to countless organisations for over two decades. We are ERP experts and can identify all of your business needs, and deliver a comprehensive ERP solution that works for you.
As Sage 200 Partners and NetSuite Solution Providers, we can help you identify which solution will fit your business needs the best. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.
We’re also managed IT service providers meaning we can help you identify your entire IT infrastructure requirements from day one. If you would like to speak to one of our ERP experts to discuss your options or request a free demo, you can request a free call back here.