HighJump Resources

ERP Warehouse Module vs. Best-of-Breed WMS: Get the Functionality You Need

Articles

It’s hardly breaking news to anyone working in IT or operations that functionality is one of the most critical factors to consider when purchasing a warehouse management system (WMS). After all, the whole idea behind investing in a WMS is to drive efficiency gains that increase the bottom line, and that’s only possible with the right features.

ERP Module vs Best-of-Breed WMS It’s hardly breaking news to anyone working in IT or operations that functionality is one of the most critical factors to consider when purchasing a warehouse management system (WMS). After all, the whole idea behind investing in a WMS is to drive efficiency gains that increase the bottom line, and that’s only possible with the right features.

However, finding a system that at least meets, if not exceeds, the requirements outlined in your Business Strategy is not so simple. And those requirements could change – frequently and with little warning. With that in mind, does the solution offer a cost-effective way to adapt to those shifting needs and upgrade the system?

It’s imperative that you keep all of this in mind when comparing a best-of-breed warehouse management system and an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) warehouse module. Companies often consider both options when looking to update their supply chain execution technology. Since you’ve already bought an ERP license, the vendor will typically offer a deep discount on the module or even include it free of charge. And it may seem like a warehouse module would bring a faster, easier implementation because it’s built to work with your ERP. But, as you might suspect, it’s not that simple.

One of the biggest potential issues with an ERP module is it could force you to make operational compromises that you can avoid with a best-of-breed WMS. This is especially true for more complex operations. A module is often transaction-based, which makes sense for resource planning software. Why is this a problem? The order in which transactions are logged is sequential but may not align with the actual movement of goods in the warehouse. For example, when inventory is received but before it is put away, the module will think that product is available for order fulfillment. A WMS tracks the exact location of every inventory load and knows that the inventory is not ready to be picked until it has been put away.

On first glance, this may seem like a minor issue, but imagine the dominoes that start falling if a certain item appears to be in stock when nothing is actually available. It could delay shipment and delivery and create a backlog of stagnant orders. These inconveniences sour relationships with customers, hurting your reputation and damaging your business’ success over the long run.

A functional checklist may seem like a way to avoid this problem – and it’s a good place to start. But know that vendors sometimes overstate the capabilities of their solutions. That’s why you should always ask for demonstrations of each feature you need. You must be certain the system can execute all the tasks your operation needs before signing that contract.

ERP warehouse modules do have a role – they can work well at smaller, less complex warehouses. Even a large enterprise may have relatively straightforward operations, and the ERP module may be effective. The central question is this: does the software have the functionality you need?

The goal of any warehouse software developer is to take the real-world activities in a distribution center and mirror those within the application. That requires keeping up with changing trends and adapting the WMS’ functionality accordingly. The more that system reflects and resolves the actual challenges in a warehouse, the more it drives the efficiency that supports your company’s growth and profitability.

And this is where a best-of-breed WMS often has the edge. An ERP treating warehouse processes like financial transactions does not mirror reality. A vendor that focuses its resources and attention on building warehouse management systems has a functionally-rich product and the industry expertise to ensure its product matches up with the organization’s everyday needs.

Functionality is only one of many differences between a best-of-breed WMS and ERP warehouse module. To learn more about the discrepancies between these two software options and how each affects your business, read the white paper, The ERP Warehouse Module vs. Best-of-Breed WMS. It dives into much greater detail on a number of topics and is a valuable resource for anyone searching for the right warehousing solutions.

Learn about consideration when evaluating your ERP's warehouse module vs. a best-of-breed WMS.

The ERP Warehouse Module vs. Best-of-Breed WMS