What is the difference between ERP and WMS?
ERP and WMS applications come under the umbrella of supply chain management software and they have their similarities and crossovers. When it comes to talking about these systems and making purchasing decisions, it is essential to have a good understanding of what the differences are to make sure you are comparing like with like. The price and the main focus of their functionality can be very different.
Enterprise Resource Management (ERP)
An ERP system will touch most, if not all, parts of the enterprise. This will naturally include accounting but would also provide automation with CRM, purchasing and inventory management where it will aid the flow of picking, packing and shipping information between departments.
Depending on the scale and complexity of an organisation’s warehousing and inventory requirements, an ERP system may well provide a single package solution to its problems.
Warehouse Management System (WMS)
A WMS is focused on the physical storage and movement of items of stock. Real-time data and analysis of historical information allow for the optimisation of the location of every item in an organisation’s inventory. It may well incorporate warehouse layout planning capabilities and enhanced barcoding and RFID functionality for monitoring stock movement within that warehouse.
WMSs are generally self-contained applications focussed purely on the task of inventory management. Any integrations between the WMS and other business systems usually require the deployment of specific modules. Due to the specialised nature of these applications, they excel in situations with complex requirements where the Swiss Army Knife of an ERP system may come up short.
ERP and WMS Crossover
An ERP system may well incorporate its own WMS module and is a genuinely multi-functional tool. A dedicated WMS solution will not until recently have tried to incorporate the wider functionality provided by an ERP system. The scope and capabilities of these two applications have begun to creep – ERP vendors are adding or increasing the capabilities of their WMS modules to compete with specialist applications, while at the same time WMS developers are extending the reach of their offerings into other areas of the enterprise. However, a WMS is still the correct solution for complex warehouse management beyond the SME bracket.
In conclusion, both ERP and WMS systems are important components of supply chain management and are designed to help businesses manage their inventory in the most economical way. Both ERP and WMS systems manage real-time data that can be stored on the cloud or on a local server.
It is important for businesses to understand their individual inventory management needs when considering available systems, and this is where our experience here at Perrywell can help. We specialise in BridgeWMS which is a complete warehouse management software system that can be linked with both Pegasus Opers 3 and Sage. If you’d like to discuss ERP and WMS options for your business, please get in touch.