Warehouse Management Software

Warehouse Management Software

Managing the warehouse processes through systematic planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling is as crucial as inventory management. Businesses can leverage the best warehouse software to streamline various warehouse operations for smart and profitable warehouse management.

What Is Warehouse Management Software?

A warehouse software is an application or a set of automation tools designed to manage numerous routine warehouse operations. It provides all inventory software tools to receive, put-away, store, organize, optimize, pick, pack, and ship inventory. The software also allows inventory control, task management, inventory tracking, real-time updates, labor tracking, containerization, labeling, and order management.

How Can a Warehouse Management System (WMS) Help Grow My Business?

Warehouse management is complex and comes with numerous challenges like miscommunication, time management issues, delays, problems with inventory accuracy/tracking, demand fluctuations, customer dissatisfaction, inventory damage, and order management hassles. These problems worsen when the inventory volumes rise, thus hampering business growth. A warehouse management system is a platform that can incorporate all these functions and control these in one place. Businesses need a perfect warehouse management system to manage their warehouse operations better.

How to Choose the Best Warehouse Software?

To select the right warehouse management software (WMS), you must ensure that the software offers all the necessary features that your company needs, is easy to use, and has earned positive feedback from other users. The software must be feasible for your business, should fit in your budget, and prove profitable with time. After comprehensive research, GoodFirms has identified and summarized here a list of top warehouse management system software. Utilize the filters and explore the details of each software listed, along with the prominent features, reviews, and pricing information.

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Buyer’s Guide

Introduction to Warehouse Management Buyer’s Guide

The Warehouse Management Buyer’s Guide is intended to provide readers with in-depth knowledge and understanding regarding how to control and manage the day-to-day operations in a warehouse. By going through this informative guide on the warehouse management system, the users can identify how to improve the efficiency of tracking inventory and supplies as they move through a warehouse. 

This buyer’s guide on the WMS system will familiarize businesses regarding the processes of receiving, picking, and putting away products in a faster and accurate way in their warehouses.

1 What is warehouse management?

Warehouse management is the process of arranging and controlling all the things in the warehouse. The warehouse management manages the warehouse, and its inventory along with it, tracks, and improves the overall warehouse performance. It picks and packs the products and looks after the shipping orders.  All the recently added stocks are managed and maintained with the help of the warehouse management system.

1.1 What are the types of warehouses?

There are different types of warehouses, depending on the specific industry, location, and needs. Let’s discuss the following types of warehouses:

  • Public Warehouses - Government and semi-government bodies own this type of warehouse, and private firms make use of it to store goods on the payment of rent. It is an apt option for SMB owners (Small Medium Businesses) that can save the products for a shorter period. 
  • Private Warehouses or Proprietary Warehousing – The large retail corporations or companies make use of private warehouses to store goods privately. Wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers personally own it. The companies that are willing to make a financial investment in the storage of their goods can find private warehousing as a great option. 
  • Distribution Centre - This type of warehouse is used to store and sell large quantities of goods. It serves as a vital part of the supply chain that helps in serving the high volume of customers. It works as a storage space that is used for the temporary needs and items that are shifted quickly within the supply chain.  
  • Co-operative Warehouses - Co-operative societies own and manage these types of warehouses. At economical rates, these societies provide storage facilities to their members only. This type of warehouse aims to help their members without bothering about the profit. 
  • Climate-controlled warehouse - This type of warehouse is used for storing and shipping perishable goods. From humidity-controlled environments (to save things like fresh flowers) to freezers (that store frozen products) all make use of climate-controlled warehouses. This type of warehouse helps in keeping the fast-moving goods at the required temperature, which can be resold able.
  • Automated Warehouse - This type of warehouse helps in receiving, storing, and moving goods. It is considered extremely efficient, quick, and agile. Within the warehouse, the products are moved quickly with the help of modern equipment like forklifts, racking, and pallets. Primarily, this type of warehouse relies on computer technology and machinery.  
  • Government Warehouses – Government and private enterprises make use of this type of warehouse to store their goods. Central, state governments, public corporations, or local authorities manage and control this type of warehouse. For example- government warehouses are maintained by the Food Corporation of India and Central Warehousing Corporation of India. 
  • Bonded Warehouses - Government or private agencies own and run bonded warehouses. Imported goods are stored in this type of storage. The private companies require the government license to run bonded warehouses. The companies whose goods are stored in these types of warehouses do not pay any kind of duty charges until their items are released.

1.2 What are the objectives of warehousing?

You can maximize the chance of remaining competitive by understanding the primary objectives of storing and shipping the product. Let’s have a look at the goals of warehousing- 

  • The small-business owners build a warehouse or rent a warehouse space to store inventory securely.  
  • The facility of warehousing provides efficient access to your inventory. Your inventory storage process should have an effective inventory tracking system. 
  • There is an efficient movement of goods and effective utilization of labor along with the equipment with proper warehousing. 
  • The warehousing offers maximum protection of items and good housekeeping. 
  • Warehousing is crucial for maintaining an optimum inventory turnover ratio
  • The goods are stored in the warehouse so that they can help in catering to the anticipated demand in the future.
  • The manufactured product is stored in the warehouse to maintain the economies of production and to meet the consumption requirement.
  • The warehouses help in the deployment of marketable goods. It caters to the variety of needs of the marketing function of the company. 

1.3 What are the functions of a warehouse?

The warehouse is essential as it stores goods and helps businesses in managing the distribution of products to consumers. The vital functions of a warehouse are as follows:

  • Storage – If you don’t require surplus commodities immediately, then it can be stored in the warehouses. These surplus commodities can be supplied to the customers as per their requirements.
  • Shipping Hub - Some warehouses work as a shipping hub. The warehouses receive shipments and hold the items until they are loaded onto other trucks and shipped elsewhere.
  • Price Stabilization - The warehouses help in price stabilization, which is achieved by the creation of the time utility by them (warehousing). The situations like fall in the prices of goods when their supply is in abundance and rise in their prices during the slack season are avoided. 
  • Financing- The depositor gets a receipt on depositing the goods in the warehouse. The warehouse keeper's warrant acts as the owner of the goods. The businessmen can take loans from banks and other financial institutions by keeping this warrant as security. 
  • Protection of goods- The goods in the warehouse is protected from loss or damage due to heat, dust, wind, and moisture. During storage, the warehouses cut down the losses due to spoilage and wastage. The warehouses make special arrangements for different types of products as per the nature of the product. 

Other functions of the warehouse are:

  • Reception of all products
  • Information Management
  • Movement of Goods
  • Grading and Branding
  • Processing
  • Risk Bearing
  • Transportation
  • Immediate quality control
  • Quick dispatch of orders
  • Arrangements of orders to send it to regional warehouses and customers.
  • Consolidation and Distribution
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Stockpiling
  • Product Mixing in the warehouse

2 What is a warehouse management system?

Warehouse management system (WMS) is the software application that helps organizations in controlling and administering the warehouse operations. These operations are handled from the time the goods enter a warehouse until they are moved out. The WMS system allows the maintenance and improvement of the warehouse’s operations and processes. By employing the warehouse management software system you can receive, pick and put away the products quickly and accurately in the warehouse. The WMS system aligns with the process of project management, supply chain management, and transportation management. 

2.1 What are the features of warehouse management software?

Warehouse Management Software should have the following key features:

  • Flawless Integration with ERP platforms- You can facilitate accuracy and real-time tracking of data if your WMS system is integrated with the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) platform. The complete information is stored on a single platform and is synchronized with other types of departments. 
  • Inventory Tracking- In most warehouse management software, there is a system of advanced trackings like ID data capture, barcode scanners, or radio-frequency distribution that helps in locating and moving your inventory. 
  • Pick-and-pack- The warehouse managers have great flexibility with warehouse management software systems as these systems contain a variety of options like zone picking, batch picking, and wave picking. The workers can reduce the numbers of the trips with the help of the lot zoning and task interleaving options, which in turn helps in completing the task. 
  • Reporting and analysis- Companies can evaluate their warehouse inventory in real-time, analyze production efficiency, and identify areas for improvement by employing warehouse inventory management software, which in turn helps in generating reports for the businesses.
  • Mobile Deployment- WMS platform features a mobile-friendly interface that helps in allowing access from mobile devices and tablets. The mobile-readiness enables warehouse managers and warehouse staff to perform tasks effectively. Management professionals can set authorities, view the list of purchase orders along with the raw materials, and track the inventory right from the mobile. 
  • Tracks Stock- This feature allows warehouse managers to know the number of stocks available and when restocking is needed with the help of warehouse management solutions. This feature allows businesses to order more stocks at the right time and in the right amount, which in turn helps in avoiding the issues of shortages of commodities and overstocking the warehouse. 
  • Warehouse Design- Within the warehouse layout, the WMS system allows the placement of products efficiently and logically. Accessibility, weight, and demand are the criteria to place the products. The warehouse functions can smoothly operate due to proper warehouse design. 
  • Dashboard - WMS software provides real-time updates regarding the inbound and outbound shipments, status of the inventory, and supply chain operations. The inbound and outbound order data on the dashboard helps in labor planning and setting productivity goals.

Other essential features of warehouse software are:

  • Barcoding/RFID 
  • Kitting
  • Quality Management
  • Order Management
  • Shipping Management
  • Cycle Counting and Planning
  • Front Counter
  • Lot Control
  • Serial Number Tracking
  • Slotting Optimization
  • Warehouse Metrics
  • Multiple Warehousing Management
  • User-friendly interface
  • Technical Support
  • Third-Party Logistics (3PL)
  • Labor Management

2.2 What are the benefits of using warehouse management tools?

The use of appropriate warehouse operations in your business can provide you immense benefits. The warehouse control system can integrate with your inventory management, order fulfillment, and accounting, which in turn helps in managing the demand and movement of your products efficiently. Let’s discuss the following benefits:

  • Enhances inventory accuracy- The WMS software improves stock control and inventory tracking. The clients can have accurate and updated stock information along with that they can have goods as per their requirements. The warehouse management software system helps in improving customer satisfaction levels and eliminates the potential operating costs that occur due to errors. The warehouse tools provide overall effectiveness, cost diminution, and better profits. 
  • Higher insight into the inventory- WMS system enables the documenting of every item that enters into the warehouse, monitor the movement of the items through the warehouse, and organizes where the items will be stored until it ships from the warehouse with the help of the barcoding, serial numbers, and RFID (radio frequency distribution) tagging. Inventory visibility plays a vital role in warehousing.    
  • Planning – The warehouse management software helps in managing transportation costs and deliveries. You can have a proper delivery management system by employing warehouse tools. The warehouse operations can establish the parameters and business rules regarding dock schedules, appointment times, load and unload times, and geographic zones by consolidating shipments and optimizing truckloads and routes. All these activities help in reducing miles, time, vehicle use, fuel consumption, and labor, which ultimately saves transportation costs. 
  • Better auditing and accountability- Warehouse management software provides individual login to the staff members that enable greater responsibility as audit trails link to the specific users. It helps in avoiding security inventory theft. Among all the employees, the WMS system allows dealing and improving best practices and compliance. 
  • Reduced equipment usage- There can be reduced workforce in the warehouses due to the warehouse management system. There can be significant savings due to the presence of fewer people in the warehouse that make use of machinery and technology. It helps in minimizing annual maintenance budgets 
  • Increase Productivity- The warehouse software enables the warehouse people to work efficiently in less time. There can be better inventory control and easy-to-train new employees with the help of warehouse management solutions. Less labor in the warehouse results in less expenditure and more savings. Every square foot of warehouse space can bring higher returns with a warehouse management software system. 

Other advantages of WMS software are:

  • Enhance security and safety
  • Improve Customer Service and customer satisfaction
  • Reduce Operating Expenses
  • Transparency and Visibility
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Improves supplier and customer relationships
  • Efficient labor allocation
  • Enhances Billing Management options
  • Just-in-time inventory
  • Inbound and Outbound Optimization
  • Improves relations with customers and suppliers
  • Quick product delivery and returns processing 
  • Lessens mispicks and paperwork
  •  Data-driven decisions
  • Effective Management Control 
  • Optimize supply chain inventories
  • Improves employee morale
  • Collaboration grows with WMS vendors and suppliers
  • Stock visibility and traceability
  • Automatic Replenishment
  •  Real-Time Control

2.3 How to select the best warehouse management software for your business?

There are various types of warehouse management systems in the market. It is essential to choose the apt WMS system for your business so that you can run your business operations smoothly. The ideal warehouse management software will allow your company to grow efficiently. You can keep the following points in mind before selecting the warehouse management system:

  • Prioritize your business needs- You can perform an assessment of your needs that helps you in determining what can be practically implemented straight away and what all things can be considered for a later time.
  • Evaluate your budget- Make sure you figure out the budget before finalizing the warehouse management system. It is crucial to determine how much you can spend on warehouse management tools. 
  • Pay attention to the employees- The staff members remain at the front lines with the warehouse management solutions, so it becomes vital to keep their needs and capacity in mind while considering the options for warehouse management tools.
  • Identify the physical layout of the warehouse- Keep the physical design of your warehouse in mind before looking for a Warehouse management system that helps in finding the right WMS software that works well with your warehouse’s requirements.
  • Think about the scalability- Your warehouse inventory management software should have features that allow your company to grow seamlessly. The scalability of the WMS system can provide you smooth business operations. 
  • Calculate ROI (Return on Investment) - Make sure your warehouse control system should provide higher ROI along with the justification process. Your WMS system should be able to provide improved stock accuracy by reducing errors, real-time information, perpetual inventory counting, increased productivity, improved traceability, better customer service, improved warehouse control, higher pick, and dispatch accuracy, significant cost savings system, improved labor equipment, and proper space utilization. 
  •  Make an evaluation plan- If you have implemented the Warehouse management software then determine whether you have made the right decision, are there any specific problems and how to fix those problematic issues, and how much amount of money can you save? By questioning these critical issues related to WMS software and determining their answers will help you in your evaluation process.

While evaluating warehouse management software, you can ask essential questions from WMS vendors.

  • Does this warehouse management software system offer industry-specific functionality for the unique needs of your business operation?
  • What type of deployment model does this warehouse control system follow?
  • Whether this warehouse management software fits your business size and type?
  • What type of support will the WMS vendors offer after you buy their software?
  • Is the warehouse management software user interface simple?
  • Are there some drawbacks associated with this warehouse control system that should be considered beforehand?

2.4 What are the latest trends in the warehouse management system?

 The latest trends in the warehouse management software system are:

  • Voice Technology – The warehouse management system can make use of voice technology in the warehouse so that workers can quickly speak to the management system with the help of the microphone, headset, and wireless computer system. During product delivery, the employees and management authorities can make use of local area network and radio frequencies for verbal instructions and confirmations.
  • Blockchain Technology- There can be the rise of blockchain technology in the warehouse management system, which in turn can provide the sound system to record multiple transactions, track assets, and easy accessibility of document management. This technology can allow manufacturers, suppliers, auditors, customers, and warehouse managers to have successful warehouse management. 
  • Automation – In the warehouse management software system, there can be the usage of advanced technologies like robotics, machine learning, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI). There can be a transformation in warehouse management system due to real-time tracking of warehouse operations, shipping through business intelligence, AI-powered inspections and packaging, and automation of labor-intensive activities, which in turn can reduce manual dependencies.
  • Regional Warehouse- Some retailers prefer to have smaller regional warehouses so that customers can have a fast solution that can provide product delivery at their doorstep on the same day. Without any unexpected delays, the warehouse management software system can quickly deliver the product with a local warehouse.
  • Latest Technology- Warehouse management system can come up with the latest technology like big data/analytics, barcode scanning, IoT (Internet of Things), stationary label printers, wearable devices, advanced imagers and cameras, RFID(radio frequency identification), mobile thermal printers, truck loading automation, and tablet computers.
  • AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) and AMRs (Automated Mobile Robots) – The robots like AGVs and AMRs can reduce the time required to go through the warehouse items. These technologies can also help in automating the order fulfillment process and can reduce the time of delivery and picking.
  • Big Data and Analytics – The advancements in big data analytics can help businesses and manufacturers to harness their data that help first in identifying the operational inefficiencies and then improving them. The valuable information can be highlighted from daily operations with the help of data analytics solutions. With the help of big data and analytics, the warehouse management system can make data-driven decisions, which in turn help in improving the overall performance. 
  • Dropshipping can increase significantly- The operations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and 3PLs (third-party logistics) can be transformed due to the growth of e-commerce and direct-to-consumer activities. The dropshipping trend can be accelerated as it can build-up direct-to-consumer channels that help in improving the profit margins and can easily create direct customer relationships.  
  • Advanced predictive analytics to assist supply chain management - The predictive analytics can make accurate predictions about future customer demand, so organizations are investing heavily in this technology. The companies can have a competitive edge with predictive analytics technology that helps in knowing the future, which in turn allows them to act accordingly. 

Other latest trends which can be seen in WMS software are:

  • Social Media can play a considerable role in reverse logistics
  • Supply Chain can continue to move to the cloud
  • Integrated communication across entire companies
  • Use of mobile devices in the warehouse
  • Enhancing security to protect inventory data
  • Advanced predictive analytics to help with warehouse operations
  • Warehouses can improve visibility 
  • Automating the picking process
  • Automated machine cleaning
  • Sustainable Warehousing
  • Heightens security regulations
  • Mobility
  • Information and Transparency through advanced APIs (Application Programming Interface)

2.5 What is the difference between inventory management and warehouse management?

The difference between inventory management and warehouse management system are:

  • The warehouse management software system holds the capability to locate exact items in a warehouse while inventory management can just indicate the availability.
  • Companies can manage entire storage systems within a warehouse with the help of the warehouse management system. On the other hand, the inventory management system can indicate the total amount of stock for one specific storage location. 
  • The warehouse management software system provides the specifics of inventory control, whereas inventory management can furnish the quantity.
  • The warehouse management is integral to the ongoing operations in other departments of the company, while this is not the case with inventory management.
  • As per the requirement, the warehouse management system can allow the business to analyze and alter its inventory and storage, whereas this system does not imply inventory management.

2.6 Why do businesses need warehouse management software?

The businesses require warehouse management software system due to the following reasons:

  • For accurate Inventory counts and tracking
  • Eradicate the requirement for regular inventory counts
  • Streamlines customer service procedures
  • Increases data accuracy 
  • Reduce manual intervention
  • Quickly and easily share information
  • For transportation and logistics purpose
  • Inventory Control and Management
  • Customer Service and Tracking
  • Return on Investment 
  • Company’s productivity
  • Meet and exceed compliance regulations
  • Labor Tracking
  • Reduce overall cost 

2.7 What are the key principles of warehouse management?

The fundamental principles of warehouse management system are as follows:

  • Find out the objectives of the facility - Warehouse owners and managers identify the goals of the facility (the essential part of the supply chain) that helps in proper planning and execution of the warehousing activities. The parties involved in the business have to decide how to maximize the usage of space, labor, and equipment. Warehouse owners address the questions like what is the primary purpose of the business, who is the target audience, what types of goods intended to store in the warehouse, and is the design of the warehouse provides optimum efficiency.  
  • Have optimum stock levels - Warehouse management solutions can effectively optimize the stock levels by demand forecasting and demand planning. The Warehouse management software system allows the accurate and efficient receipt of stock. It returns into a facility that can enhance the warehouse management that helps you in meeting all eventualities. 
  • Control the movement and storage of goods – The warehouse management controls the movement and storage of materials that helps in accurate detailing of stock levels and the correct fulfillment of orders in the warehouse. The warehouse control system helps in providing substantial profit margins. 
  • Focus on quality control – The warehouse management maintains the quality control by taking care that the right order must be shipped every time, and there should not be any shortcomings while processing the orders. 
  • Apt Software for warehouse operations – The implementation of the right warehouse management software with the latest technology helps in increasing productivity and enhancing warehouse operations. The appropriate WMS system can process sales orders speedily and can process associated transactions efficiently. The warehouse managers can achieve higher customer satisfaction by employing an efficient warehouse management system. 

2.8 Key points to consider while purchasing a warehouse management software

The key points you should consider while purchasing warehouse management software are:

  • Understand your warehouse challenges and prioritize the needs accordingly
  • Figure out your budget and keep your employees in mind
  • Form the list and review the marketing materials
  • Explore what is your integration and scalability requirement
  • Identify the physical layout of your warehouse
  • Track your products by fixing a tracking system
  • Find out what type of technical support is offered by the vendors
  • Have an evaluation plan and decide the future support options

2.9 What is the average cost of a warehouse management software system?

The price of the warehouse management system is based on the business size and the requirement of its operations. Small businesses prefer the features that mostly come in the basic plan of warehouse management software. On the other hand, large organizations need robust features, so they prefer to invest in advanced programs. 

The cost of the warehouse management software can start as low as $36/month (for example, Odoo MRP) and can reach as high as $999/month (for instance, Foysonis). Small and start-up businesses can try free and open-source warehouse management software. 

2.10 Why refer to GoodFirms’ list of top warehouse management software?

GoodFirms platform is continuously growing in terms of listing categories that also provide authenticated reviews of the users. This platform believes in performing thorough research based on the latest business trends. By exploring this vast platform, you can quickly gain an understanding of the top-notch quality and accessible warehouse management software available in the market. You can grab the opportunity to explore the list of warehouse management software before finalizing one of the best warehouse management software systems for your business requirements. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Does a Warehouse Management System Do?

    Warehouse management solutions facilitate the monitoring and enhancement of overall warehouse performance. Companies that deploy software solutions to replace manual warehouse management achieve satisfied employees, managers, and customers. The top warehouse management system helps optimize inventory, improve accuracy, boost productivity, and reduce costs. In the long run, this software supports business growth and profitability.

  • What Features Does a Warehouse Software Offer?

    Warehouse management software offers inventory management, order management, vendor management, location management, and shipping management capabilities. It includes all tools and features to automate and simplify complete warehouse management for businesses.

  • What Is the Difference Between Warehouse Management Software and Inventory Management Software?

    Warehouse management systems are complex solutions that offer all tools to manage warehouse operations, including inventory management for a particular warehouse and multiple warehouses on the same platform. The best warehouse software typically includes all inventory management features with additional tools needed to efficiently run the complete warehouse. Inventory software is comparatively simple as it focuses majorly on the stock or inventory management only.

  • What Is the Best Warehouse Software?

    Companies have varying needs for warehouse management, and all software applications offer a different set of features. Some of the warehouse applications may suit your industry better than the others. You can leverage the list of top warehouse software compiled by GoodFirms that summarizes the features, reviews, and pricing of different solutions. Also, check the software’s feedback from other customers for your specific industry.

  • What Are the Factors to Consider Before Buying Warehouse Management Software?

    Warehouse software can prove very beneficial and can enhance your business profits at a nominal cost. But, before buying one, you must make sure that the software is the right fit for your business. Here is a checklist to help you choose the appropriate software.

    • Ensure that the software has been leveraged profitably by other businesses of the same industry as yours.
    • The software’s cost must fit within your budget.
    • The expected profits with the use of the software should outweigh its costs.
    • The software must offer all the features to simplify the warehouse management needs of your business.
    • The software must allow scalability to support your business’ growth.
    • The software should enable third-party integrations as needed.
    • The software vendor must ensure need-based customer support and user training.
  • What Is the Cost of Warehouse Management Software?

    The warehouse management software cost depends on multiple factors, including the number of locations or warehouses it covers, number of users, the features, and deployment model. You can get the best warehouse software at a cost as low as $39 per month; for example, one of the top warehouse software, EMERGE App, offers a free version and costs $39 for the basic paid plan. Another popular software, QuickBook Commerce’s Founder Plan, costs $39 per month for a single warehouse (and single user), and the high-end Business Plan costs $599 for multiple warehouses (upto 8 users).

  • What Are the Hidden Costs Associated With Warehouse Management Solutions?

    When you plan to buy a warehouse management software system, confirm with the vendor about possible hidden costs, including the cost of installation, system upgrades, maintenance, user training, customer support, and customization.

  • Are There Any Free Warehouse Software Solutions Available?

    There are multiple free warehouse management software systems available in the market. Please refer to our blog on the best free and open-source warehouse management software. If your company has budget constraints, you can start using one of these free software solutions to manage your warehouse.

Resources for Warehouse Management Software