The warehouse is an important operational focus for any company. Hence, there must be accurate control of goods movement and robust security systems in place.

Most companies already have some form of management system for their warehousing operations. Some of these companies would have invested in these systems as they were in their initial stages of growth. However, as the business grew and operations become more complex, sometimes these systems are no longer sufficient to control aspects such as item stock availability, order line fulfillment, costs management, the efficiency of asset usage, and inventory integrity.

The science behind supply chain management has also grown more complex over the years. As a result, more data points are required for accuracy and completeness when measuring KPIs.

Increasingly, supply chains demand greater attention, grow, and are internationalized so they must rely on other types of systems that adapt to the needs of companies to perform the tasks optimally and be more competitive. These systems are generally found in 3 broad definitios:

• Warehouse Management System (WMS)
• Warehouse Control System (WCS)
• Warehouse Execution System (WES)

These solutions help reduce costs, efficient processes or increase productivity. It is essential that the purpose of each of these be understood before deciding which is most suitable for a particular company.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

This application is used for day-to-day operations in a warehouse. Using this type of software, administrative work in terms of inventory or stock tracking can be reduced. The company can enjoy improvements such as faster deliveries and better operational processes relating to the handling of products and transport.

Inventory is one of the most important areas of focus for companies. With technology such as cloud systems, warehouse operators can provide customers with solutions that allow them to have their information as updated as possible in a short amount of time. These systems also allow the operators to carry out basic operations in the warehouse, properly manage their inventories, as well as manage operations within preset rules. WMS systems improve customer service because you have real-time inventory visibility. In addition, because processes are automated, the possibility of error is significantly reduced.

Warehouse Control System (WCS)

WCS solutions manage and control the flow of products during the time in the warehouse storage. They exchange real-time communication, support activities such as packaging, sorting, automated selection, support transportation planning, and shipment execution. They are ideal for highly automated installations. Over time it can be expected that more and more WCS vendors will add WMS-specific capabilities to their products.

Warehouse Execution System (WES)

This type of system is the most comprehensive solution. It was developed to extend the capabilities of a WCS and also overlaps the field of WMS solutions. Depending on the type of business simply implementing a WES solution alone may suffice.

The basic expectations of a WES solution are:

  • basic receipt of goods,
  • shipment management,
  • replenishment management,
  • non-automated collection control,
  • inventory management.

There are several factors to consider before choosing a solution or combination of these systems. Typically, non-automated warehouses will see results with a WMS, while highly automated ones will require a WES or WCS. The most appropriate option for the organization is the one that really represents a decrease in operational costs.

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