Could your ERP system benefit from a WMS?

Though enterprise resource planning systems and warehouse management systems are commonly pitted against each other, the truth is these two tools are not one and the same.

ERP software enables employees to manage a number of functions across a business – ranging from inventory and time tracking to payroll and human resources. A WMS, on the other hand, focuses primarily on the storage and movement of an organization's inventory.

Given the differences, the ERP and WMS evaluation becomes less of a comparison and more of a question about whether the two can sync within a single organization. Though early ERP systems may have left little room for a complementary system, the most current models can seamlessly integrate a WMS.

Your company's current ERP system could likely benefit from a WMS in the following scenarios:

1. The system is lacking functionality
Though ERP systems are known for their versatility, there are simply certain features a WMS offers that many ERP solutions lack. According to Manufacturing & Logistics IT Magazine, such examples include transportation management and quality control quarantines.

When evaluating, it's important not to overlook fatal ERP shortcomings – such as clunkiness and a nonintuitive interface – that cannot be fixed through the implementation of a WMS. In those situations where a system lacks more than inventory functionality, it's possible you may need to upgrade your ERP software.

2. Too many errors pop up
According to ERP Focus, the average process manufacturer retains at least a 20 percent inventory deviation as a result of inaccurate data entry. Furthermore, many companies are unaware of this fact.

By combining a WMS, integrated barcode system and ERP solution, companies can minimize errors, increase the accuracy of their reporting and recognize and deal with errors as they occur. In the end, a more efficient execution will put your company in a position to take fewer chances when it comes to its bottom line.

3. You'd like to make your inventory process more efficient
If your company still conducts physical counts and tracks inventory manually, it should carefully consider the benefits that accompany a WMS. The system can increase efficiency by eliminating the human errors that often plague shop floors and encouraging better warehouse practices all around.

Additionally, by pairing a WMS with your current system, your company could experience shorter lead times. Ultimately, this could provide an advantage over competitors.

4. Real-time updates are few and far between
Occasionally managers may find themselves trying to predict insights based on past company performance. Such circumstances are clear indicators of a company's need for real-time reporting.

Not only will a WMS provide live updates that lead to improved planning efforts, it will also collect vital information in one central system. In the end, this will limit costly mistakes while simultaneously allowing for a single version of the truth to be told.

Companies interested in learning more about warehouse management systems can click to download the Warehouse Management for Microsoft Dynamics NAV white paper.

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