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8 Types of WMS & When to Choose Each

For any business involved in e-commerce, Third-Party Logistics (3PL), wholesale & retail, or manufacturing, the growth potential has been massive, especially in the post-pandemic period. More customers now lean towards online purchases, and it is up to individual businesses to catch up with technology and provide a superior experience to their customers while reducing expenses to acceptable limits.

Zebra Technologies conducted a study with more than 1,000 respondents. They found that 87% of decision-makers surveyed are in the process of or planning to expand the size of their warehouses by 2024, with 82% anticipating an increase in the number of warehouses during this timeframe. This is no surprise, considering the crucial role warehousing plays in making or breaking a business. 

Source: Zebra Technologies

WMS software is a wise choice to increase warehouses’ efficiency and overall functioning. There are many providers in the market, and a warehouse management system comes in many forms. Which is the right one for your business? What are the considerations while choosing a WMS software? Let’s find out. 

8 Types of WMS & When To Choose Them?

Depending on the nature of the business, its operational needs, and the demographic it serves, various types of WMS have been developed over the years. These are:

  1. Standalone WMS
  2. Integrated WMS
  3. Cloud-Based WMS
  4. On-Premise WMS
  5. Open-Source WMS
  6. Enterprise WMS
  7. 3PL WMS
  8. SaaS (Software as a Service) WMS
  9. Mobile WMS

Let’s understand more about each of these so that you can opt for the right WMS for your business.

  1. Standalone WMS

As the name suggests, standalone WMS is software that works independently to enable a business to run its warehouse operations efficiently. It may be equipped with features to run supply chain, inventory, and logistics tasks and, thus, better manage the inventory and warehouse. Standalone WMS usually doesn’t have the advanced capabilities to integrate with other applications and works independently.

Ideal For

  • A standalone warehouse management system is a good choice for small or medium-sized businesses. Or, the nature of your business is solely focused on simple warehouse management that demands a dedicated solution. 
  • It is the right choice if you are starting and require a cost-effective solution that helps to improve your warehouse operations. 

When Not To Choose

  • It’s best not to opt for a standalone tool if your order volumes are high and the business operates in a way that requires integration with multiple existing software.
  1. Integrated WMS

Integrated WMS allows you to connect the software with a host of other systems in the business ecosystem, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), forming a unified solution for warehouse operations, logistics, and supply chain management. An integrated WMS solution allows data to flow freely and prevents silos, as compared to a standalone WMS. 

Ideal For

  • If your business is large, fulfilling huge volumes of orders daily, an integrated solution may be the right choice. 
  • Also, if your business already has various existing software for performing various tasks, an integrated WMS may be required to sync and work in conjunction to avoid errors and mismanagement. 

When Not To Choose

  • An integrated WMS may not be the right solution if your company does not use or plan to use other integrated enterprise systems, making it a huge, unwanted investment.
  1. Cloud-Based WMS

A cloud-based WMS solution is hosted on external cloud servers and can be accessed easily anywhere via the internet. All the data tied to warehouse management and integration is stored securely online, eliminating the need for physical storage/hardware on the business premises. Further, the online computing features of cloud-based WMS save a lot of time and capital for businesses. A cloud-based WMS can be accessed across multiple devices, such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones, via secure multi-factor authentication. 

Ideal For

  • Perfect for businesses of all sizes. The WMS provider usually does any troubleshooting and maintenance work, taking a big burden off the business owners. 
  • It is gaining much traction for its cost-effectiveness while being rich in features and functionality.

When Not To Choose

  • Cloud-based WMS is, however, not ideal for businesses with weak internet connections; this will slow down the business’s overall productivity. It is also not recommended for businesses requiring high confidentiality and stringent data protection & privacy since all the data is stored in external, remote servers. 
  1. On-Premises WMS

An on-premise WMS software is installed in the physical location of the business/warehouse. The business owns the hardware and servers on the premises, ensuring higher security. In addition, it is also easy to customize an on-premise WMS to suit the individual needs of a business. 

Ideal For

  • On-premise warehouse management software will be the right choice if your business requires high data security and customization. 
  • It is ideal for businesses that have stabilized their warehouse operational needs and order fulfillment. 

When Not To Choose

  • An on-premise WMS requires a significant upfront investment during set-up via servers, hardware, and IT infrastructure. If you are starting out, this must be evaluated before spending. 
  • If your business is scaling rapidly, an on-premise WMS poses the challenge of upgrading hardware simultaneously, which can increase expenses. 
  • If you have installed an on-premise WMS, software upgrades and enhancements may need to be done from your end and can sometimes incur additional costs. 
  1. Open-Source WMS

As the name suggests, an open-source WMS has software whose code is publicly available for anyone to use and customize. It offers a high level of flexibility to business owners to truly build a WMS that is unique to and compatible with their business. 

Ideal For

  • If your business has in-house resources to develop the open-source code or has the capital to invest in a third party to build it for you, this can be a good choice for you. 
  • An open-source WMS is also ideal if your business requires specific features and has unique workflows that may only be partially fulfilled with one-fits-all tools in the market.  

When Not To Choose

  • Although customizable, your team will still be required from time to time to fix bugs, upgrade software, and make improvements. This can be challenging if you have resource constraints. 
  1. 3PL WMS

Third-party logistics providers have multiple clients whose warehouse and logistics needs must be met. This requires their WMS to be exceptional and handle the complexities of managing diverse and multiple inventories simultaneously. A 3PL WMS does just that. 

Ideal For

  • A catered WMS solution would be ideal if you are a third-party logistics provider. 
  • Even if you aren’t a PL, you can opt for this warehouse management software if you handle supply chain and logistics for multiple clients.  

When Not To Choose

  • A 3PL WMS would be redundant for a normal business, such as an e-commerce store with simple warehousing needs and delivery. 
  • If your business utilizes a third party for logistics, please check if they come with a WMS to manage your operations. In this case, you can save on not investing in another one. 
  1. Enterprise WMS

An enterprise WMS is a big step up from the normal software and caters to the diverse and sophisticated needs of enterprises. The software can scale rapidly as the business grows and is also built with myriad features and functionalities to execute various workflows and tasks. Many tools also offer automation to reduce manual intervention and increase efficiency. 

Ideal For

  • Large enterprises that handle high-order volumes and require extensive features to run operations. 

When Not To Choose

  • It may be extremely complicated and pricey for small to medium-sized enterprises with basic warehousing needs.
  • Not advised if a simpler solution would suffice to meet the organization’s minimal warehouse management needs.
  1. SaaS (Software as a Service) WMS

A type of cloud-based WMS where the software is provided as a subscription-based model with period payments. WMS is typically hosted and maintained by a service provider. It reduces upfront costs to a large extent and has a more ‘ pay-as-you-go’ approach. Since it is cloud-based, all on-premise requirements are absent, making it a cost-friendly warehouse management solution.

Ideal For

  • Ideal for businesses of all sizes looking for cost-effective and scalable solutions.
  • Suitable for companies with variable or growing warehouse management needs.

When Not To Choose

  • May not be suitable for businesses with strict data privacy concerns or regulatory constraints.

Linfa Systems Solutions: The Best WMS Solution For Your Business

If you are looking for a reliable WMS solution that can empower your business, we are here to help. 

  • Enjoy the features of TBO4 WMS, including.
    • Barcode scanning and label printing capabilities
    • Automated picking, packing, and shipping processes
    • Integration with major shipping carriers
    • Advanced reporting and analytics
    • Real-time inventory tracking and management
  • Get a tailored WMS solution for your business that solves problems and brings ROI. At Linfa System Solutions, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. 
  • Enjoy all the benefits of a WMS without the inherent hassles and associated high costs. 
  • Get transparent SaaS pricing. 
  • Leverage our cloud-based architecture that ensures a highly scalable WMS, improving control and increasing efficiency. 
  • Protect your data with Linfa System’s robust security measures, such as data encryption, secure user authentication, and regular system updates.
  • Get a comprehensive Audit Trail for all operations. 
  • Integrate our WMS easily with other software systems such as ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] systems, Transport Management System [TMS], and other business applications, allowing for seamless data exchange and streamlined operations.
  • Leverage ERP agnostic WMS solution that integrates seamlessly with the following ERP :
  • Contact Linfa Systems’ customer support anytime via phone, email, or live chat.

Let’s get in touch and discuss how to reduce costs for your business and improve productivity.  

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