With omnichannel fulfillment on the rise, the interest in software to manage warehouses and distribution centers (DC) is growing. Yet logistics managers face a challenge when choosing between the three main types of software solutions for distribution centers: warehouse management systems (WMS), warehouse control systems (WCS), and the newer warehouse execution systems (WES).
Authors Dan Gilmore and Dinesh Dongre from supply chain solutions company Softeon, in their June 2020 Hot Topic article “Understanding the complex landscape of WMS, WCS and WES Warehouse Solutions,” discuss the different functionalities and boundaries of the three types of warehouse software, with a special focus on WES. WES software has been around for years; however, as the industry has adopted more e-fulfillment and automation into their DCs, the interest in adopting WES solutions has increased.
WES can help orchestrate and optimize equipment, throughput, workload, and processes not only for highly automated DCs but also for more manual DCs and those with mid-level automation. However, as the authors point out, “the specific capabilities range widely across WES vendors, and there is clearly some potential overlap between WES and both WMS and WCS solutions.”
While there are benefits and limitations to each of the three solutions, Gilmore and Dongre argue that the advances in WES can breathe “new life and productivity” into older WMS systems without the need for a full replacement.
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