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Blurred lines: WMS vs. WCS vs. WES

As software vendors expand their products' functionality, it's getting harder to tell the different warehousing platforms apart. Here's what you need to know to make the right buying decision.

By Ian Hobkirk

It used to be that you could navigate the warehouse software market without the aid of a map. There were three principal types of software, each handling a clearly defined set of functions that were distinct from those handled by the others. But in recent years, that has changed. The lines between the three types of warehouse systems—warehouse management systems (WMS), warehouse control systems (WCS), and warehouse execution systems (WES)—have blurred, making the warehouse software waters decidedly muddied and difficult to chart.

As the software application that controls the movement and storage of materials within the warehouse, the WMS has been around for about 40 years and is the most mature of the three options. By managing the mechanical material handling equipment within the warehouse, the WCS provides a valuable function and basically picks up where the WMS leaves off in an automated environment. The WES plays in a gray area, acting in some respects like a "WCS on steroids" and managing some functionality that is traditionally handled by a WMS.

 

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Bob Cudnik
President
Logistics Engineering, LLC
517 Patterdale Lane
Blythewood, South Carolina 29016

Phone:
770-LOG-ENGR
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877-LOG-ENGR

Email: rjcudnik@logisticsengineering.com

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