How Does a WMS Differ from an ERP System?

Woman working in warehouse with wms

Warehouses are storage spaces where raw materials and finished products are stored until they are ready to be dispatched. Distributors, manufacturers, retailers, and others can either operate their own warehouses or outsource their warehousing operations to a third party.

As warehouses handle large amounts of products and items, manually tracking and monitoring item movements can become difficult. Automating manual tasks at a warehouse can solve many common warehousing challenges, such as misplaced goods, theft, or inefficient picking.

Both tools help companies automate their warehouse-related processes and increase productivity metrics. So it’s no surprise that some businesses face a dilemma when choosing between a standalone Warehouse Management Software (WMS) and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.

What is a Warehouse Management System (WMS)?

A Warehouse Management System helps distributors, suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers move and store inventory efficiently. It helps warehouse managers easily track each item’sitem’s location and automate monitoring of items received, put away, picked, and shipped. WMS is a warehouse-specific software that streamlines inventory management and often helps businesses reduce costs significantly.

What is an ERP?

ERP solutions are comprehensive backend solutions that help organizations manage their everyday business processes. This includes warehouse and inventory management, sales and marketing, customer service, Human Resources management, finances, accounts, etc. In other words, ERP is a full-fledged organizational management software, whereas WMS focuses on managing warehouse operations only.

What does a Warehouse Management System (WMS) do?

A standalone WMS helps warehouse managers to track the packing, picking, receiving, and shipping of items.

  • It is usually equipped with RFID and barcode scanners which help record the arrival and dispatch of each item to and from the warehouse.
  • It helps create warehouse layout planning, allowing for the seamless movement of commodities and machinery.
  • It helps locate the best location to store goods and ensure they are easily removed from their storage area and quickly dispatched to their final destinations.
  • Makes inventory location recommendations based on stocking priorities.
  • It ensures compliance with safety regulations


However, the standalone system has limited features, impacting an organization’sorganization’s ability to access a complete operational overview. Operational interoperability often requires additional integrations with disparate data sets from various organizational departments and 3rd party software.

What kind of businesses benefit from standalone WMS?

Standalone WMS solutions are perfect for distributors and suppliers whose main task is storing goods before dispatching them to another location. However, you may have to integrate your standalone WMS with third-party applications for more complex operations and added benefits.

How about an ERP solution?

ERP solutions focus on helping organizations automate their everyday business processes. They focus on inventory management, accounts and finance, sales and marketing, human resource management, customer relationship management (CRM), and more.

A WMS fully integrated into an ERP solution does not require additional interfaces.
With a fully integrated ERP WMS, your organization will benefit from real-time synchronization between automated warehouses and the ERP system for on-the-spot adjustments to work orders, inventory allocation, deliveries, and orders. The integrated ERP WMS calculates exact inventory balances, helps prevent errors and saves valuable time and resources.

Key benefits of WMS vs. ERP



Provides advanced features specific to warehouse management, such as pick, pack, and ship, replenishment, receiving and put-away, tracking and traceability, and the ability to scan RFID tags and barcodes.

Comprehensive software solution to automate most business operations, including WMS.

WMS offers limited employee management, payment processing, and access control features.

ERP is a complete business management and process automation tool that can be integrated with a WMS. It offers a complete solution for human resources management, financial administration and role-based authentication features.

Standalone WMS is suitable for distributors, suppliers, and warehouses.

ERP is suitable for full-fledged businesses that not only have warehouses but also opertae customer/client-centric workflows.

WMS may have advanced robotic and AI-enabled features to locate and track items in a warehouse.

ERP’s inventory management tool may not comprehensively manage warehouses like a WMS.

Standalone WMS may require third-party integrations

An ERP with an in-built WMS, such as Priority ERP, negates the need for further integrations.

Choose a scalable and flexible ERP solution with integrated WMS.

A comprehensive ERP solution with an integrated, holistic WMS module helps you easily pick, pack, and ship all your items. Moreover, it helps set picking and shipping waves for specific customers and chart the most optimal delivery route from the warehouse to the destination. Priority’s ERP solution with an integrated WMS module is a good example. Some of Priority’s WMS features include:

  • Making a list of fast-moving items in your warehouse and enabling you to store them in a manner that is easy to pick and move.
  • Access to detailed data helps your warehouse staff move items quickly and safely in order of priority.
  • Checking deliveries against Goods Receiving Vouchers (GRV), Advanced Shipping Notices (ASN), and other shipping documents.
  • Replenishment automation.
  • An advanced Delivery Tracking App that allows Delivery agents to collect signatures on their mobile devices and ensure product delivery to the correct consignee.
  • Easily traceable barcodes and RFID tags Item tracking

Priority’s WMS module helps simplify complex processes and maximize warehouse storage. In addition, you gain access to advanced reports and insights that help optimize your warehouse operations. Priority’s uniquely scalable infrastructure allows you to start with just the WMS. and add other modules as your business grows.

The Author
Sarah Kesselman
Director of Customer & Technical Support

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