Although it might seem like the terms “inventory management software” and "warehouse management software” are used interchangeably, they are actually have two quite different roles to play in the overall management of a business. So which one do you need?
In general, warehouse management software can be used for stock location and activity tracking, where as inventory management software is primarily used with managing assets through a simple barcode-based system.
It’s important to assess what your company needs to determine whether it's an inventory management system or warehouse management system that's needed.
Warehouse management software systems tend to be more comprehensive than inventory management systems and typically deals with goods received, locations of goods within your warehouse, reducing mistakes and improving productivity in picking and packing and the shipment of goods.
While inventory management systems indicate the amount of stock at a certain time and location, warehouse management systems provide complete visibility into the entire storage system within a warehouse.
Because of its comprehensiveness, warehouse management systems integrate at an in-depth level with other areas of the enterprise, such as sales, production and distribution.
In contrast, inventory management is a little simpler: an inventory management system can give you an indication of the total amount of stock that you have for one specific storage location.
The areas inventory management software deals with include order and inventory management and syncing these across sales channels, such as:
- Shopify inventory management
- Magento inventory management
- WooCommerce inventory management
- BigCommerce inventory management
- Amazon inventory management
- eBay inventory management
Plus, sales reporting, purchase orders and suppliers, point of sale, and often shipping. Warehouse management systems, on the other hand, allow a company the ability to manage entire storage systems within a structure like a warehouse.
So, if a warehouse has multiple storage bins of the same product, warehouse management systems can help you manage all of these, whereas an inventory management system will only tell you how many of the specific product you have.
In summary, if you only need a simple assessment of what stock comes in and what stock goes out, then an inventory management software is all you need and there’s no point paying extra for a complex WMS, but if you need a more comprehensive solution, invest in a warehouse management system.
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