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As the capability of warehouse management systems improve, their is function overlap of WMS vs. ERP and existing accountingfunctionality. While certainly not mature enough to replace accounting and ERP systems, the more evolved WMS packages allow you to feed data to and take data from the accounting and ERP systems. If the WMS is implemented before a full-blown ERP system, you can rely on the resource planning features your WMS offers. However, be aware that Warehouse Management Systems are not meant to replace accounting or ERP systems.

Typical WMS or Warehouse Management System ConfigurationMake sure that the WMS you're considering has a specific interface already built for your ERP system. If it isn't, expect to spend a considerable amount to have this interface built for you. The WMS provider should be able to accomplish this programming for you, but you may want to consider a local integrator with demonstrated expertise in both the WMS and your ERP system. That way, he'll be available without paying for travel and expenses.

The information transfer between WMS and accounting software can occur in real-time or in a scheduled "batch" at specific times throughout the day. The idea is that knowing the "real" quantities in stock at a given point in time will improve the performance of both the sales and the purchasing departments. In purchasing, real-time part stock levels minus real and projected sales allows the manager to make informed decisions about what amounts of each part to purchase. In sales, the Sales Manager can effectively project what can ship immediately versus what will be entered as a back-order.

Continue the discussion of WMS System Considerations