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Warehouse Management vs Inventory Management Software

There are advantages and disadvantages offered by both types of software. This blog compares the similarities and differences of the two and gives you all the information you need to decide which is right for you – it might be a combination of both!

Warehouse Management Inventory Management

by Danielle Allen

Digital Content Manager

Posted 24/08/2023

Warehouse management and inventory management are both complex and equally important processes, and software platforms are key to making everything run smoothly. If you’re looking to improve the practices in your warehouse and make the most of your operations, you might be wondering what’s the best type of solution for you: warehouse management software (WMS) or inventory management software (IMS).

What is warehouse management software?

Warehouses, big or small, rely on organisation and transparency to make sure orders reach their destination, as expected and on time.  Warehouse management software (WMS) is a platform used to manage day-to-day warehousing tasks, ensuring the smooth running of warehouse operations and maximising process efficiencies. Using a WMS automates and digitises tasks that would otherwise be done manually. 

What is inventory management software?

When you manage high volumes of stock, it can be hard to keep track of where everything is and how many you have. Inventory management software (IMS) does what it says on the tin – it's a platform to manage your inventory, keep track of stock levels and track where your products are in your warehouse. Like a WMS, an IMS adds automation to your processes and reduces your manual efforts. 

Warehouse management software and inventory management software: the similarities

1. Reduced manual efforts 

One significant advantage of both warehouse management software and inventory management software is the increased automation they bring to your warehousing processes. Automate workflows, utilise smart location management tools, monitor real-time stock availability – there are many opportunities. Whether it’s picking and packing or receiving and putaway, adding automation frees up your employees’ time for more important tasks. 

2. Increased data accuracy 

Whether you opt for a WMS or an IMS (or both), you’ll benefit from tons of data that will help you run your business in a more efficient, cost-effective way. Get better accuracy when it comes to stock levels and allocation, sales data and more. Increased data accuracy helps to reduce errors, improve stock location awareness and improve operational efficiencies across the entire warehouse. 

3. Integrated systems

A successful business requires a multitude of different processes and solutions to be working seamlessly all at once, from financing software to a variety of couriers. Inventory management systems and warehouse management systems come with a host of integration options allowing you to connect your platforms together. This gives you better visibility of what’s going on in different areas of your business. 

Warehouse management software and inventory management software: the differences

1. Process vs product

While warehouse management systems and inventory management systems both contribute to creating better warehouse processes, their specialty areas are different. An IMS is designed to manage products and all things stock related including where it is and how much you have. A WMS, on the other hand, facilitates the management of processes such as picking and packing, receiving goods and putaways and shipping. 

2. A bird’s eye view vs. The details

If you’re looking to get an overall view of what’s happening in your warehouses and where you could make improvements, a warehouse management system can help. A WMS incorporates all of your processes and allows you to analyse your warehouse from a bird’s eye view, deep diving into different areas as you choose. With an IMS, you’re focusing on one particular area, your inventory. 

3. Where you are vs where you’re going

Inventory management systems give warehouse managers the information they need to plan ahead, usually involving forecasting and analysis tools – particularly helpful during peak ecommerce times when warehouse space is precious. Although warehouse management systems give you the required data to look ahead, the focus is on what’s going on in your warehouse right now.  

How a warehouse and inventory management system can work together

It can be difficult to choose between a WMS and IMS, especially for larger warehouses and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) who have a requirement for the benefits offered by both. The good news is, you can have the best of both worlds. Utilising a combination of both systems results in the ability to control and manage your stock and warehouse processes while planning for the future. 

Whether you’re shipping products to other businesses or directly to consumers, there’s pressure to provide quick deliveries, without any errors and meet your customers’ (or your customers’ customers’) needs. Knowing where you’re at and where you’re going means you can make the best decisions to optimise your processes, resulting in goods reaching their intended destination on-time and in full. 

Mintsoft solves all your warehouse management challenges by combining warehouse, inventory and order management software into one easy-to-use platform. With over 150 integrations, you can control your warehouse operations with real-time data and ever-evolving features such as Fulfilled by Amazon and Mobile Barcode Scanning

Chat with our team today to learn more about the Mintsoft platform and how it helps you get the most out of your warehouse. Or, find out more about warehouse management systems or inventory management systems in our detailed guides.

By Danielle Allen

Digital Content Manager

Danielle is a content manager at Access Mintsoft with an abundance of experience in the new and emerging technologies sector. Dedicated to providing ecommerce retailers and 3PL’s informative and easy-to-understand content that engages and empowers readers to learn about all things ‘order fulfillment’.