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Which type of Warehouse Management System makes the most sense for your NetSuite business?

Warehouse management

19 April 2018

Ahead of our appearance at SuiteWorld 2018 next week at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas - catch us at Booth 312 if you're there - we've been thinking about the competitive WMS landscape.

It's a market with a few different players. And, at first glance, they can all look pretty similar. The promises to improve accuracy and increase the speed of your fulfilment aren't unique; they're the functions that a WMS is good at performing.

So, if you've reached a stage in your growth where you're thinking about investing in a WMS, it can be difficult to work out which system will best improve your business' operational efficiency.

We're one of the WMS players. But we might not have the right solution for your needs. Our WMS has been built with a laser-focus on e-commerce. This means that we don't do:

  • Serialisation
  • Work orders
  • Discrete manufacturing

We don’t do them because these aren’t functions that our clients need. We’re focused on finished goods, not on production. If you're new to Peoplevox, head over to our software page to learn about everything that our WMS does focus on. 

 


The different types of WMS for NetSuite

Thinking specifically about the types of WMS that exist within the NetSuite ecosystem, we've put together this video. Looking at the positives and negatives of each approach ,the video explains the difference between NetSuite's owned WMS, stand-alone WMS solutions, Native SuiteApps and Integrated SuiteApps:

 

 
 
 
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 If you don't have the time to watch the video in full, don't worry. Keep on scrolling to read some of the key points that are made. 

 


Things to remember when choosing a WMS for NetSuite

If you're a seasoned WMS pro then you'll likely agree with the following three priorities that should be in the forefront of your mind when looking for the right WMS to integrate with your NetSuite-supported site. The first...

  • Think about the ease of implementation

An easy implementation is one that doesn't demand too much technical input from your side. If the integration is already written and can basically just be plugged in, then that's great. It's easy. 

  • Scalability matters

Different warehouse management systems are built to handle varying order levels. If you're dealing with high volumes, or are expecting to be in the future, it's unlikely that a lighter version of a WMS will be the right choice for you. Remember to ask about how many orders can be processed by the WMS. What's the maximum number of orders that it can ship in a day? 

  • Are the results proven?

If you can't see any previous examples of the integration in action, then you're taking a risk. Proven results are important if you want to ensure that the implementation goes without a hitch. 

  • Does it support your organisational best practice? 

You know what works best for your business. You need to find a system that blends seamlessly with your operational needs in order to help your warehouse to operate at its top level.

 

NetSuite's WMS

This is an obvious place to start when you begin working with NetSuite. Its WMS Lite solution has pros and cons, depending on what you're looking for. The pros: 

  • It's supported directly by NetSuite - they're constantly supporting it and adding new features
  • It's also relatively low cost, because it can be bundled in with your existing licenses
  • It's low friction. You can either get it through your NetSuite partner team, or the NetSuite team that's implementing your product
  • It's a great entry-level WMS add-on for NetSuite

The cons lead on from that last point:

  • It's a 'lite' version of a WMS. It's not the best choice for high volumes
  • It doesn't have paperless picking; this is a priority for our customers
  • There's currently no capability to create composite barcodes. This is a big deal if you work in B2B 

Stand-alone warehouse management systems

At the other end of the spectrum, you have the stand-alone WMS. These are created by companies like WaerLinx and SnapFulfil. One of the main differences here is that these systems depend on middleware to get the job done; it's very important if you go down this route to confirm that the middleware is proven. 

The pros:

  • The integration can be customised quite a bit
  • If you're already using a piece of middleware within your warehousing operations, it could make sense to bring in a WMS that supports it 

The cons: 

  • There are multiple points of potential failure - between NetSuite and the middleware, with the middleware itself and then the touchpoints between the middleware and the WMS. There's more risk
  • You're going to be reliant on the middleware for any configuration; this means that, ultimately, there's someone else that you need to manage
  • If they're doing the integration for the first time, it's going to take more planning and more time 

Native SuiteApps

These apps (like RF SMART) leverage NetSuite's database, so you have one system of record. It usually uses a web browser external to NetSuite to do some external data capture. 

The pros: 

  • They've been built to plug the gaps that WMS Lite can't fill
  • You're likely to get a bit more functionality than you would with WMS Lite

The cons:

  • The fact that they have been created to plug gaps means that you're not going to get a solution that fits to the best operational practice for your business
  • The configuration is ultimately set using NetSuite; there can be some restrictions on your workflows
  • You could have to pay twice: once for the NetSuite license and a license for the Native SuiteApp
  • Ultimately you're dependant on NetSuite for transaction speeds between the mobile app and the core database

Integrated SuiteApps

After considering all of the options, this is what we decided to do when it came to partnering with NetSuite. It was a greater outlay in terms of building, testing and rolling out than it would have been if we decided to operate as a stand-alone WMS, but the benefits for us and our clients have made it worth the while. Here's why.

The pros:

  • Peoplevox's functionalities are embedded within NetSuite - within it, all of the integration touchpoints can be configured, even down to the frequency of them
  • You can map everything that you need to your Peoplevox account 
  • You can do all of your field mappings within NetSuite
  • You're also able to easily configure everything that you need for your organisation to work at its highest capacity yourself. It's quick, and easy, to do

The cons: 

  • Our system doesn't run off NetSuite's database, so if you go down this route then you will be dependant on an additional database.

Hopefully the video and the information in this blog prove to be useful! If you want to talk more and you're at SuiteWorld next week, then come over to Booth 312. I'm going to be there. If you're not heading to SuiteWorld, feel free to get in touch with any questions.