What is WMS software?
Short for warehouse management system, a WMS can be used by any type of business that runs their own warehouse and needs to move goods. In short, a WMS will manage every process from the time an item enters the warehouse to the point at which it departs.
Since we’re talking about ecommerce and retailers specifically here, an ecommerce WMS like Peoplevox is the platform that can be used to gain full control of all processes within the four walls of the warehouse, such as:
- Warehouse set up and locations
- Receiving inventory into the warehouse
- Moving inventory around the warehouse, to and from storage locations
- Allocating inventory items to orders and creating pick lists
- Picking, packing and dispatching orders
- Stock taking and inventory control
what are the different types of wms?
all-in-one and start-up apps
Often the first step beyond purely ‘manual’ processes for businesses starting up. Not strictly a WMS, but with some warehousing capability built in, All-In-One apps can usually be downloaded from an app marketplace (like the Shopify app store), installed and implemented within a few hours. They offer basic functionality and some out-of-the-box integrations, meaning a small merchant can pull their ecommerce orders into the app, process them, and ship the orders out of the warehouse.
- Inexpensive, easy to access and can get started immediately
- Wide range of features across, combining ecommerce, inventory and order management, finance, billing, customer communication and fulfilllment
- All actions and data in one place and no custom integration required
- Limited or no barcode scanning with no real-time event tracking
- Can lag under higher volumes of orders
- Paper picklists may still be involved
- No capability to store items dynamically
- No intelligent algorithms to enhance productivity
- Unable to add other applications or functionality to your tech stack
specialist / standalone wms
A specialist WMS is a system that can manage all activity within the four walls of the warehouse with powerful features and deep functionality. Typically, merchants will look to add a specialist warehouse management system into their technology stack when they realise their warehouse processes, a lack of efficiency or inaccurate stock files are factors holding them back from growth. With the right level of expertise, a specialist WMS can be implemented within 10-16 weeks and will be priced accessibly for any size of company looking to scale.
- Enterprise-ready functionality without typical associated cost/set-up
- Product, R&D and features all focussed on key requirements of an ecommerce warehouse
- Experienced support and implementation team available as you scale
- Handles high volume and flexes up for sales events/Peak trading
- Open API to connect into agile commerce stack
- Diligence required when procuring – not all platforms have the same features or functionality you might need (e.g. expiry date management, chaotic storage, integrations into your other platforms)
- Requires commitment: usually a fixed-term contract and up-front set-up fees involved
- Not a good fit if you’re looking for one system that can run your whole business or a ‘plug-and-play’ app that requires no major changes to your operation
enterprise resource planning (ERP) + WMS
ERPs like Oracle Netsuite, SAP and Microsoft Dynamics are complex pieces of enterprise software that can run your entire business. They are often used by large corporations to manage all aspects of back-end operation, including CRM, sales and marketing, accounting and finance, HR, operations and inventory. The majority will have a ‘warehouse management’ tool or add-on that forms a part of the overall ERP package. Typically, they are the most expensive and in-depth platforms to implement and will become the operating core of your entire business.
- Operational core of your business with everything recorded and controlled in one place
- Reliable, comprehensive features and total platform stability
- Large support and professional services teams available for custom development and bespoke consulting
- WMS features typically designed for B2B/wholesale (e.g. moving pallets not single items), meaning ecommerce brands will not have their key requirements covered, especially at high volume
- Expensive platform fees and lengthy implementation projects, known to last for years and surpass budgets
- Complex platform that requires extensive training and is not easy to use for new staff like temporary warehouse workers
- Creates a single point of failure within the business and limits your ability to try modern, modular tools and apps that could enhance your operation for a fraction of the cost
How Does WMS Pricing Work?
Most providers of warehouse management systems will factor in multiple areas before providing an accurate quote for their platform.
Recurring Subscription Fee: Software as a Service is most commonly sold as a monthly or annual recurring subscription. This will be the monthly or yearly payments you make to have access to the cloud platform. If the WMS is an ‘on-premise’ piece of software, which was more common before the advent of cloud computing, you will most likely have the platform downloaded and installed locally onto your device or infrastructure for a one-off fee, without subsequent recurring costs.
Implementation Fee: While start-up apps often let you gain access from day one and set the program up yourself in house, most more powerful warehouse solutions will have professional services as standard. A project manager and implementation consultants will work with you on a project at the start of your WMS journey to set up, implement and train your staff on the platform. The cost of this implementation will be determined by the complexity of the project (integrations, number of warehouses and users, variety of workflows), the overall size of the operation and hours required.
Users: This is typically a key factor for standalone warehouse systems’ pricing. Charging per user can either be done as the total number of log-ins set up, or by setting a limit to the total number of concurrent users of the system. The latter is what Peoplevox does, to make sure we aren’t overcharging our clients if they have shifts or staff rotas. We also offer the ability to add and take away users for one month at a time to handle seasonal demand, whilst other providers may well want you to fix your user count for the duration of the contract.
Volume: Another approach to pricing is based on volume. Some platforms will charge you on the number of transactions you put through the system. This can make sense if you are a predictable business, but a spike in demand or a surprise uptick in sales could lead to some unexpected bills from your provider at the end of the month. Volume-based pricing tends to make more sense for integration providers and shipping platforms, where the volume of orders and the cost to process them matches up one to one and the business is not losing out by being more successful.
Add-Ons: More advanced WMS platforms, like Peoplevox, are built for the long term and can scale with a business. This means every possible feature isn’t necessarily required from day one, but could be added on as the business grows in scale or complexity. Add-Ons will bring extra functionality and value to a WMS with a small increase to the monthly subscription fee.
Contract Length: In some cases, signing up for 24 or 36 months rather than a 12-month term with a software provider can provide the commitment and confidence in both sides to offer slightly preferential rates.
Custom Development: Specifically when it comes to ERPs and Tier One WMS systems, your operation may require a customised solution. Specific integrations, re-engineering workflows, adding features or changing product design can be added into your ERP implementation costs as part of the project, and should result in a fully bespoke solution.
Peoplevox Pricing Explained
Below is an in-depth breakdown of the pricing for Peoplevox WMS, looking at the base platform cost, users, add-ons and implementation fees. Peoplevox is priced specfically to meet the needs of our dynamic, ambitious ecommerce and direct-to-consumer client base.
- Project management, recorded training sessions
- Best practice consultancy, system setup and ongoing configuration
- Integrations and User Acceptance Testing
- Dedicated Go-Live support
- Pre-sales consultancy and tech stack design
- All core components including receiving, pick, pack, dispatch, inventory and reporting
- 5 concurrent users
- Designated Client Success and 24/7 support
- Up-front commited users for lifetime of contract
- Based on concurrent usage rather than total log-ins
- Add ‘flex-up’ users for minimum one-month terms
- Add fixed users through Client Success when required
- Can be included in initial contract or added at later date when necessary
- Configurable dashboards
- Pick and sort to trolley
- Mobile dispatch