The digitalization of the supply chain for many companies can appear to be a complex task, and historical belief systems may be getting in the way. Recently in London, a healthy debate arose about the consolidation of warehouse management functions in the ERP during a customer seminar. The historical position is that warehouse management systems should remain external (best of breed) from the ERP while the competing position is in favor of native functionality.
The historical position has a lot of merits. Companies can have many different fulfillment requirements with large volume across multiple product lines. More complex scenarios boost the argument that a more sophisticated standalone WMS may be the best option.
The “native” WMS functionality position also has merits. Native, real time interaction between the warehouse and the other ERP functions such as inventory, purchasing and shop floor systems has many benefits. Microsoft has been the boosting the major capabilities of these systems for many years and made a significant commitment to this strategy through the acquisition of Blue Horseshoe technology for Advanced Warehouse Management (WMS), which was made part of Dynamics AX 2012 R3 in the summer of 2013.
One seminar participant stated they hired experienced consultants to help them answer the question of "WMS in ERP" or not. After 18+ months of reviews the conclusion was that the native WMS solution was the best option for them. The company is scheduled to have a controlled go live with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations with Advanced Warehouse in fall of 2019. We wish them success!
In either case, every company is different and how much WMS functionality they need may be a difficult decision. The evaluation can be carried out with the assistance of checklists and consultants, which primarily focuses on the several key principles such as omnichannel distribution and managing the day-to-day warehouse operations cost effectively and accurately (e.g., receiving, put-way, returns, pick, pack, ship, etc.).
Data Masons has helped many companies achieve their WMS objectives with the integration of standalone best of breed WMS systems with Microsoft ERP platforms. Additionally, Data Masons implements EDI initiatives such as ASN (Advance Ship Notice) production for both native WMS, standalone WMS systems as well as 3PLs (Public Warehouses) and complex dropship programs. The Data Masons platform is designed to leverage data from any WMS or other data sources to achieve advanced ASN capabilities without embedded customizations in the ERP.
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