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What is a WMS (Warehouse Management System) and Why You Need One

by EasyPost
woman on tablet looking at inventory

If you work in ecommerce, then you know that warehouse management is essential to keeping operations running smoothly. But what does a warehouse management system do and why do you need one? In this blog post, we’ll break down the basics of WMS so you can understand why this essential software is so important for modern businesses of all sizes.

What is a warehouse management system?

A warehouse management system is software that helps businesses manage the receipt, storage, and shipment of products. A WMS gives businesses a real-time view of their inventory levels and allows employees to fulfill orders quickly and accurately. WMS also helps companies track their inventory levels and ensure that products are stored in the most efficient way possible.

You might need a WMS for many reasons, but the most simplified explanation is that it can help you save time and money. For example, a WMS can help reduce employees' time looking for products and help avoid costly mistakes caused by lost or damaged items. WMS can also help improve customer service by ensuring that orders are fulfilled accurately and on time.

Types of warehouse management systems

There are a few different types of warehouse management systems, and they can be categorized in a few different ways. The software can either be standalone or integrated, meaning that it’s designed to work independently on its own or with other software systems. Depending on your technological needs, they can also be self-hosted or hosted in the cloud.


A standalone warehouse management system is designed to work independently without needing other software systems. Small businesses or businesses often use this type of WMS with only one warehouse.


Integrated warehouse management system software is designed to work with other software systems, such as your order management system or enterprise resource planning system. This type of WMS is often used by larger businesses or businesses that have multiple warehouses.


A cloud-hosted warehouse management system that a WMS provider hosts. This type of WMS is often less expensive and easier to set up than self-hosted WMS, but it can limit the control businesses have over their data and systems.


An on-premises warehouse management system is self-hosted and installed on your servers, unlike cloud-hosted systems. This WMS gives businesses more control over their data and systems but requires a more considerable upfront investment and ongoing maintenance.


Warehouse management system features

Now that you know what a warehouse management system is and the different types, let’s take a look at some of the features that are commonly found in WMS software.

Order management

One of the most important features of WMS is order management. This supports businesses as they track and manage orders from start to finish. By automating order management, the fulfillment process becomes more efficient, ensuring that orders are fulfilled accurately and on time.

Inventory management

Another important feature of a warehouse management system is inventory management. This enables businesses to track and manage their inventory levels in real-time. Because of it, businesses can avoid products going out of stock, ensure products are stored efficiently, and keep track of inventory levels.

Labor management

Warehouse management systems can also help with labor management. This optimizes a business’s workforce by tracking employee productivity. Having employees working efficiently is vital to a smooth logistics operation and helps businesses save both time and money.


Warehouse management systems are able to help businesses forecast their future plans. A WMS can track and manage inventory levels, orders, and shipments. This data can be used to forecast future sales, budget for future expenses, and make long-term strategic decisions.

Benefits of a warehouse management system

There are many benefits to using a warehouse management system. Here are some of the perks you can expect when your business utilizes a reliable WMS.

Warehouse optimization

First and foremost, a warehouse management system can help you optimize your warehouse. WMS software can help you plan your layout, design your picking routes, and select the right storage solutions for your products. By optimizing your warehouse, you can improve your order fulfillment times and reduce your operating costs.

Real-time inventory visibility

Another big benefit of a warehouse management system is that it provides real-time inventory visibility. This ensures you never run out of stock and enables you to quickly identify and correct errors in your inventory records.

Supply chain optimization

In addition to warehouse optimization, a warehouse management system can also help you optimize your supply chain. WMS software can help you track and manage your orders, shipments, and suppliers. This information can be used to identify bottlenecks in your supply chain and make long-term strategic decisions.

Improved customer service

Finally, a warehouse management service can help you improve your customer service. WMS software is able to track and manage orders, ensuring that they are filled on time and accurately. This information can also be used to provide customers with real-time updates on the status of their orders. By providing excellent customer service, you can increase customer loyalty and repeat business.

person in warehouse with scanner

How to choose a warehouse management system

Now that you know the benefits of using a warehouse management system, it’s time to learn how to choose the right one for your business. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a WMS.


When choosing a warehouse management system, be sure to consider the features that are most important to your business. Do you need a system that can track inventory levels in real-time? Do you need a system that can optimize your warehouse layout? Make a list of the features you need, and then find a WMS that offers those features.


Cost is another important factor to consider when choosing a warehouse management system. Be sure to get quotes from multiple vendors before making a decision. Compare the features, keep a record of the costs of each system, and choose the one that best fits your budget.


Be sure to consider the implementation process when choosing a warehouse management system. Find a vendor who can help you smoothly transition to the new system. Be sure to ask about training and support options, so you can be sure your employees are properly trained on the new system.

Why you need a warehouse management system

If you’re running a business that ships products, then you need a warehouse management system–it’s that simple. WMS software can help you optimize your warehouse, track your inventory, and manage your supply chain. By using a WMS, you can improve order fulfillment times, reduce your operating costs, and improve your customer service. So what are you waiting for? Invest in a WMS today and take your business to the next level.

Looking to learn how EasyPost can integrate with your WMS? Get in touch with one of our shipping experts to learn more!