Warehouse Management System Development: Custom vs Off-the-Shelf

Alexander Ivanov

Alexander Ivanov

Head of Logistics and Supply Chain Technologies

Jul 19, 2022
9 minutes to read

Warehouse management software is experiencing impressive growth. As Data Bridge reports, in 2021, the global size of the warehouse management system market was as big as $2.8 billion. Around 2029, it is projected to reach $9.97 billion, with a 17.2% CAGR. This upward trend is fueled by the overall digitization process in general and enormous demand for eCommerce in particular. In this piece, we will try to explore the market and answer an important question: whether you need a custom developed or off-the-shelf warehouse management system to succeed in this market. And what are the warehouse management system features you need to obtain?

WMS Development: Custom vs Off-the-Shelf (img 1)

What is warehouse management software?

To begin with, let’s define what warehouse management system development is all about? A warehouse management system can be understood as an app to assist you with ‘supervising and administering the day-to-day processes in a warehouse’ and ‘ensuring it is running’ in a cost-effective and transparent fashion.

As such, this software is supposed to create and support an interactive link between your warehouse and employees, while providing for real-time visibility of the entire workflow. Its tasks may include:

  • Inventory tracking and barcodes;
  • Delivery monitoring and shipping control;
  • Packing, picking, and receiving;
  • Slotting;
  • Returns;
  • Audits and cycle counting;
  • Data management.

Thus, whatever your business is, be it an SME or multinational enterprise, you definitely need a WMS of one sort or another for greater speed and productivity.

What are the key types of warehouse management systems (WMS)?

Basically, most experts agree that there are four types of warehouse management systems in existence.

Simple standalone WMS systems

These have limited functionalities and don’t require sophisticated integrations or total connectedness. As such, they are mainly used by small-sized enterprises for inventory management and other main warehouse activities.

Cloud warehouse management systems

This type of software is delivered within a SaaS framework, providing you with fast and convenient access to a predefined set of features, for a fee, including analytics and Business Intelligence capabilities.

WMS with ERP

By adding an enterprise resource planning module, this advanced approach integrates your warehouse management with more advanced functionalities, e.g. HR and talent management, customer relations management, accounting, marketing and sales operations, etc.

WMS with supply chain modules

This covers not only warehousing, transportation, and distribution, but also integrates these dimensions with production. Consequently, it tracks material acquisition, replenishment of your inventory, manufacturing cycles, partnership management, etc.

Best ready-made WMS software

Ready-made software, aka off-the-shelf software, can be defined as software products that have been envisioned, designed, and built for the mass market. As such, it represents a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, aimed at satisfying the needs of a ‘typical’ company. Let’s examine what the best ready-made warehouse management software is and what the best representatives of this class are.

As of now, the estimates published by SelectHub can be viewed as a reliable