2010 – the good bits

December 23, 2010

As we close out the year, a tough year for me personally in some ways, let’s rather reflect on the good stuff from the past 12 months. Here’s my submission, please feel free to add yours in the comments section below.

Things I enjoyed in 2010:

  1. The FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
  2. Microsoft Office 2010.
  3. The people I worked with – customers, colleagues and suppliers – in my role with the best ERP Software company out there.
  4. The non-profit association that I’m proud to have been part of, and the terrific fund-raising events we somehow managed to pull off.
  5. Watching Barcelona FC on TV as often as possible.
  6. Learning more about online marketing than I had ever before imagined could even exist – the more I learn, the more I realize just how little I actually know.

I wish all of you a happy, healthy and successful 2011.

Inventory Management or Warehouse Management?

December 7, 2010

What’s in a name? Between “warehouse management software” and “Warehouse Management System“, the difference is quite big – like tens of thousands of dollars.

Take the average small distribution business, with perhaps a 15,000 square foot warehouse and managing a couple of thousand SKUs – receiving 3 or 4 inbound shipments a week, and shipping out between 50 and 100 customer orders daily. This business needs software to manage their inventory levels, bin locations, picking, packing and shipping – along with the accounting and financial business functions. So a reasonably priced ERP System, which includes warehouse and inventory management software, will fulfill these needs at an affordable cost. That’s your warehouse management software.

But within the business software industry, a Warehouse Management System (“WMS”) – as opposed to “Software” – is a complex, mission-specific solution, usually comprising both software and equipment (like handheld scanners), designed to radically automate the warehouse – and do nothing else. Your WMS would hopefully integrate with your ERP system.

These systems typically cost more than the ERP modules for small and medium-sized businesses, and are therefore usually only implemented in larger businesses – you won’t usually see a WMS in a 15,000 square foot warehouse. So while the company in the above example may want a WMS, they will almost certainly not be able to cost-justify it and will in any case be more than adequately served by the ERP / Inventory Management Software solution.

This is a trap to avoid when discussing or assessing new software for a small / medium-sized wholesaler / distributor.

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