Distinctions between a WMS, WCS and a WES

Warehouse and inventory management systems have evolved a great deal since the days of paper inventory card tracking systems that predated computers. As a result of the evolution, the material handlings industry has categorized the various software platforms for distribution operations. The terms Warehouse Management System (WMS), Warehouse Execution System (WES) and Warehouse Control System (WCS) grew out of the need to distinguish the features of the different systems.

The WMS, which was born from the necessity to advance into the computer age, grew to handle not only inventory tracking, but also the put-away and instructions that included work planning tools and machines. The WCS evolved to include “timing” functionality and the control of multiple machine control systems. In order to provide real-time direction to the material handling equipment, the WCS had to be able to receive WMS-created plants and then execute them.

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