You probably have little trouble explaining what a Warehouse Control System is all about.  But recently the term “Warehouse Execution System” (WES) has been making its way into the conversation.  Do you understand the similarities and differences between the two?

While both are focused on “optimization”, the obvious difference between the two is “Control” versus “Execution”.  A WCS is a software application that optimizes the operation of material handling equipment such as; carousels, conveyors, cranes, sorters, etc.  This is accomplished by:

  • Controlling the queue of commands or sequence of operations to be done by the MHE equipment in the most efficient manner.
  • Orchestrating the interaction between disparate islands of automation

A WES is a software application that optimizes processes and thereby controls how work is “Executed”.  A WES is focused on “executing” tasks based on existing facility conditions.  As a result, warehouses become more flexible and agile in response. This is accomplished by:

  • Synchronizing work resources necessary to complete the order fulfillment and shipment of finished product.
  • Orchestrating the overall flow of work by selecting the next best order to release from the available pool of orders and current workload in the various work cells.