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Supply Chain News: Thoughts on WMS Trends 2020 from Gartner


In a Very Mature WMS Market, Vendors Continue to Innovate, Dwight Klappich and Simon Turnstall Says

June 2, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Gartner analysts Dwight Klappich and Simon Turnstall recently released the firn's annual "Magic Quadrant" report for 2020 on Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

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Cloud and SaaS delivery models have recently become more prevalent and in-demand deployment options, Gartner writes.

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The Magic Quadrant is a technique Garnter uses across many technologies and even some service areas to rate vendors along two primary axes: Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute.

Each of those dimensions in turn is calculated based on a large number of more granular criteria.

The Magic Quadrant report itself is limited to Gartner clients – though several vendors have already made the report available on their web sites through special license with the analyst firm.

SCDigest can, however, report on some of the commentary on the state of the WMS market that goes along with the famous MQ graph itself and the individual analyses of various WMS vendors.

Gartner notes that "Despite being a very mature market, WMS offerings continue to differ in areas like usability, adaptability, intelligence, scalability up and down market, and life cycle costs."

Gartner also finds that companies increasingly favor supply chain suites that can support end-to-end supply chain and logistics process orchestration, and refers to this trend as supply chain convergence. In general, that means having functionality in areas such as labor management, transportation management, parcel shipping, slotting optimization, yard management and other applications that are integrated with vendor's WMS on a common platform.

Having a focus on the breadth and depth of WMS offerings remains valid for the most sophisticated operations, Gartner says. In fact, Gartner sees a bifurcation in the WMS market between the high-performance, complex and sophisticated WMS requirements and the mass market where "good enough" functionality is "good enough."

Klappich and Turnstall say this is not because companies choose to sacrifice functionality. Instead it is because, globally, the preponderance of warehouse operations are Level 3 or below in Gartner's warehouse complexity model, with Level 1 being the most basic and Levels 4 and 5 being the most complex and automated.

"Warehouses at Level 3 and below do not require, nor would they normally use, the most advanced functionality," Gartner says.

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Despite the maturity of the WMS market, it remains vibrant with vendors continuing to innovate, Gartner writes, saying "Progress is being made in usability, adaptability and support for automation, while Cloud services grow faster than the overall market, although still a relatively small part of overall deployments."

Given its maturity as a software category, now some 45 years since the first real-time WMS was deployed, basic core WMS functionality has remained fundamentally the same, Gartner notes. However, despite a certain commonality in capabilities, Gartner notes "there have been and continue to be improvements in the depth, number of options and flexibility of these capabilities, and notable differences remain in core competencies and extended capabilities."

Klappich and Turnstall also say that WMS vendors have increased focus on enhancing their technical architectures.

"Some vendors have upgraded to model-driven architectures that enable more user adaptability of the WMS during and after implementation. Others have migrated or are in the process of migrating to microservices architectures to ease flexibility and integration capabilities," they observe.

Additionally, they note, Cloud and SaaS delivery models have recently become more prevalent and in-demand deployment options, Gartner writes.

"The WMS market remains vibrant with vendors continuing to innovate. Progress is being made in adaptability and support for automation while Cloud services grow faster than the overall market," Gartner concludes.

What do you think of these key WMS trends? What would you add? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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