The WMS Market

How Can WMS Providers Be Categorized?

With a comprehensive range of services, the Warehouse Management System serves to optimise, control and monitor all warehouse and distribution systems. Thus, it belongs to the areas of "software and electrical automation" and at the same time to the intralogistics sector.

In Germany, Austria and Switzerland alone, approximately 130 providers of IT systems can currently be identified as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) according to VDI Guideline 3601. In order to designate an IT system as a WMS, the defining task and service areas defined in VDI Guideline 3601 must be fulfilled.

Driven by technology and market trends, such as increasing digitization, rising automation or the use of artificial intelligence methods, WMS providers are also challenged to establish new approaches and adaptations for the market. As a result, new functional and technological development priorities are being established.

Market Presence of the WMS Providers

Out of the total of all WMS providers surveyed (approx. 90 providers), more than three quarters have been offering their Warehouse Management System for more than 20 years. In contrast, only 5 percent of the WMS providers have been on the market for less than 10 years. In conclusion, most WMS providers have enormous and profound experience and knowledge in the field of logistics software. This is also reinforced by the long tenure of employees in the WMS field.

Distribution of the WMS Provider Types

Depending on individual customer requirements, the respective strengths and functional orientations of the WMS providers contribute to the success of a project. It is distinguished between three types of providers:

The long-term study by »Team warehouse logistics« shows that the proportion of suite providers has risen steadily over the last few years. In addition, it can be observed that the functional and product range of some providers is further diversifying through a horizontal and vertical expansion of the product portfolio. The classic and central warehouse software of the WMS providers is complemented in a modular manner by supplementary logistics IT, such as Transport Management Systems (TMS) , Forklift Guidance Systems (FGS) or Pick-by-systems. In general, the provider types are subdivided based on the following criteria.

"Pure" WMS Providers

The "pure" WMS provider primarily offers logistics IT for the warehouse. The scope of delivery can also be supplemented by warehouse-relevant software (e.g. Resource Planning Systems (RPS), Business Intelligence Systems). In addition, some WMS providers have a special industry focus. The core business, on the other hand, is aimed at the software-technical and functional support of complex processes in the warehouse. By cooperating with ERP and warehouse technology providers, "pure" WMS providers can expand their range of products and services.

Suite Providers

For suite providers, the Warehouse Management System is part of a larger software suite (e.g. ERP/ SCM system). This enables a higher level of integration into cross-company or cross-site modules and functions of the business suite, whereas the core business is mostly focused on manual or semi-automated warehouses. Nevertheless, complex facilities characterised by a higher degree of automation are now also being connected. The WMS can be used autonomously in this case.


The integrator is originally at home in metal construction. In the course of the automation of the warehouses, more and more points of reference to electronics, in particular to the control electronics of e.g. storage and retrieval machines, became apparent. Warehouse Management Systems have developed as a result, so that the integrator now acts as a general contractor. Consequently, the Warehouse Management System usually has a high level of integration to control the flow of materials. The core business still comprises highly automated warehouses with complex processes, although due to the increased development of logistics IT competence, there is now a tendency to spin off the software division and to offer the WMS without warehouse technology.

Selected Aspects of a WMS Project

If you would like to find out how WMS providers are meeting the current challenges, what other trends are shaping the market, and what success factors are playing a key role in this, we recommend the WMS MARKET REPORT COMPACT.

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