Top 3 Reasons Dynamics Clients Seek WMS over Data Collection

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Inventory Mobility and Traceability

Microsoft Dynamics clients that are projecting growth in their manufacturing and/or distribution operations are seeking improvements in inventory traceability. The majority of these clients are selecting WMS (Warehouse Management) over DC (Data Collection).

So what exactly is the difference between WMS and Data Collection applications?

One article explained the difference between WMS and DC as: “WMS provides recommendations, while Inventory Control (DC) primarily registers transactions.” Another article states the differences as: “Warehouse management divides warehouses into many compartments and bins while inventory management (DC) takes a broader approach to tracking inventory by location. Warehouse management allows you to find specific items in a warehouse while inventory management (DC) simply informs you that they are somewhere in that warehouse.”

The primary difference between WMS and DC is that Data Collection is built for one specific ERP with no ability to migrate … meaning you have to start over with inventory traceability any time you change your accounting tools. Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are built to move, or scale, with your growing business regardless of your accounting system.

Rather than list all of the reasons clients seek WMS over DC … let’s examine the top 3 reasons Microsoft Dynamics Clients are seeking best-of-breed Warehouse Management WMS in detail.

  1. Power to Scale
  2. Feature and Function that Fits
  3. Ease of Use

Field Service home screen

  1. Power to Scale – Many clients in growth mode have a challenge managing distributed inventories. They often have a main warehouse of inventory combined with remote sites and distributed inventory that they need to track.  WMS easily scales from 1 site to many facilitating inventory transfers and in-transit tracking.  This ability to scale is one of the key drivers for a Client's return on investment (ROI).  The typical ROI is derived from savings in the following areas that can be addressed by a simple but powerful WMS solution:

Hard ROI justification

~20% labor savings in warehouse functions

Reduction or elimination of duplicate data entry for all  inventory movements: (receive, transfer, replenish, count, pick, ship)

Elimination of massive physical inventory counts

Elimination of order checking

Improvements in operator efficiency

Reduction/re-assignment of staff

Order turn-around time

Improved order accuracy

Reduction of inventory and Backorders

Soft ROI Justification

Improved customer satisfaction

Improved inventory turns

Improved housekeeping

Improved work environment

Improved supplier relationships

Reduced order errors

Improved quality control

Having the power to scale also means protecting your investment for the long term. And the long term may mean moving (scaling) from a legacy ERP system to your first Microsoft Dynamics ERP.  Or moving from one Microsoft Dynamics ERP to another as your business grows.  Appolis WithoutWire not only builds real-time integrations to each of these platforms, but also offers industry standard OPEN APIs based on JSON Objects and RESTful Services.

2.  Feature/Function that Fits – we are all familiar with the concept of the 80/20 pareto rule. But no one really wants 20% of their project costs to pay for customizations. A rich set of options and configurability within the base WMS system are what is most desirable for Clients. Phase 1 can be a set of base options that allow your warehouse operations to “walk” before they “run” with the most powerful configuration options. At Appolis, our clients do not all need to address areas like expiration dating, EDI integration and ASN (advanced shipment notifications) and a variety of ways to accomplish kitting, light assembly or full MO manufacturing in the first phase of their project. But our clients are pleased to know that it is readily available and that they can scale into those options in future phases.

The second part of their challenge is often to address the needs of multiple warehouses (hub and spoke), or remote sites or field service inventories; closets, satellite storage, trucks and trunks. Gaining visibility to these inventories is paramount to making good business decisions. The WMS needs to provide visibility to inventory being shipped from overseas in containers, with advanced loading, receiving, transfer, in-transit and cross-dock capabilities.

Another way that we differentiate our Appolis WithoutWire feature/function is to employ our Advanced Allocation methods and our Intuitively Intelligent License Plates (LP’s). Think of a license plate as a “moveable bin”, a cart, a pallet or a tote. WMS technology such as WithoutWire LP’s drives labeling efficiency and scanning efficiency. In a recent study we were able to demonstrate a 77% reduction in scans through the sophistication, but actually simplification, within our powerful WithoutWire WMS:


3.  Ease of Use – Freezing inventory to do a Cycle Count is counter-intuitive to a WMS system. ERP systems are primarily designed to accommodate Financial/Accounting considerations of a business. Most warehouse functions are enabled in an ERP as a secondary consideration. Best-of-Breed WMS systems are built to address these gaps and free warehouse and operations to optimize inventory movements independent of accounting/financial considerations.


Maintaining real-time visibility and data access is critical to making optimal business decisions. Limiting inventory movements due to posting needs from accounting would unnecessarily slow you down and be counter-productive. A WMS system empowers your business to move at the pace of fulfillment needs, real-time integrated with an ERP system which needs to move at the pace of accounting cycles.


Ease of use is also facilitated through the use of powerful smartphones and tablets. These easy to use and affordable devices have accelerated warehouse functionality faster than we imagined. They have accelerated the rate of Appolis innovation through the intuitive nature of their design. And now Zebra is on board with its newest TC8000 Android device launch! Ease of use has just become easier … powered by Zebra and Appolis WithoutWire™.  For more information on getting started with Warehouse Management, please call or email to inquire about our FREE 30-day Trial at 612-343-0404 x109 or


Steve Dwyer

Principal at Appolis

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