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Expanding WMS Functionality with WES Integration

Corey Wooten | 3 May 2023

According to MHI’s 2023 Industry Report, 74 percent of the over 2,000 respondents are not only increasing their investments in supply chain improvements over the next two years, but their budgets actually surpass pre-pandemic levels. If this aligns with your business objectives, chances are you’ve already begun researching material handling automation technologies to find the best solution for your needs.

While automation equipment is certainly a large factor in optimizing warehouse operations, it’s important to remember that the software managing the system is just as vital. For automation, the WES can help expand on WMS functionality, helping to improve total warehouse communication, simplify integration, enhance visibility and more.

Levels of Warehouse Software

To better understand the role a WES plays in distribution center operations, let’s quickly breakdown the typical software hierarchy.

  • ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems integrates all the facets of your operations – from product planning to sales and marketing efforts.
  • WMS (warehouse management system) is the highest level of software for your warehouse operations specifically. It interfaces with the ERP to get product information and most notably manages and tracks inventory.
  • WES (warehouse execution system) controls your various islands of automation, i.e., AS/RS (automated storage and retrieval systems), conveyor systems and robotic cells. It interfaces with the WMS to receive tasks that are then communicated to the material handling system.

Benefits of Integrating a WES

Bastian’s intralogistics software suite, Exacta®, is the perfect complement to your existing WMS. With flexible interface protocols, experienced automation integrations, and customizable reporting solutions, Exacta makes it easy to increase the efficiency of your warehouse.

Improve Total Warehouse Communication

One of the major benefits for adding Exacta to your warehouse is the ease of integration with your current WMS. Exacta has experience with over 50 different branded WMS companies, more than 35 homegrown systems and have utilized numerous interface protocols.

Our software experts will work directly with your WMS to define the required touch points for the system. From here, the WMS can provide us the preferred message specifications and Exacta will customize an interface to match these specifications. There is no need for your WMS to perform major customizations when adding a new software layer. Let Exacta manage the interface customizations so your WMS can focus on your warehouse needs.

Simplify New Equipment Integration

Whether you need something as simple as a conveyor transportation and sortation system or technology as complex as goods to person, AVs/AGVs (autonomous vehicles/automated guided vehicles), or robotics, Exacta functions as the intelligence driving this automation. This allows you to seamlessly bring automation into your warehouse.

We work directly with your WMS to determine how involved they want to be. Exacta’s ability to scale up or down in relation to automation control ensures that the WMS can focus on what it is good at and not be out of comfort zones.

Enhance Visibility

Along with new automation comes the need for additional reporting to ensure your technology is providing you with the expected operational efficiencies. Exacta comes with a carefully curated set of standard business intelligence reports that provide your management team the visibility they need. And if not, our engineers can work directly with your team to create custom reports that make it easy to track key performance indicators. Exacta also has the ability to provide your team with a replication of the production database that we call the data warehouse. This is a non-production database that can be used to create your own reports. For customers that are experienced in reporting, this can be a major asset that saves a lot of time and money.

Your All-in-One Business Partner

Sorting through the vast amount of automaton technologies and software applications can be overwhelming. Decades of experience integrating Exacta in various applications and scenarios has given Bastian experts a unique perspective – one that understands how to support software solutions, whether directly integrated or as part of the system. Reach out today to see how the Exacta intralogistics software suite can enhance your WMS and ultimately improve your operations.

Author: Corey Wooten

Corey is a Logistics Consultant for Bastian Solutions’ software division located in Louisville, Kentucky. He earned his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Louisville and his MBA from Auburn University. Corey has experience in automation for a wide variety of industry applications including wine and spirits, apparel, automotive and pharmaceutical.


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