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supply chain management software

Explaining the Supply Chain Management Software Alphabet Soup: TMS, WMS, YMS, LMS, OMS, & More

Supply chain management software can be confusing at times. Every software has a different acronym. For example, take these leading top software applications used in supply chain execution: transportation management system (TMS), warehouse management system (WMS), yard management system (YMS), labor management system (LMS), order management system (OMS), enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), and software-as-a-service (SaaS). It is a hodgepodge of endless letters and systems that sound like they perform similar functions, but each system comes with unique advantages and capabilities. Supply chain leaders need to understand what the system abbreviations mean and how they will improve operations.

Unlike our past blogs, this piece will follow a different format, explaining each system’s core functions and how the specific type of supply chain management software can benefit companies and consumers alike.


The first system in the supply chain management software alphabet soup is a TMS.

A TMS helps a supply chain run smoothly and make trailer and shipment tracking information as transparent as possible. Shippers can inform their customers of shipment changes (late or missed deliveries) through the TMS to keep a positive relationship between the shipper and the customer.

The TMS serves to manage orders from the moment they leave the dock until they reach the target destination. The TMS is also useful for managing all logistics needs, particularly procurement and reverse logistics. Typically, the TMS builds directly upon information gathered from other supply chain systems working in parallel, such as a WMS, which we will explain next.


The WMS is the system of record for warehouse management, capable of controlling inventory, processing orders, and many additional purposes.


“A warehouse management system is a software application that helps control and manage the day-to-day operations in a warehouse. WMS software guides inventory receiving and put-away, optimizes picking and shipping of orders, and advises on inventory replenishment.”


While a WMS functions within a warehouse and a TMS functions outside the warehouse, what happens to logistics needs that occur within the yard of the facility? This is where a YMS comes into play. According to Warehouse Logistics, the yard management system focuses on the movements of vehicles, trucks, and inventory within your yard, as well as its expected arrival. It includes the allocation of docks, road transport clearance at the gate, and management of vehicle waiting areas.


The LMS is another supply chain system software that enables productivity through better management of labor resources. Of course, experts disagree on the value of an LMS in the purview of automation and robotics. However, the current state of robotics is not yet necessarily ready to deploy a human-less warehouse on a global scale. Yes, some companies have created “dark warehouses” that operate without human intervention. However, even these systems still rely on information from people in other parts of the supply chain. As a result, the value of an LMS will always remain.


The use of an OMS is another system that bears strong similarities to the WMS. The OMS is responsible for overseeing inventory management and ensuring operations run smoothly. Yes, it may serve as a stand-in WMS, but it may lack the critical functions, such as some labor management, which may be included within a WMS. Again, it depends on the size of the organization and needs.

Take this definition of an OMS, published by Shopify:

“An order management system is any tool or platform that tracks sales, orders, inventory, and fulfillment as well as enables the people, processes, and partnerships necessary for products to find their way to the customers who bought them.”


The use of an ERP system is also a major factor in modern supply chain management. An ERP is a type of legacy system that was built for and designed within a single organization. While publicly available ERPs exist, the term is generally reserved for company-owned software, including the use of WMS platforms that run for a single entity. In other words, any system created by a company and with the sole purpose of managing that companies’ assets could be defined as an ERP. Yet, most ERPs are legacy software and have limited functionality when taken into consideration and purview of modern, cloud-based systems. As explained by Investopedia:

“Many ERP software applications are important to companies because they help them implement resource planning by integrating all of the processes needed to run their companies with a single system. An ERP software system can also integrate planning, purchasing inventory, sales, marketing, finance, human resources, and more.”


Speaking of cloud-based capabilities, the final system type and form in the supply chain management software alphabet soup is SaaS. SaaS platforms refer to systems built by a third-party vendor that offers their use in exchange for a subscription payment. As a result, small and mid-sized businesses can take advantage of advanced system resources at a fraction of the cost of building systems independently. Furthermore, cloud-based platforms that incur a recurring charge for all users are a form of SaaS systems.

Create the Right System Lineup for Your Supply Chain by Working With

Many different systems exist in the realm of supply chain management. For each function and activity, an entirely new system can exist and operate. Regardless of which systems are in use within your facilities, they must communicate. In today’s world, data sharing and accuracy in supply chain order fulfillment is critical to success. Supply chain leaders need to ensure their systems are properly integrated, and if an additional system is necessary, it must be compatible. It is a complex process, but options exist. Let Veridian help you make the right selection of one or more supply chain applications. Request a consultation online today.

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