WMS API: A Definition, Benefits & More
Originally published on July 6, 2023 by Erhan Musaoglu, Updated on August 14, 2023
Even better, you could have a single source of truth that accurately provides insights into inventory, warehouse operations, and more.
All of this is possible through application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow systems or apps to connect and communicate with other apps. Applications connected this way can send data, requests, and responses to one another.
To connect your warehouse systems, you’ll need the right warehouse management system API (WMS API). Keep reading to learn more about how a WMS API works and its many benefits.
Want the highlights? Here are the key takeaways from our WMS API guide:
- A WMS API simplifies connecting your warehouse tech stack to your warehouse management system. Warehouse systems connected via an API can send and retrieve data from each other.
- WMS APIs work by providing a set of rules and protocols that allow different systems to connect to and interact with your warehouse management system.
- You can connect ecommerce channels, custom websites, ERP systems, shipping partners, and more to a WMS via an open API.
- Connecting your warehouse stack to your WMS provides end-to-end visibility and increased efficiency, among other benefits.
- Both WMS APIs and webhooks help systems connect and transmit data, but a WMS API is better for bidirectional communication between systems.
In this guide, we’ll discuss:
What Is a WMS API?
A WMS API is an application programming interface built for connecting your warehouse systems or applications to your WMS. It simplifies integrating your WMS with various warehouse systems and facilitates communication between the connected systems or apps.
Communications between the WMS and connected systems typically involve data exchanges to help each system complete more tasks and stay updated. This occurs through continuous, real-time data synchronization.
Examples of systems you can connect to a WMS via a warehouse management system API include:
- Ecommerce platforms
- ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems
- Transportation management systems
- Order management systems
- Robotics or automation systems
With the right WMS API, your warehouse can fully take advantage of its WMS and the above systems to optimize and automate various operations, such as:
- Inventory monitoring, storage, and retrieval
- Submitting orders for fulfillment
- Shipment status updating
- Assigning tasks to pickers
How Does a WMS API Work?
A WMS API works by providing a set of rules and protocols that allow different systems to connect to and interact with your warehouse management system.
For example, when an ERP system or another external system needs to retrieve or send data to the WMS, the external system uses the WMS API to connect. The API understands the request from the external system and translates it into a format the WMS understands. The same thing applies when a WMS wants to send a request to a connected system.
To help you better understand how a WMS API works, here’s an illustration of WMS software communicating with an ecommerce platform:
- A customer places an order on your ecommerce site, and the order causes your ecommerce system to send a request to your WMS via the WMS API.
- Upon receiving the request, your WMS will acknowledge receipt and accept the order by allocating inventory and a picker to collect items to fulfill the order.
- The WMS sends data back to the ecommerce site to update the available inventory shown on it and instigates fulfillment of the order.
All of the above will happen automatically, ensuring accurate processing and heightened efficiency within your warehouse.
The Benefits of a Warehouse Management System API
Now that you understand how a WMS API works, let’s see how leveraging one can benefit your warehouse operations.
1. Enables End-to-End Visibility
End-to-end visibility means you have a complete and comprehensive view of your warehouse’s operations and performance. Access to such information simplifies tracking and monitoring your operations to identify shortcomings, areas for improvement, and more.
A WMS API simplifies achieving end-to-end visibility because you can connect all your warehouse systems to your WMS. Your WMS then becomes a single source of truth where you can track and monitor data from all your connected applications.
For instance, by connecting your ERP and order management systems to your WMS, you can get valuable insights into inventory levels, storage, and more via your WMS.
2. Boosts Efficiency
As we’ve pointed out, a WMS API simplifies viewing valuable information and data from various systems on your warehouse management system. Access to real-time information regarding different warehouse processes aids in making data-driven decisions that boost operational efficiency.
For example, connecting your ERP to your WMS will help you forecast inventory and demand. You can use the insights to restock the correct product quantity at the right time to avoid overstocking or understocking.
Another example is pairing your WMS with a robotics system. The integration will allow you to automate various processes, such as picking and sorting, with robots that can work faster, longer, and with incredible accuracy. Such a setup will boost productivity and efficiency in your warehouse, helping you achieve more in less time.
3. Reduces Warehouse Costs
Labor makes up a significant percentage of warehousing costs. You can significantly reduce warehouse costs by automating warehouse processes, such as inventory management and picking. For example, adding automated vehicles to your warehouse can reduce your need for human labor, so you can spend less.
Even better, automating processes will reduce the human errors that cost warehouses millions of dollars a year. Automating processes to reduce warehouse costs is easier when you have a WMS that can easily and seamlessly integrate with warehouse automation systems via an API.
4. Automatic Real-Time Data Exchange
A WMS API eliminates the need for manual data entry across multiple systems. Thanks to the API, entry changes in one connected system will automatically reflect in all connected systems. For example, changing inventory quantities in an ERP system will automatically reflect in your WMS and other connected systems.
Such changes occur in real-time because the API facilitates continuous data exchange and synchronization. Real-time data across connected systems reduces the risk of incorrect decision-making due to inaccurate information. It also prevents decision-making delays and improves overall visibility into warehouse activities.
5. Enhances Customer Service
A WMS API can improve customer service in several ways. For example, the API can facilitate providing customers with real-time updates on order status, shipment tracking, and delivery notifications. Studies show that 80% of customers want delivery status updates because it makes a business appear transparent and reliable.
Also, a WMS API can fast-track resolving order-related issues. It can accomplish this by providing customer support with automated alerts regarding order issues. The support team can then promptly address the issue to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.
What You Can Do With a WMS API
A warehouse management system API offers several capabilities your facility can leverage to enhance its operations and efficiency. For example, you can integrate your digital WMS with custom websites or stores to monitor and receive orders.
What else can you do with a WMS API?
- Connect warehouses and vendors (packaging supplies, logistics providers, and more) to streamline multi-channel fulfillment and ordering services
- Implement robotics systems to automate and streamline warehouse tasks
- Integrate ecommerce platforms, order management systems, and ERP systems for seamless order processing and fulfillment
- Enable ERP systems to access real-time inventory data on your WMS to track stock levels, locations, and availability
- Connect to logistics providers to retrieve shipment tracking information, delivery statuses, and more
All of the above is possible only if you have a WMS that supports such integrations, like Logiwa WMS.
An Introduction to the Logiwa WMS API
Logiwa WMS is a highly sophisticated yet user-friendly WMS for turning your warehouse into a fully digital facility. The software comes pre-packaged with a host of integrations for connecting your existing warehouse systems, including a WMS API.
The WMS API is an open REST API for easily connecting custom websites, online stores/marketplaces, ERP systems, business intelligence (BI) tools, vendors, and even other warehouses. Connected systems push and pull various information to and from Logiwa WMS.
Since it’s an open API, there’s no limit to the systems and applications you can seamlessly integrate with Logiwa to synchronize data and automate processes. Take advantage of Logiwa’s integration options to streamline your warehouse workflows, improve efficiency, and leverage the strengths of different systems working together.
Webhooks vs. WMS API
Webhooks and WMS APIs are both solutions for integrating systems or applications so they can transmit data to one another. However, webhooks are better for one-way, real-time communication between applications. You can use them to set up specific actions, such as notifications, updates, or processes, to occur in response to specific events.
On the other hand, a WMS API offers a broader range of functionalities that allow for more extensive interaction with a warehouse management system. Also, a WMS API allows bidirectional communication, meaning connected systems can send and retrieve data from each other.
Should you use webhooks or a WMS API? The correct solution for your facility will depend on your integration requirements and warehouse system needs. Fortunately, Logiwa supports both webhooks and APIs, allowing you to integrate your warehouse systems with the solution that best fits your needs.
Take Your Fulfillment Operations to the Next Level With Logiwa
With the help of a WMS API, you can seamlessly integrate your critical systems with your warehouse management system. Integrating your systems will ensure accurate and real-time data exchange for better coordination across your warehouse’s ecosystem. It will also equip your facility to automate multiple processes to improve warehouse efficiency and order fulfillment accuracy.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look far to find a WMS prebuilt with an API. Logiwa WMS simplifies integrating with your critical systems by coming packed with 200+ integration options out-of-the-box. Plug in the right API keys to connect a system to our WMS, and you’re good to go. Request a demo of Logiwa WMS today!