Warehouse Control System (WCS):
A class of software generally focused on controlling material handling systems execution. For example, in a conveyorized sortation system, the WCS would execute the “induction” of a carton in the material handling system, mergers of cartons coming from different lines, tracking each carton and diverting it to the appropriate lane when leaving a sorter and more. This generally involves PLC programming which controls the machinery. Most of these functions are distinct from WMS functionality.
However, there are some areas, such as the routing of cartons through a series of pick modules, or automated label print-and-apply, where the control may come from either the WMS or WCS. In the past, this was largely a custom programming effort, but now many WCS offerings are available packaged and “out-of-the-box.”