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Warehouse complexity counts when you’re selecting a new WMS

Getting ready to select a new WMS? Before you start shopping for solutions, new research from Gartner indicates that your organization should have a full understanding of warehouse complexity before defining requirements and selection criteria.

According to the report, Use Gartner’s Model to Understand the 10 Dimensions of Warehouse Complexity Before Evaluating WMS Solutions, “When developing warehouse management strategies, companies need to look beyond higher-level warehouse business processes, such as receiving, storage, picking, packing and shipping, because these are common across most strata of warehouse environments. Warehouse operations share many characteristics; however, distinct differences exist across the various warehouse operational strata.”

Complexity is a key element in the Gartner WMS stratification model. The report explains, “More complex facilities require more WMS functional breadth and depth to support their needs, while less complex operations often require less functional robustness. However, understanding the term warehouse “complexity” is tricky because it’s difficult to define.”

To help companies define complexity, Gartner has categorized it into 10 dimensions. These dimensions focus on accessing various characteristics like size, layout and constraints of a warehouse as well as particulars such as volume and type of work. “For some environments, the scope of a single dimension will indicate high levels of complexity, while for many others, the combination of several dimensions will create complexity.”


The dimensions defined by Gartner include:

No. 1: Warehouse Size

No. 2: Warehouse Layout and Location Matrix

No. 3: Volume of Work

No. 4: Types of Work

No. 5: Product Characteristics

No. 6: Process Cycle Time and Throughput Requirements

No. 7: Warehouse Constraints

No. 8: Number and Variability of Process Stages

No. 9 Degree of Automation

No. 10: Process Variability and Adaptability


A thorough understanding of these dimensions across your facilities will help truly identify your needs. From there you can create an RFP that precisely outlines your requirements and engage the right vendors.

Download the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Warehouse Management Systems