Are you ready for Next-Gen Warehouse Management?
Traditionally, warehouse management systems (WMS) were complex, expensive and tedious to implement. That meant only big companies have the big shadow over the entire process or can say were the primary users. However, new digitized platforms, technologies, integration capabilities and applications are making WMS accessible – budget friendly – to the rest of the business world.
So, if you haven’t looked at WMS solutions in a while, whether as a possible first installation or an upgrade, it’s now high time to do so.
Before we start let’s have a look at what WMS can do for us
WMS applications can handle all the complex activities of a DC’s, including process optimization, resource management, and inventory management. Beyond their core functionality, WMS can deliver other business benefits like labor management, slotting, yard management, voice picking, parcel manifesting, value-added services, light manufacturing/ kitting and third-party logistics (3PL) billing, and most importantly, customer satisfaction
While usage of WMS in large companies in Europe and USA is fairly mature, demand for these systems is growing in the emerging geographies of Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe. According to Statista, the market for WMS solutions will grow from $1.2 billion in 2015 to $4.1 billion in 2024.
Now, that we understand the importance of WMS in our businesses, lets analyze what’s new with today’s WMS.
Today and into tomorrow, we’re in a take-off phase for WMS.
WMS is elaborating its connections with the latest ‘outside world’ of smart technologies. Staying ahead of tech-curve has become almost a full-time job now. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) going mainstream, all set to revolutionize the way warehouses operate. From collaborative robots, drones and automation to data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT), new technologies are emerging that have the potential to further improve how goods are shipped, handled, stored, and delivered.
Today, the industry is buzzing with the talk of drones and robots use within warehouses. Warstila (a Finnish corp.) and well-known DHL has already completed a successful pilot where the companies tested Fetch Robotics to investigate possibilities to utilize the latest technology innovations in the daily operations of the warehouse. The robots are designed to work parallel to employees, and to relieve them from physically strenuous tasks. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) – drones – have become predominant workhorses of the Ecommerce era, that large retailers such as Amazon can’t do without.
Amazon has 45,000 robots across 20 fulfillment center’s – this is 50% increase on the same time last year.
Big data and IoT are creating smarter warehouses. Leveraging the latest technology and the IoT, a “smart warehouse” can now serve as a hub to boost efficiency and speed throughout the supply chain. Smartphones, wearables and connected devices can profoundly boost warehouse efficiency by as much as 30%. Mobile and wearable connected technologies can guide forklifts by means of GPS and beacons, or even monitor the health and stress levels of hard-working employees.
On-cloud models for WMS are swiftly becoming ubiquitous, enabling companies (irrespective of size) to leverage the elasticity, scalability, resilience, universal accessibility, and manageable feature of the cloud.
In the cloud, it’s easy to support distributed warehouse facilities and their processes with great efficiency and consistency. Even companies that have not otherwise embraced the cloud are happily managing their warehouses with cloud-based WMS.
Above all, making it accessible via cloud, at most affordable, extensible and at pay-as-per-usage has allowed SMB to embrace cloud based WMS.
This is just a glimpse of what has already happened OR envisaged, but in the near future, all of that technology may be predominantly autonomous.
The Bottom line:
Efficiency, improved productivity and flexibility with reduced costs and low drudgery of work will be of utmost importance. Automation and robots will play a major role in replacing some of the traditionally labor-intensive efforts, freeing up time for warehouse staff to accomplish more value-added tasks. Interactive and mobile technology, collaborative robots, big data analytics, plug and play automation will have a role to play…
We believe that as new technologies continue to develop, it will significantly change the way goods are received, stored and shipped in a warehouse and will transform the integrated supply chain digitization.
Space may not be the final frontier as we thought. Technology is a frontier on its own, continuing to evolve, grow and reshape our world. As we continue to explore and expand technology, your business will undoubtedly reach new heights. Think about where your warehouse operations are today and where they need to be by 2050 to support your supply chain aspirations. Take your decisions wisely and prepare your warehouse to be driver of growth, a ROI booster.
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