Logistics Insights Podcast

Logistics Insights Podcast

The Logistics Insights podcast from Softeon addresses the key distribution topics of the day in just 3 mins - delivering a perspective on distribution management and technology you simply will not find anywhere else.

Episodes

December 3, 2021 4 min

In this week’s Logistics Insights podcast, we sort out the WMS, WCS and WES flavors of warehouse software.

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Gartner recently held its virtual Supply Chain Symposium for 2021.

That included a session on Warehouse Management Systems, or WMS, led by well-known Gartner analyst, Dwight Klappich.

During the session, Klappich detailed what he sees as key trends in WMS technology moving forward. As an intro to those trends, Klappich first noted that Warehouse Management Systems are getting smarter.

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November 5, 2021 4 min

In this week’s Logistics Insights podcast, a look at three key trends in warehouse management systems, including the move to the Cloud, the rise of Warehouse Execution Systems and the increasing support for automation, such as for mobile robots and putwall systems.

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Labor challenges in US distribution are as high as we have ever seen. Almost everyone is scrambling for labor, and few are able to hire and retain all the DC labor they need.

Facing similar challenges, tool maker Hilti launched a program earlier this year to revolutionize the way it treats DC workers, across more than a dozen facilities in the US.

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Here's a fact: if a company is deploying a new WMS solution, unless they are already using Voice or other picking technologies such as pick-to-light or “put walls,” these types of technologies are almost never designed in from the start, even if there is great interest in them for down the road.

But is that really the right approach?

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One of the core concepts relative to Warehouse Management Systems is that of “directed putaway.”

While many logistics professionals are very familiar with this topic, it is clear from conversations with many companies that others don’t really have all the details – and that quite a few lack directed putaway capabilities with the system they are currently using to run their distribution center.

As the name suggests, directed putaw...

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In our previous broadcast, we discussed 5 of our top 10 catalysts for adopting a new WMS.

As a quick review, those 5 WMS project drivers were:

  • You are Experiencing Rapid Growth
  • You are Opening a New DC
  • You are Making Significant Logistics Strategy Changes
  • You have or are Consolidating Facilities
  • You Want to Significantly Increase DC Automation
  • Now, let’s add 5 more...

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    In may be a mature market space, but by all counts, the market for new Warehouse Management Systems remains strong.

    There are in fact a wide number of potential factors that drive companies to look for a new WMS solution, which we have handily grouped into 10 different logistics scenarios, and in Part 1, we lay out the first five.

    You might need a new WMS if...

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    Dynamic Slotting is a technique available in some Warehouse Management Systems in which a forward pick location is created dynamically, rather than being dedicated to a single SKU.

    This capability is needed in two primary situations: The first is when there aren’t enough pick locations to handle all SKUs a DC carries. The second scenario is when demand for SKU in a wave or general order pool far exceeds the storage capacity of the...

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    Autonomous mobile robots are coming to a DC near you - likely your facility - and probably soon. A.M.R.’s have taken the distribution world by storm, driven by both operational efficiencies and the challenges with finding enough labor in most US markets.

    This podcast dives into the benefits that can be achieved, the challenges, and the keys to making your investments future-proof.

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    Warehouse Management Systems are well-known, yet we still continue to find many companies that are new to WMS. 

    Even for managers with some WMS experience, we’ve found it useful to review the core benefits that a WMS delivers. Here they are...

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    Direct-to-Consumer (or DTC) strategies are very popular right now in retail and consumer goods companies and it’s easy to understand why - no company should be missing out on this megatrend with the numbers skyrocketing over the past year and COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Warehouse Management Systems – from some vendors at least – were a little late to move to the Cloud. Softeon has been doing Cloud WMS deployments for many years, but has really seen adoption take off in the past two year. 

    This is due to the major advantages from Cloud deployments in such areas as time and cost of the implementations and ease of system management post-go live, requiring little internal IT resources.

    After a signi...

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    Most WMS systems in the past did not concern themselves with utilization of materials handling equipment.

    The result: big peaks and valleys in volume, resulting in lots of wait time and reducing total system throughput.

    WES was developed to address that challenge, using algorithms to level-load cartons on to the equipment, and using techniques such as waveless order picking to meet that goal.

    That capability can deliver real val...

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    Why are put walls becoming so popular?

    Order picking efficiencies are gained through use of batch picking, where picks are grouped so that all items needed for orders to be processed in a given wall module or modules are picked in one stop in the picking area. This is generally much more efficient than discrete order picking

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    An introduction to the increasingly popular use of Put Walls for order fulfillment.

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    Before the virus pandemic, labor challenges in distribution centers were almost at crisis levels.

    The reality is there are many tools available to take on the DC labor challenge, whether your issue is labor costs, labor availability, DC throughput or like many all three.

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    In our previous episode, we discussed Distributed Order Management or DOM software solutions. In great summary, traditional order management systems are order processing oriented, while DOM is more focused on order fulfillment.

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    A DOM system serves as a powerful hub that enables omnichannel commerce; integrates the extended supply chain; optimizes inbound and outbound order routing; provides real-time network inventory visibility, allocation, and management; automates complex channel and customer requirements; and maximizes profitability while meeting customer service commitments.

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    What is zoning? In general, it involves grouping some set of individual storage locations of all types into defined zones that can be used by the WMS to improve operational effectiveness and precision. A WMS should have the ability to define any number of zones and create the logic for how the putaway logic is executed in preferred zone sequence.

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