Supply chain leaders are under increasing pressure to improve productivity and efficiency in the warehouse. Demands from labor resources for better pay, better treatment, and more opportunity have never been higher. In the goal of achieving warehouse cost savings, WMS automation must be a top priority for your organization. However, supply chain leaders need to understand the challenges in WMS automation, why WMS automation is the new standard for effective warehouse management, and a few tips for making automation in the warehouse successful.
Significant obstacles to warehouse automation exist. The idea of WMS automation can strike fear into the hearts of your workers, fearing the “Robot Worker Take Over ” is upon them. In addition, WMS automation will require investment in untapped resources and systems. Fortunately, the service-oriented architecture of a modern WMS allows for easy integration and deployment. Unfortunately, some companies still attempt to get everything in one package, even when a system does not necessarily fulfill the business requirements that have been created. Many of these business requirements may be extra perks or optional activities, and a modern system may have similar capabilities that can fulfill the business need. Of course, other challenges will always exist, including increasing engagement of employees with the system, ensuring employees use the system correctly, deploying the system across multiple locations, and more.
One of the significant reasons WMS automation is on the horizon is due to the rapid growth of cloud-based solutions in warehousing. Over the past decade, the use of cloud computing has changed the way warehouses operate, reports Forbes. However, traditional, on-premise solutions are not dead. Information is still retained on servers, and it is impractical to assume all businesses will switch to cloud-based solutions overnight. As a result, more companies are turning to ways to leverage cloud-based technology and still use existing solutions. This is one of the reasons why people are turning to a cloud-based solution; the compatibility and ability to integrate systems via cloud-based technologies, such as microservices, further push companies to tap into the value of automated technologies and capabilities. Some of these capabilities include robotics, smart conveyor systems, pick to light and put to light systems, and more. Also, the use of the cloud will open the doors to new software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors and platforms.
Since the use of cloud-based systems is almost a prerequisite to WMS automation, notes Jim Laverty of Supply Chain 24/7, it comes as no surprise that the best tips for preparing for WMS automation mirror those for cloud warehouse management system deployment. These include:
WMS automation is an excellent opportunity for supply chain leaders to overcome the barriers to cloud-computing and the need to leverage existing and new systems together. Of course, situations will always exist where staying on-premise may be a wise choice, but the overall trend is clear. Companies across the globe are moving toward cloud-based technology, so those that begin the process of using this technology and leveraging it for WMS automation will get ahead of the learning curve.
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