Here are five functionalities and capabilities you need in your new software stack to keep up with the ever-demanding, ever-changing distribution and supply chain landscape.
Real-time data support
When keeping up with inventory, KPI’s, and labor in the modern warehouse, real-time can be a gateway to making the best business decisions. Putaway, picking, tracking, usage, and other needs all seem to grow exponentially. You can manage this with the right software, but only if that software knows the state of things as they are at any given moment. Real-time data and insight are a must-have because you need to understand total inventory as well as where each piece of inventory is located. If you can’t understand where things are you can’t use them, and it becomes more work, more labor, and more cost.
Deep Analytics and Continuous Improvement
Analytics dives deeper than providing the location of goods or the current state of operations. Having a clear understanding of all your data is necessary to continuously stay in touch with changing trends. Management can leverage analytic tools to help reduce travel through appropriate slotting of materials, understand order patterns, and identify warehouse characteristics that support your business. This data can be leveraged at the enterprise level to understand your business and customer needs.
Smart Routing (Carton, Case, Pallet, Each)
Automation is continuously becoming more complex and we are finding ways to remove touches every day. Software systems must be compatible with sorters, robotics, conveyors, often requiring interactions with multiple types of technology. Selecting a software upfront that can control the workflow and these interactions is crucial, otherwise, you run the risk of a disparage software stack with a high amount of integration and support. This leads to outdated and unsupported legacy systems.
Advanced Order Fulfillment Support
Running a modern-day warehouse and keeping up with its changes and goals is a heavy task. Adopting labor practices tied to broader goals can help your team improve, but you need the software to support it. For instance, wave-less picking can automatically prioritize orders and clients or even leave space so customers who pay for faster shipping that day are always on your last outbound truck. Allowing for your workflow to match your labor and capacity based on real-time priorities is the versatility needed for modern-day fulfillment.
True Cloud Base Functionality
In order to be a true cloud-based system, it must be software born in and written for cloud systems. Having cloud base software that supports multi-client, multi-customer, and multi-site will save time and money as your needs contract or exponentially grow. This is essential with the seasonality of most industries – not to mention a true cloud base system reduces the cost of licensing for 3rd party software needed to support on-prem solutions. This also greatly reduces the cost of ownership over time as maintenance becomes part of your licensing. It will greatly reduce the cost of updates and labor needed for your software maintenance.
Ross Irving, SRSI Business Solution Specialist