Article

6 warehouse management trends to watch

Warehouse Management Systems and Inventory Control
6 warehouse management trends to watch

As the complexity of filling smaller orders faster continues to mount, our analysts expect more operations to embrace the value that WMS brings to the table. Here’s what they believe is on tap this year in the world of WMS and the systems that support it.


TO HEAR the typical logistics manager tell it, there are few areas of their warehouses and DCs that aren’t in need of an upgrade right now. Challenged by the demands of e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment, smaller orders, ever-shrinking delivery time frames and a persistent labour shortage, operations are in perpetual need of tools that can help them tackle these and other ongoing productivity issues.

Technology is providing at least some relief. With automation, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies making their way into the world’s distribution facilities, the warehouse management system (WMS) is one stalwart that’s long served as a cornerstone for most distribution operations.

Acting as traffic cops of sorts, these software systems provide inventory visibility, manage supply chain operations and integrate with transportation management systems (TMS) and other solutions to help streamline the movement of goods from manufacturer to warehouse to retailer – or eventually the end customer. The WMS does this by overseeing receiving, put away, order picking, shipping and inventory counts, among other activities. And because it collects valuable information along the way, WMS also provides actionable data analytics that companies can use for good decision making.

But, even for all of the benefits that WMS is known to provide, the software’s adoption rate is hanging at about 70 percent, according to a 2018 WERC survey. Joe Vernon, Senior Manager of Supply Chain Technology for consulting firm Capgemini, says that he was stunned that one-third of shippers aren’t using WMS in their operations, “You would think that, by now, WMS would be omnipresent.” According to the WERC report, adoption rates tend to be highest among high volume shippers that are being pressured to ‘quick ship’ in the Amazon-led online retail world. “These companies have to respond, and they have to be able to do things quickly and accurately,” says Vernon, “because that’s what the end consumer expects.”

As we progress further into 2019, our group of leading supply chain software analysts see six key trends dominating the warehouse management landscape. Here’s what logistics operations can expect this year:

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Written by: Bridget McCrea, courtesy Logistics Management
Date: 01 May 2020

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