Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) report has revealed the top supply chain technology providers in the market, including Manhattan, BlueYonder, Körber, Infor and Microlistics.
The impacts of digital transformation and connected commerce are resounding across industries. The roles of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, employees, technology and robotics are all rapidly transforming in today’s evolving e-commerce landscape. Changing consumer behaviours and new digital initiatives have also changed the game for distribution centres (DC) and supply chains, which are now expected to skilfully handle large B2B wholesale orders, retail store replenishment orders, as well as urgent, small e-commerce orders.
Some of the biggest shifts in expectations of the DC and supply chain are inline with the flexibility that consumers now expect from e-commerce. Manhattan Associates recently conducted research that revealed 56 per cent of Australian consumers would stop shopping with a retailer that doesn’t offer flexible returns options, and 71 per cent check to see if a retailer offers flexible delivery methods such as home/office delivery, parcel pickup lockers, click-and-collect and express delivery, before shopping online with them.
Today’s supply chain and warehouse need to keep up with a much more demanding omnichannel landscape, which will likely continue to grow more demanding as technology advances and competition rises.
Keeping up with the changing industry
Under pressure from rising consumer expectations, forward-thinking companies around the world are challenging themselves to serve more customers, more quickly, more directly and more personally. And these companies realise that omnichannel distribution projects aren’t just an issue for the consumer-facing retailer end of the business – it is also very much down to supply chains and warehouses to keep up.
In an effort to keep up with the omni-channel, distribution leaders are making unified channel fulfilment a key goal, because it delivers a holistic approach that is capable of factoring in the complexities and uniqueness associated with each individual channel.
Supply chain leaders are now taking note of the benefits other businesses have gained with this approach and are taking action. They have realised it’s no longer acceptable to operate channels with segregated warehouse space, duplicative inventories, excess labour, and redundant automation.
All of these assets are expensive and in order to improve throughput, profitability and customer satisfaction, maximum utilisation is critical. There needs to be continuous optimisation and orchestration of order fulfilment activities across all assets and all channels. That’s why advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) must now also feature an embedded Warehouse Execution System (WES) and Order Streaming capabilities.
Warehouse Execution System
The trend today is that more and more organisations are going down the multi-channel fulfilment route. Tasked with handling more SKU, greater numbers of smaller, more frequent orders, across more channels – all with shorter processing times – distribution centres are under constant pressure.
Rising demand for human labour and resulting labour shortages are driving many warehouses to investigate advanced automation and robotics. The appeal is obvious: automation is not impacted by regional workforce capacity, robots do not get fatigued, injured or sick, and they can work around the clock. Robots are also safer in some cases, helping to manage large, heavy, or hazardous loads to protect both worker health and the company’s liability.
DC robotics are getting more efficient, more sophisticated and faster than ever before, with innovations coming from vendors around the world. The challenge is that different types of automation do not naturally communicate and are often not aware of each other, much less the supporting workforce. In order to get maximum throughput within the DC, the various types of automation need to work together.
“More than ever, warehouse management must be approached with a holistic perspective that considers any combination of human and automation together.”
Previously, there was no standardising of systems and no limitation to the amount of automation – when supply chain leaders introduced automation, they were forced to work with various systems: a warehouse management system (WMS), or warehouse control system (WCS), as well as a warehouse execution system (WES). The systems worked independently of each other and remained largely siloed, meaning fulfilment organisations actually had to work harder to ensure inventories were not duplicated, and resources were maximised.
These legacy WMS were never designed to continuously manage the capacity and throughput across advanced automation, robotics and humans. Now, with fulfilment across multiple channels, supply chains need a lot more flexibility.
“The challenge for the supply chain is that it has multiple flows coming from all the different channels,” said Raghav Sibal, managing director at Manhattan Associates, ANZ. “This has created a need to optimise the flow of products through different channels, as throughput needs to be measured and optimised through each area of the warehouse to be able to maximise the overall efficiency of the operation, with the WMS integrating all systems used in all areas.”
Today, the WES module needs to be built inside the WMS, rather than being patched on later from the outside. Eliminating siloed integration challenges, a WES embedded into the WMS provides a comprehensive, coordinated approach that gives complete command and control of the warehouse.
“The challenge for the supply chain is that it has multiple flows coming from all the different channels.”
Many operations have both human and automation in the warehouse, and whilst automation can be optimised at maximum capacity, a bottleneck is often created in other areas. WES inside the WMS will optimise throughput through each zone or area in the warehouse, both automation and human, in order to maximise the efficiency in each area. The system is able to take into account how long an order has been sitting, as well as orders going through goods-to-purchase, to prevent a bottleneck occurring upstream or downstream, and ensuring operations are optimised.
A fully integrated WMS should work seamlessly with any type of automation, allowing robotics providers to simply plug in to the new system and be up and running quickly.
In a further effort to take charge of omnichannel management and success, many supply chain leaders are looking to Order Streaming, a sophisticated approach to order fulfilment. Order Streaming helps the DC operate with increased speed and flexibility by breaking down the boundaries between wave (bulk orders) and waveless (smaller e-commerce orders continuously streamed) fulfilment. It allows warehouses to use multiple processes to efficiently fulfil orders of any size or type rapidly from a DC of any size or type — both smaller, local, quick-response facilities, as well as larger, regional, high-volume, automated e-commerce sites.
Australia Post’s 2018 E-commerce Industry Paper revealed that in 2017 online spending saw a growth of 18.7 per cent, while traditional retail saw a growth of only 2.5 per cent. Additionally, Australia Post predicts that by 2020, one in ten items will be bought online. With this growth, Order Streaming will become more important in the supply chain to keep up with the increased volume and smaller pick orders from e-commerce.
Order Streaming is a waveless approach and allows smaller orders to be incorporated into the flow without disrupting the efficiency and productivity of the warehouse. Rather than batching orders and dropping them into the DC operation in waves, which will slow down production as smaller or single-product orders have to sit and wait until they can fit into a batch, Order Streaming continuously evaluates the order pool and automatically releases work based on variables such as order priorities and facility processing capacities.
While many types of orders and operations are best served by batch-wave processing, development of a waveless approach has been necessary to respond to growing omnichannel fulfilment promises. Waveless manages every order as a discrete allocation of work, enabling fast, responsive fulfilment for smaller, more urgent orders. It is ideal for direct-to-consumer order fulfilment.
“Order Streaming gives distribution centres the ability to process urgent e-commerce orders throughout the day without disruptions, which is only going to be more important as e-commerce continues to grow and delivery timeframes shrink,” Mr Raghav said.
Another key benefit of Order Streaming is that the system allows retailers to accept online orders later in the day, while still allowing them to turn around and ship orders quickly (often in the same day).
Whether a warehouse relies on a combination of manual and partially automated processes, or a fully automated, robotic system, Order Streaming supports the requirements of adaptive, changeable fulfilment and delivery. Today’s trends toward sophisticated autonomous robotics open an exciting set of opportunities for Order Streaming and its impact on business strategies.
Allowing for future growth
More than ever, warehouse management must be approached with a holistic perspective that considers any combination of human and automation together. Coordination and collaboration across discrete pieces of advanced automation – as well as the human workforce – only gets more powerful when those systems are integrated with each other. The combination of an embedded WES and Order Streaming capabilities makes today’s advanced WMS one that enables total visibility across the DC, complete flexibility for automation growth, as well as continuous analysis and maximum utilisation of all resources.
As e-commerce trends continue to emerge and impact supply chains, supply chain leaders must find ways to modernise their DC operations in order to remain competitive in the face of new pure-play e-commerce start-ups, international brands, and other omnichannel enterprises. Advancements in technology, equipment, and operational best practices will certainly provide opportunities and inspiration.
Achieving omni-channel success
Manhattan Associates’ customer Country Road Group completed a successful roll out of Manhattan’s WMS. The technology deployment was a key component of a business transformation project designed to deliver a unified brand experience for customers across channels and to drive ongoing business growth.
Country Road Group’s business and sales channels have evolved in complexity and scope as the company expanded its operating footprint. With over 700 stores and a growing online operation, the retailer had outgrown its outsourced logistics services model and recognised the critical need to take greater command of its supply chain. The company made the strategic decision to invest in a new DC and chose Manhattan’s system to orchestrate goods flows through the new DC.
Head of supply chain Australasia, Country Road Group/David Jones Peter Fouskarinis commented: “The Manhattan solution has enabled us to optimise our store replenishment and online order fulfilment processes, resulting in improved product availability and customer satisfaction.”
The Manhattan system’s advanced fulfilment logic for wave management, constraint-based selection and real-time replenishment has been critical in helping Country Road Group realise its omni-channel commerce goals. The system eliminates costly physical counts with auditor-approved cycle counting, and stores can now provide same day fulfilment as a result of a new cross-docking approach.
For more information contact Manhattan Associates on +61 2 9454 5438, email email@example.com or visit www.manh.com.au.
Warehouse management systems (WMS) provider Microlistics is launching its wares into the UK & European markets to expand its global footprint.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Microlistics is a Gartner-recognised WMS provider operating across Australia, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East. The company has four product lines: WMS Enterprise, its fully integrated flagship; WMS Chilled, its cold storage product; WMS 3PL, its multi-site and multi-client 3PL software; and WMS Express, its pre-configured, rapid implementation package.
Customers include Linfox Asia, Brand Collective, ESAB, Thomas Foods International, Berli Jucker Logistics, Havaianas, TT Logistics and TNT Express Logistics. Logistics warehousing services are provided to many of the world’s leading brands though the Microlistics 3PL client base, to companies such as Unilever, Nestle, Birkenstock Footwear, Procter & Gamble, Officeworks, DKSH and many more utilising the Microlistics 3PL WMS.
Microlistics, which joined the WiseTech Global group in January 2018, will leverage the group’s local networks, long-term locally based LSP WMS experience and expertise, and work and provide local support from regional offices in Ede, the Netherlands, and Milton Keynes, UK.
Founder and managing director of Microlistics Mark Dawson said: “This is a great opportunity to leverage WiseTech’s global reach and expand into a key trading region. We have enhanced our WMS products for the European market and its regulations and look forward to bringing new benefits to customers across this region.”
Global advisory company Gartner this year included Microlistics in the global identification of leading ‘Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)’ for the fifth consecutive year. Microlistics was included as a notable mention in the Magic Quadrant from 2014 to 2016, before being upgraded to full inclusion in 2017 and 2018.
Cloud-based transport and warehouse management business CartonCloud has been recognised at the 2018 Queensland Telstra Business Awards, winning in the Small and Succeeding Category.
Helicopter technology provider HeliMods was the 2018 Telstra Queensland Business of the Year.
CartonCloud was originally developed to save a refrigerated transport and warehousing company from bankruptcy. After acquiring the company, Vincent Fletcher and Nic Comrie identified the key issues it faced were due to major revenue leakage from poor administration and operation costs.
As a trained software engineer, Vincent began developing a transport and warehouse management system. CartonCloud was designed specifically with automation in mind, leveraging the advantages of cloud computing for ease of access, and mobile phones for inexpensive electronic proof-of-deliveries capture.
CartonCloud is now in use by over 90 carriers and warehouses across Australia and New Zealand. CartonCloud processes over 200,000 jobs, and invoices over $10 million dollars of freight each month.
Telstra Group general counsel & group executive corporate affairs Carmel Mulhern said the winners of the 2018 Telstra Queensland Business Awards demonstrate excellence across six key judging criteria, underpinned by a commitment to innovation and technology.
“The winners of the 2018 Telstra Queensland Business Awards are shining examples of businesses doing great things in new and effective ways for their customers.
“They are genuine innovators, always on the lookout for ways to leverage technology to connect with customers, unlock new markets and take their business to the next level.
System availability makes or breaks the productivity of an automated warehouse. Downtime caused by unscheduled system shutdowns not only lowers efficiency, it can result in delivery delays and an explosive rise in costs, which, in turn, effect customer satisfaction.
Automation and robotics, connectivity and increased use of data are all driving changes in intralogistics and are paving the way for Industry 4.0. Software is at the heart of that evolution. To stay ahead of the competition, it is critical to find a WMS that offers the full-spectrum of systems and controls, yet is modular and has the ability to integrate with your current IT infrastructure and logistics software landscape. Software with basic warehouse management functionality, warehouse execution, warehouse controls, manufacturing execution systems, material flow, and automation control systems provides a full-spectrum of software ability within the fours walls of the warehouse. Furthermore, a proven interface that has the ability to connect to any ERP and/or multi-site WMS system will allow for a seamless integration of automated warehouse processes.
A new approach to warehouse management software was needed that delivers all of the functionality, intelligence and services required to optimise warehouse operations in an integrated, modular platform. The software’s ability to adapt to future technology would see users benefit from a future-proof operation, where additional functionality can be securely added, helping businesses capitalise on the opportunities emerging as Industry 4.0 evolves.
Stay ahead of the competition with a smart WMS system
Many supply chain professionals feel the elements of Industry 4.0 including WMS systems seem theoretical, but in fact software that combines synchronisation and business intelligence across warehouse management, material flow and automation control system functionality, is available today in a single platform.
A modular software platform provides the flexibility to deploy components that are relevant to individual business requirements and KPI, whilst intelligently synchronising automation equipment, robotics, people and processes for peak performance. An Industry 4.0 future-ready software platform enables a business to commence the journey to operate at ideal performance with the agility and insight to make informed and proactive decisions.
Collaboration at the heart of your technology
A crucial supporting platform to any WMS platform is a collaboration component that provides continuity no matter the level of automation your business has installed. When considering software, professionals must seek one that has proven functionality and outstanding quality assurance.
A collaboration platform is the heart of SynQ software that makes seamless integration possible. This platform includes real-time 3-D visualisation to manage and control automation through the Single Point of Control (SPOC) interface. SPOC provides a unique, easy-to-use, user interface for visualising and controlling all warehouse operations and machines. SPOC gives employees in the control centre an intuitive and accurate overview of all warehouse operations, indicate where the failure of individual components would impact the entire flow of goods, and are able to trigger proactive measures when needed. For example, if a bin in the high-bay warehouse shifts or a palletising robot runs too hot, the system issues an alert before an incident arises. Such software must also offer flexible IT, whereby software can be installed on existing infrastructure or anywhere in the cloud.
Software that adopts the advantages of virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) tools are available and provide important staff support. VR is used to provide a realistic visualisation of your future warehouse, that enables you to train your staff and technicians in their future environment before the warehouse is built or before they commence employment. Augmented reality devices like the HoloLens will allow users to pick without additional hardware whilst at the same time call on remote assistance from higher-skilled technicians or management.
Analytics and business intelligence
A real-time holistic view of a warehouse is a valuable tool for managers. With future-ready software, operational reports can be managed and scheduled to maintain a thorough understanding of warehouse performance for continuous improvement of operations across automation, inventory and operators. Smart software compares the measurements and error events generated by data-collection sensors and stores the data in the cloud against predefined target values, allowing deviations to be diagnosed quickly and with pinpoint accuracy. As a result, you can determine 24/7 whether your system operates flawlessly or whether there is imminent damage due to wear or excessive usage of automation, inaccuracies in inventory and processes that people are completing.
“Business intelligent tools encompass the future of warehouses as they provide the visibility and data required for optimal warehouse operations.”
Software that combines analytics and embedded business intelligence, can improve operations and synchronise the performance of your automated or manual warehouse equipment. Business intelligent tools encompass the future of warehouses as they provide the visibility and data required for optimal warehouse operations.
Such tools include mobile notifications of system operations and the trigger of automated corrective actions to improve material flows. The SynQ cockpit provides a clear and concise overview of warehouse operations with plugins for inventory statistics, labour performance and condition monitoring to provide quick visibility into your operations through smart data aggregations and appropriate visualisation.
Do you have your warehouse under control?
Condition Monitoring is based on the idea of detecting and correcting system component changes caused by wear, excessive use and other potential causes as early as possible – ideally immediately after they arise. This gives users the ability to predict and prevent problems before they occur by viewing the current state of your intralogistics system at any time and ensuring that your equipment works at maximum efficiency for the longest lifespan. The warehouse remote monitoring services predict possible problems, reducing the risk of unscheduled downtime and maximising delivery reliability. This provides the advantage of real time analysis of error and throughput trends to provide faster fault identification and highest availability.
An integral functionality feature is the ability to continually record equipment condition by incorporating the measurement and analysis of physical values, such as distances covered, temperatures, energy consumption of individual elements and disciplines from state-of-the-art sensors into system reports. The collected information can then be used to identify vital elements that are prone to malfunctions and draw conclusions regarding the potential error rates of individual disciplines and entire logistics systems. Condition Monitoring allows control centre employees to view the current system condition at any time, document the development of trends and evaluate failure risks. The goal is to turn the data and data analyses into decisions designed to improve the planning of operations and maintenance processes to prevent system failures caused by malfunctions and maintenance factors, especially those that occur during peak periods and are therefore particularly disruptive.
Businesses can set a pre-defined data series (KPI) and pre-configured pages and charts to simplify the management of KPI. This uses the data collected by the hardware components using state-of-the-art sensors. Whether it is the energy consumption of a conveyor system, the deceleration path of a stacker crane, the number of movements of a shuttle or the temperature generated by the movements of a roller conveyor, continuous and seamless evaluations of the condition of all components and disciplines in a warehouse are achievable.
“Future-proof operations with software that provides convergence of connectivity, big data and advanced robotics to create cyber-physical production systems.”
Through continuous monitoring and real-time data, warehouses can continuously operate at maximum efficiency to ultimately reduce operational costs. Furthermore, early-warning system for malfunctions reduce downtime of critical equipment and allow a business to create calculated risks. Predictive maintenance is the next step towards Industry 4.0.
Condition Monitoring replaces the preventive or reactive maintenance and service strategy of the past. Instead of conducting routine checks at regular intervals and performing scheduled replacement of intact parts with a specific remaining service life, maintenance and spare parts provisioning occur precisely when the data indicates they are necessary. This innovative approach to proactive maintenance and service offers enormous cost-savings potential because the service life of critical elements can be fully utilised.
The core tasks of the condition monitoring include recording, analysing and visualising information to provide ongoing warehouse monitoring, including all tasks, processes and warehouse components. State-of-the-art sensors, data collection methods, and optimisation algorithms based on big data analytics are the cornerstones of Industry 4.0 that supports systems throughout their entire lifecycle.
Business intelligence tools, such as Swisslog’s cockpit manager, availability manager, event manager and, at the core, 3D real-time system visualisation interface (SPOC), record the data generated by the system. Information about the condition of the system can not only be displayed as classic charts, but also directly on the system visualisation screen as, for example, heat maps which highlight all critical elements. A number of other apps can be added to the chain of software modules. For example, the Report Manager can be used to generate a PDF report when a specific problem is detected. This report, in turn, is then e-mailed to the warehouse managers by the Event Manager. The result is effective reporting about all the errors that occur and the corrective measures that are initiated in response.
The power of software
In today’s competitive world, more than ever before companies must be able to deliver with increasing frequency the right orders to the right customers at the right time. Intelligent software has the ability to manage peak demands and provide holistic automation to ensure optimisation is achieved at the appropriate level to enable material handling equipment and people to perform at their maximum level. Furthermore, a powerful software can transform insight into intelligence. This is achieved through tools that give businesses quick and accurate visibility of operations through standardised data aggregations and appropriate visualisation, all without the need for IT experts or custom programming. This transformation of data becomes actionable intelligence to help with analysis and optimisation of warehouse performance.
The future of the warehouse
Future-proof operations with software that provides convergence of connectivity, big data and advanced robotics to create cyber-physical production systems that will be the hallmark of Industry 4.0. With its modular architecture and intelligent, automation-centric design, SynQ helps users adapt to these changes and capitalise on the opportunities that are emerging as Industry 4.0 evolves.
Building on condition monitoring and predictive maintenance service will be the next building block of Industry 4.0. Predictive maintenance will be made possible by networking all automation sensors, integrating external data into the complete system and detecting correlations and behaviour patterns. Sending information not only about where a problem will occur but also about when and how it can be fixed proactively.
Sean Ryan is the head of sales and consulting at Swisslog Australia. For more information call +61 447 771 933, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.swisslog.com/wds. Swisslog is a member of the KUKA Group, www.kuka.com.
Today’s warehousing professionals face big changes in the way warehouses, distribution centres and the entire supply chain operates – from the increase in customer service requirements to more facilities and larger spaces – but one of the most pressing challenges the sector is facing is Android adoption, with Windows Mobile and Windows CE nearing end of support.
Ruggedised handheld computers have been the ‘de facto’ hardware platform for data collection and processing across a variety of workflows in virtually every industry. Organisations rely on these devices to conduct business-critical applications and operations in real time. However, the dominant OS supporting this ecosystem of devices is quickly approaching its end of life, leaving current customers with no clear migration path. To put it another way, no matter which OS platform an enterprise looks to deploy next, each application will require recoding and rework, as it will not be compatible with modern mobile platforms. Moreover, these legacy devices fall well short of today’s mobile standards across all performance, functionality and usability criteria, hampering business operations.
Mobilising and integrating manual business processes and workflows using modern mobile development platforms and tools is not only complex but can also be costly, as many legacy applications used in warehouse deployments are now being abandoned, and new mobile applications require a high degree of specialised skills and additional software.
One of the most complex elements of modernising and migrating aging/legacy mobile applications typically surrounds the manual nature of the integration work, which frequently involves time-intensive and costly manual coding. Many large enterprises have traditionally supported this through internal teams, and they are now sitting on often millions of lines of custom code with no clear documentation, that ultimately needs recoding, to leverage next-generation platforms.
Is the cloud the answer?
Alternatively, companies are having to engage larger ERP or WMS providers to migrate their legacy applications to more modern web-based applications. This is proving to be an extremely costly and disruptive process, and often these high costs come with a low return on investment as it requires new servers, infrastructure, application modifications, full project teams of numerous people, and lengthy implementation timescales – in some cases, years.
Furthermore, while the end-of-life OS systems are pushing forward the migration to Android, organisations need to recognise a critical component of today’s digital transformation strategies is migrating legacy mobile applications to take advantage of more sophisticated and functional modern mobile solutions and their intuitive interfaces.
“Mobile applications also reduce training time and will be instrumental in helping with knowledge transfer.”
While it may sound like an IT Armageddon, the industry has been aware of the OS end-of-life timeframe so players like Ivanti have developed the tools to easily help organisations migrate to Android.
Speed up the transformation
With Ivanti’s Velocity, rapid modernisation to Android couldn’t be easier. Users simply plug in an existing device running a legacy system and Velocity automatically updates the Windows “green screen” to a touchscreen application using an automated online tool. It’s a quick and clean transition taking a matter of minutes, while preserving the investment in legacy applications. Importantly, both onboarding and training time is reduced.
The experts agree
Skywire, which specialises in delivering and supporting enterprise mobility programs across a wide variety of industries including warehousing and distribution, has adopted Ivanti’s Velocity system and sees it as a key component in its product portfolio.
“With the latest release of Velocity, the migration in the DC/warehouse from legacy windows to Android technology can be implemented with the lowest risk and with the maximum return on investment, without the redevelopment of your applications,” said Skywire CEO James Shepherd.
Modern mobile programs can deliver productivity and greater efficiency to critical processes such as inbound/outbound handling, storage and inventory control, pick and fill. These programs not only offer the opportunity to leverage your present IT infrastructure, but also the ability to gain access to your legacy systems such as “green screen” telnet clients on a modern mobile platform.
Zebra Technologies is another of Ivanti’s key partners and according to Zebra sales engineering manager ANZ Daniel Park, the new Rapid Modernisation tool from Ivanti will enable warehousing customers to quickly migrate operating systems.
“Old telnet and web applications will be converted into a familiar touch-enabled user interface, further unleashing the prowess and innovative designs of Zebra’s range of Android mobile computers with Android. This will be a game changer for our distribution centre and warehousing customers who are looking to modernise their mobile computing fleets.”
As millennial workers become the dominant age group in warehouse environments, they will expect modern mobile applications and companies with the latest systems will attract a higher calibre of talent. Mobile applications also reduce training time and will be instrumental in helping with knowledge transfer, a key advantage in a sector with high turnover and an above average number of seasonal workers.
Cohesio Group, another of Ivanti’s partners, helps companies build a roadmap for their technology upgrades. CEO Nishan Wijemanne said companies should view the transition to Android as an opportunity.
“We encourage companies to take a strategic approach to upgrading technology and consider how they can fully optimise their processes and workflows beyond the move to Android,” says Wijemanne.
With today’s warehouses more complex than they were ten years ago and customer service requirements on the increase, optimising warehouse performance is critical. The right technologies offer opportunities for efficiency gains across the spectrum of daily warehousing workflows including inbound handling, storage and inventory control, pick and fill and outbound handling.
This is where voice technology can make a big difference. While voice has been in use for about 30 years and has been evolving more quickly in recent times, Android OS will accelerate the speed of adoption and late adopters may pay the price.
“What will be required for seamless integration with your warehouse management and control systems, or other software?”
Closely watching this evolution has been Ivanti, which has developed its Speakeasy voice technology that sits on top of the Ivanti Velocity application and can be implemented in 30 days. Voice lets workers interact with apps while keeping their hands free to pick product and their eyes focused on navigating safely the environment around them.
Ivanti’s APAC area director Simon Storey said: “Voice technology has been around for a number of years but with Android, voice adoption hasn’t been as aggressive as expected. Building on the foundation of migration and rapid modernisation, Ivanti Speakeasy offers the capability to add voice wherever voice makes sense. With Ivanti Speakeasy, there’s no longer a requirement to have dedicated voice hardware and software when implementing Android voice programs with Android.”
While historically voice has struggled beyond warehouse picking, with the advent of Bluetooth headsets, the value of voice is only going to be greater in the very near future.
Make the move
So what advice does Ivanti have for those companies looking to make the move to Android?
Consider the processes involved with integration with your existing systems. What will be required for seamless integration with your warehouse management and control systems, or other software? What are the ramifications of changes to any of these systems? And finally, make sure you can easily integrate systems now and in the future and are not limited by custom integration software.
For more information call 02 8287 3500, email email@example.com or visit www.ivanti.com.au/solutions/industry/logistics.
Microlistics MD Mark Dawson.
Global advisory company Gartner has included Microlistics in the global identification of leading warehouse technology products, ‘Magic Quadrant for Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)’ for the fifth consecutive year.
Microlistics, part of the WiseTech Global group, is a provider of warehouse management software encompassing enterprise, express, cold storage, and third party logistics. Inclusion in the Quadrant places Microlistics among 13 of the top global warehouse management systems.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Microlistics works with customers across Asia Pacific and, more recently, in North America and the Middle East. The company’s customers include Linfox, Mitre 10, ESAB, Thomas Foods International, Berli Jucker Logistics, Spotlight Retail Group, Brand Collective, Concept Logistics, Nick Scali, Russell Corporation, TT Logistics, TNT Express Logistics, and many other leading supply chain organisations.
Microlistics managing director Mark Dawson said: “Inclusion in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is recognition of the quality, breadth and depth of our WMS, as well as our growing international presence. Microlistics combines leading edge software development with proven, practical knowledge and experience to improve our customers’ warehouse and business operations, whether they are small businesses or large multi-site distribution centres. We do this by designing and implementing products that provide our customers with extensive functionality, rapid deployment, data analytics and reporting capabilities.
“On top of this, we are part of the WiseTech Global group, which we joined in 2017, making us part of a global logistics systems company with over 7,000 customers in 130 countries.
“WiseTech Global has powerful innovation capability that will help us accelerate development of our high productivity WMS and a global reach that we can leverage to bring new benefits to more customers.”
Microlistics was included as a notable mention in the Magic Quadrant from 2014 to 2016, before being upgraded to full inclusion in 2017 and 2018.
Sydney-based logistics software company, WiseTech Global, has acquired Warehouse Management System (WMS) provider, Microlistics, for $40 million, expanding its e-commerce capabilities.
“With the impact of e-commerce and advances in automation, warehouse management is an increasingly complex and specialised part of the international supply chain,” said WiseTech Global CEO, Richard White.
“The combined strength of WiseTech’s global innovation capabilities and our CargoWise One supply chain execution platform integrated with Microlistics’ powerful warehouse solutions for enterprise, express, third party logistics and cold storage will provide significant benefit to logistics providers.
“WiseTech is uniquely well-placed to deliver the technology convergence and deep integration necessary to facilitate omnichannel, multimodal movements across the supply chain ¬– of which warehousing is a critical component,” he said.
Microlistics Founder and Managing Director, Mark Dawson, said that joining the WiseTech Global Group is a key part of its evolution.
“With the global strength and powerful innovation capability of WiseTech, and our WMS expertise, together we will accelerate development of high productivity WMS to bring significant new benefits to the logistics industry,” said Dawson.
“Microlistics will remained focused on warehouse management solutions and we can leverage WiseTech’s global reach, resources and the CargoWise One platform, which for our customers will mean the opportunity for end-to-end execution, control and visibility of the supply chain,” he said.
Microlistics will reportedly continue to develop and deliver its warehouse management solutions with Dawson at the helm to its worldwide customers, and potentially to the 7,000 logistics providers across 125 countries that use WiseTech’s integrated supply chain execution solutions.
According to the Australian Financial Review, Microlistics made $6.8 million revenue in 2016-17, and WiseTech reported $153.8 million in revenue for the same period – spending $50.4 million on research and development.
Mark Hall of WiseTech Global on the left with Mark Dawson of Microlistics on the right.
WiseTech Global has acquired Microlistics, a provider of warehouse management systems encompassing enterprise, express, cold storage and-third party logistics.
Microlistics has customers across Asia-Pacific, North America and the Middle East, including Linfox, Mitre 10, ESAB, Thomas Foods International, Berli Jucker Logistics, Spotlight Retail Group, Brand Collective, Concept Logistics, Nick Scali, Russell Corporation, TT Logistics, TNT Express Logistics, and many other supply chain organisations.
WiseTech Global CEO Richard White said: “With the impact of ecommerce and advances in automation, warehouse management is an increasingly complex and specialised part of the international supply chain.
“WiseTech is uniquely well-placed to deliver the technology convergence and deep integration necessary to facilitate omni-channel, multi-modal movements across the supply chain, of which warehousing is a critical component. Ultimately, the native embedding of Microlistics WMS solutions into our integrated CargoWise One platform operating across 125 countries will substantially increase productivity for local and global logistics providers and their customers.”
Microlistics founder and managing director Mark Dawson said: “Joining the WiseTech Global group is a key part of our evolution. With the global strength and powerful innovation capability of WiseTech and our WMS expertise, together we will accelerate development of high productivity WMS to bring significant new benefits to the logistics industry. Microlistics will remained focused on warehouse management and we can leverage WiseTech’s global reach, resources and the CargoWise One platform, which for our customers will mean the opportunity for end-to-end execution, control and visibility of the supply chain.”
Remaining under the leadership of Mark Dawson, Microlistics will continue to develop and deliver its warehouse management solutions directly to its worldwide customers, and potentially to the 7,000 logistics providers across 125 countries who utilise WiseTech’s integrated supply chain execution services.
Anonymous sources have informed news site Bloomberg that Amazon is planning to launch its own US delivery service, ‘Seller Flex’, which has been designed to ease overcrowding in its warehouses and make more items eligible for two-hour delivery.
Research for the US pilot project reportedly began in India two years ago, with Amazon now in discussions with US sellers ahead of a national rollout in 2018.
The sources said that through the service, Amazon will manage parcel delivery from warehouses of third-party sellers to the customer’s delivery address, a role until now performed by delivery partners such as FedEx and UPS.
Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper noted that the relationship between Amazon and its delivery partners may well continue, though the e-commerce company would gain more control over how a package is sent.
He added that this would give Amazon more flexibility and control over the final mile to customers’ doors – opening up opportunities for volume discounts – and help it streamline its warehouse inventory operations, by having external sellers store their goods in their own facilities.
“Amazon’s final-mile efforts reflect a logical extension of its model as it builds network density,” Benjamin Hartford, a Robert W. Baird analyst, told Bloomberg.