Features

A New WMS for New Times

WMS

Archival Garcia, Global VP Sales & Marketing at Microlistics, speaks with MHD about the company’s new comprehensive WMS update – what inspired it, and what it addresses. 

Microlistics is set to release a major update to its Gartner-rated, Tier 1 Microlistics WMS solution suite. 

“This release marks a milestone in the evolution of the Microlistics WMS offering, providing access to premium capability and functionality, on a flexible and accessible software as a service model,” says Archival Garcia, Global VP Sales & Marketing at Microlistics.

Archival says that the update has been in the works for roughly two years and encompasses core enhancements that have been identified in Microlistics R&D Roadmap, as well as enhancements built for individual customers. “These have been rolled into a consolidated version that every Microlistics customer can now benefit from,” he says.

A NEW UPDATE FOR NEW TRENDS

“Microlistics has always been at the forefront of driving speed, accuracy and efficiency in the warehouse – that’s always been a key deliverable for us and what people principally look for in their WMS,” Archival says. “We have invested heavily in product development and enhancements in recent years, enabling our customers to operate more efficiently in an omnichannel environment, improve supply chain visibility and simplify operational insights, and to deploy automation and software integrations more easily. Now, with COVID-19 and the shift to online shopping – it’s more important than ever that businesses of all sorts know exactly where their goods and inventory are, and what is available to them at what price to their customers.”

Microlistics’ updated WMS seeks to address visibility at all levels, Archival says, but among the most important are: 

• Significant user interface improvements,

• Improvements to the Microlistics Expansion Modules to maximise efficiency, particularly across their Warehouse Insights, Web Portal, 3PL Billing, and omnichannel order management, and 

• Enhanced connectivity for seamless data exchange between the WMS and third-party applications, webfronts and marketplaces, and materials handling equipment and robotics. 

MICROLISTICS CLOUD

While Microlistics has for many years worked with clients to develop bespoke cloud-based deployments, Archival says previously, this has often required a high level of internal IT capability.

“Where Microlistics Cloud comes in is it doesn’t require this of customers because it’s a fully managed service, he says. “We provide all aspects of deployment – the maintenance and the optimisation – so there’s no need for the customer to have their own internal IT capacity to support any of that.”

Among the end-to-end industry-grade managed services provided through Microlistics Cloud are cloud hosting, incident management, continuous deployment, monitoring and alerts, backup and restore, security, and administration.

Microlistics Cloud is a fully managed service for the customer.

NEW AND IMPROVED WEB PORTAL

Archival says that the Microlistics Web Portal has been re-designed and rebuilt from the ground up to accommodate the needs of warehouse operators, providing a seamless online view of logistics operations to customers, suppliers, retail outlets and distribution teams.

“As part of our drive to visibility, our new portal makes it easy for third parties –retail stores or the customers of a 3PL, for instance – to track what’s going on in terms of inventory management and movement,” he says. “For example, many of our customers are 3PLs, and they want to provide their own customers with real time visibility of the inventory they’re holding for them. With the new portal, those customers don’t need a licence to access the WMS – they can simply log on over the internet with a secure username and password and interact with the 3PL in a very intuitive way. This might be inquiring after information or placing orders. But what it’s really about is extending the visibility of what’s available in the warehouse to a broad array of users at a lower cost, with very little training required.”

EXPANDING INSIGHTS

Every future implementation of Microlistics WMS will automatically come equipped with a standard suite of Microlistics Warehouse Insights dashboards, says Archival, to unlock valuable WMS information to all users.

“What we’ve seen with this trend towards visibility is a growing awareness of – and demand for – unlocking WMS information to inform decision making,” Archival says. “So, we decided that we would make the essentials available to everyone going forward. I think the key part of the benefit for most customers is actually having the centre set of dashboards that really provide an overview of what’s going on in the warehouse and what’s going on in terms of team performance.”

There are additional tiers for those clients who desire a greater degree of granularity and predictive capability, Archival adds. But every Microlistics WMS user will have access to detailed insights on labour productivity, inbound and outbound trends and performance, warehouse space, inventory levels, stock-movements, and an easy-to-use management console.

IMPROVED INTEGRATION TOOLS FOR EASIER DEPLOYMENT

Essential for the omni-channel world is real time communication between two or more platforms, Archival says. 

“Customers need to track and manage actual physical movements that’s happening in the real world in real time,” he says. “And because of this we’ve developed new seamless touchpoints to work with third party applications, that means the deployment effort for our customers is minimised. If a customer comes to us and they need help with some hardware automation for example, we’re able to support them to deploy that hardware faster and at a lower cost, because we have already built streams that are ready to work with a hardware vendor. We’ve done the hard work for them up front.”

EASIER AND MORE ACCESSIBLE 

Part of Microlistics’ goal with the new update has been to make the WMS easier to use for all workers at all parts of a warehouse, Archival says. 

To this end, Microlistics has re-developed their Android RF Graphical User Interface for touchscreen devices. 

“It’s completely new, and something we’ve been working on for several years in response to customer demand,” he says. “For people working in warehouses, everyone is using a mobile phone and a touchscreen, so this interface is intuitive and easy to learn. It presents contextual information to help you navigate the warehouse, improves information legibility, and reduces training time. Most of the transactions that occur in a WMS involve people actually undertaking actions on the warehouse floor. So – where the rubber hits the road is people out there using devices and interacting with goods – and this will really change the experience for them.” 

Together with new eLearning materials for the WMS, Archival says that Microlistics’ new WMS update is a comprehensive solution that benefits everyone who interacts with a warehouse – from ground floor operators to upper management to third parties. 

For more information on Microlistics, click here.

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