Deal with demand – from MHD magazine

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.
MHD May-June 2019 Cover Story 2.-digital

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.

Order Streaming

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 or visit

Toll signs seven-figure software deal

The Toll Group (Toll) has signed a three-year, seven-figure software contract with Kontainers, the UK-based enterprise software company, to power its global digital client-facing platforms.
The new agreement will see Toll introduce Kontainers’ flagship product, Enterprise, to its global forwarding operations from Q4 2019.
The online portal will enable Toll to better service and support the needs of its customers – particularly small-to-medium enterprises – by facilitating online pricing and quotes, bookings, shipment management and real-time analytics.
“The addition of Kontainers Enterprise to our digital capabilities will allow our clients to instantly obtain quotes for and book shipments with Toll at the click of the mouse.  We are excited to be collaborating with Kontainers on this digital solution as part of our commitment to investing in best-in-class systems to simplify and enhance our customer experience,” said Toll Global Forwarding president Thomas Knudsen.
The product’s rapid deployment time and track record with other large shipping brands were highlighted as important elements of the partnership.
“Kontainers is delighted to earn the trust of a top 20 global freight forwarder and provide what has now become a critical software layer. We’re delighted to be working with Toll Group and look forward to being a part of their impressive digital acceleration plans in the years ahead that will help serve their customers even better than they are today,” said Kontainers CEO, Graham Parker.

Kuehne + Nagel to acquire the Quick Group

The Quick Group has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Kuehne + Nagel, a global logistics company operating in airfreight, seafreight, contract logistics, and overland businesses.
Quick will continue to offer tailor-made solutions to all the industries they serve and will operate as independent specialised product brands: Sterling Aviation, QuickSTAT, Quick Healthcare, and Quick Logistics. The Quick/Sterling team, including management, will continue to support their client base. Unitrans International Logistics will not be part of this transaction.
The partnership will offer Quick’s customers additional service and resource capabilities, with an expanded global footprint within Kuehne + Nagel’s operating network across more than 100 countries.
“We are very excited to become part of the Kuehne + Nagel Group and further expand the services we provide to our customers, with a clear focus on providing integrated logistics solutions with speed, control, communication, and IT efficiencies. We plan to continue leading the industry, providing the very best specialized solutions,” Dominique Bischoff-Brown, CEO, The Quick Group of Companies said.
The closing of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions.
Read more:

SEKO Logistics partners with ShipStation

SEKO Logistics is partnering with ShipStation to increase its eCommerce merchants’ ability to grow in new cross-border markets.
ShipStation helps eCommerce retailers import, organise, process and ship their orders quickly and easily from any web browser.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to partner with ShipStation and to be combining our respective strengths to open up new markets for dynamic and ambitious merchants, especially those exporting from our major markets in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. SEKO’s reputation for cross-border eCommerce solutions means we are also a first port of call for smaller shippers that want to expand globally. We will now be able to migrate those companies to ShipStation and they can just ‘flip a switch’ to use our cross-border eCommerce solutions because ShipStation is integrated with so many eCommerce platforms,” Brian Bourke, SEKO Logistics’ VP of Marketing, said.
Merchants can now connect to SEKO Logistics via ShipStation and see:

  • Reduced transit time and lower cost to international markets for faster expansion
  • Reduced cart abandonment rates internationally with lower shipping costs
  • An easy and monetized returns solution with international in-country return capabilities
  • Unified tracking internationally regardless of final mile postal carrier
  • Retailer/Seller custom-branded tracking portals

Warehouse performance management software

Dematic has launched iQ InSights, a cloud-based asset performance management (APM) system that is said to unite order fulfilment and facility lifecycle management data for actionable intelligence that empowers users to make informed decisions that maximise overall warehouse logistics effectiveness.
Dematic iQ InSights holistically integrates facility-wide intelligence across warehouse and distribution systems, processes, and equipment so that managers can make data-driven decisions to fully utilise assets, increase operational performance, and add to the bottom line. The software is said to allow users to:

  • Maximise uptime.
  • Accelerate incident/resolution cycle time.
  • Enhance cross-function intelligence.
  • Reduce total cost of ownership.

It combines sophisticated enterprise asset management (EAM) software with real-time operational data and the power of cross-functional analysis and advanced analytics. Using Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) active intelligence, Dematic iQ InSights enables peak warehouse performance while reducing total cost of operations.
The holistic, warehouse-wide approach enables true visibility across equipment, labour, and facility to help customers measure, evaluate and optimise operations.

Don't delay! Take part in the SCM IT survey

If you work in supply chain management, you’ll want to enter the MHD magazine and Transport and Logistics News SCM IT survey. Apart from the chance to win a $2,000 prize package, here is why…
If you are in the supply chain business, whether as a wholesaler, retailer, distributor, 3PL or transport operator, you will be using ERP, WMS, Excel, or any of the many specialist software applications available for the supply chain and logistics industry.
You are operating in possibly the most diverse and confusing sector IT-wise. Because while there are software packages that will look after everything from voice picking, vehicle scheduling to full automation, many users today admit to still being almost inseparably wedded to their Excel spreadsheet and paper printouts.
“The explosion of e-commerce is pushing companies to rethink their supply chain management strategies,” said Mark Dawson, managing director of Microlistics, Australia’s only company recognised in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WMS. “This has also led to a significant increase in the number of 3PL and fulfilment operators in the Australasian market place, where premium customer service remains critical. The competition between traditional ‘Bricks and Mortar’ (B&M) retailers and the e-commerce players is also putting pressure on the inventory holding split between traditional and e-commerce orders.
“Many traditional B&M retailers are finding the operational and systems challenges of managing omni-channel orders and the competition for ‘one inventory’ difficult to manage. This is driving implementation of new supply chain and e-commerce technology particularly in the WMS and parcel management technology space.”
Tell suppliers what you need, what you want
Which one of these are you? Could you possibly be divorced from your spreadsheets, if you are still using those as your primary solution? What do you need, what will you look for, when you finally decide to make the break? Or, if you’re already on a dedicated software package, how is it going? What is good, what is bad? What are you missing?
MHD magazine and Transport & Logistics News’ 2018 Supply Chain Software User Survey can help you ask for the answers. The survey will give you the opportunity to reflect on your experiences with your current packages, what you’re missing, what you’re looking for.
“Today’s software is smarter, faster, cheaper than ever before,” said group managing director of Bestrane David Sanders. “In addition, many applications are available through an internet-connected browser to all types of sensors that is rapidly expanding the number, type and location of ‘users’.”
This survey not only seeks to ask you the Good, Bad and Ugly of how supply chain software is currently being used, but also looks over the horizon to detect the key issues and trends driving the requirements of the future.
Your responses to the survey will give supply chain software suppliers a chance to evaluate what users are thinking, wanting, and needing in their packages. Available to enter now, entering the survey will allow you to outline, or tell them in great detail, your opinions and insights into what you look for when you decide on a new software package, what you need, what is important for you.
And you could win a $2,000 prize package!
To help prompt you to enter the survey, we have an amazing $2,000 prize package for one randomly selected winner from the respondents. The lucky winner will not only receive a travel voucher worth $1,000, but will also have the opportunity to nominate their charity of choice, to which we will donate the other $1,000.
That’s right, by entering the survey, you will have the chance to win $1,000 for the charity of your choice plus a $1,000 travel voucher!
The 2018 Supply Chain Users’ Survey is open now. Click here to participate!

Supply chain management software up 13.9%: Gartner

The latest market share data from Gartner shows that adoption of supply chain management (SCM) software accelerated significantly in 2017. Total worldwide market revenue grew 13.9 per cent to reach a total of $12.2 billion in 2017.
“The SCM market’s revenue performed well in 2017, continuing the trend of accelerating growth from recent years. This is happening because SCM technologies are a key component of delivering digital business strategies,” said Balaji Abbabatulla, research director at Gartner (see Table 1.). “SCM technologies create digital value by optimising the flow of products, services and related information from source to customer and from customer to source.
“The top five vendors in the SCM market all increased revenue, but only JDA and Infor grew their market share by outperforming the total market growth,” said Mr Abbabatulla. “The ‘other vendors’ category is growing significantly faster than the top five market incumbents, but the top five rankings remained the same in 2017.”
Table 1. Worldwide SCM revenue market share, 2016-2017 (Millions of USD).

Company 2016 Revenue 2017 Revenue 2016-2017 Growth (%) 2017 Market Share (%)
SAP 2,930 3,257 11.2 26.6
Oracle 1,553 1,679 8.1 13.7
JDA 476 544 14.3 4.4
Infor 243 286 17.4 2.3
Manhattan Associates 219 225 2.8 1.8
Other Vendors 5,334 6,256 17.3 51.1
Total 10,755 12,246 13.9 100.0

Source: Gartner (July 2018)
Mr Abbabatulla continued: “Smaller cloud-native vendors enjoyed an average revenue growth of 41.4 per cent in 2017. The top five vendors are defending their market share by pivoting toward cloud-first strategies and quickly introducing new products through development, acquisition or partnerships on their cloud platform.”
Cloud offerings are driving growth in the market partly because more midsize organisations are adopting SCM software to drive digital business models. Midsize organisations help bolster revenue growth because they are net new customers of SCM products and are not bound by replacement and upgrade cycles from legacy investment.
“Cloud software typically have lower barriers to entry and are more easily scalable, and are therefore a better fit for midsize organisations looking at SCM for competitive advantage,” said Mr Abbabatulla. “We expect that vendors offering a well-defined, vertical-industry-oriented strategy for midsize organisations will grow rapidly over the next five years.”
Another source of competitive advantage for SCM vendors has been effective incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) into their products. “While adoption levels of AI vary across sub market segments, we expect it to drive revenue growth as AI technologies and tools mature,” said Mr Abbabatulla. “This is because AI can bring productivity and user experience improvements by automating routine tasks and providing more effective support to complex decisions.”

Only 65% have a cybersecurity expert: survey

Despite 95 per cent of CIO expecting cyberthreats to increase over the next three years, only 65 per cent of their organisations currently have a cybersecurity expert, according to a survey from Gartner. The survey also reveals that skills challenges continue to plague organisations that undergo digitalisation, with digital security staffing shortages considered a top inhibitor to innovation.
Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and across major industries, representing approximately US$13 trillion in revenue/public sector budgets and US$277 billion in IT spending.
The survey indicates that cybersecurity remains a source of deep concern for organisations. Many cybercriminals not only operate in ways that organisations struggle to anticipate, but also demonstrate a readiness to adapt to changing environments, according to Rob McMillan, research director at Gartner.
“In a twisted way, many cybercriminals are digital pioneers, finding ways to leverage big data and web-scale techniques to stage attacks and steal data,” said Mr McMillan. “CIOs can’t protect their organisations from everything, so they need to create a sustainable set of controls that balances their need to protect their business with their need to run it.”
Thirty-five per cent of survey respondents indicate that their organisation has already invested in and deployed some aspect of digital security, while an additional 36 per cent are actively experimenting or planning to implement in the short term. Gartner predicts that 60 per cent of security budgets will be in support of detection and response capabilities by 2020.
“Taking a risk-based approach is imperative to set a target level of cybersecurity readiness,” Mr. McMillan said. “Raising budgets alone doesn’t create an improved risk posture. Security investments must be prioritised by business outcomes to ensure the right amount is spent on the right things.”
Business growth introduces new attack vectors
According to the survey, many CIO consider growth and market share as the top-ranked business priority for 2018. Growth often means more diverse supplier networks; different ways of working, funding models and patterns of technology investing; as well as different products, services and channels to support.
“The bad news is that cybersecurity threats will affect more enterprises in more diverse ways that are difficult to anticipate,” Mr McMillan said. “While the expectation of a more dangerous environment is hardly news to the informed CIO, these growth factors will introduce new attack vectors and new risks that they’re not accustomed to addressing.”
Continue to build bench strength
The survey revealed that 93 per cent of CIO at top-performing organisations say that digital business has enabled them to lead IT organisations that are adaptable and open to change. To the benefit of many security practices, this cultural openness broadens the organisation’s attitude toward new recruitment and training avenues.
“Cybersecurity is faced with a well-documented skills shortage, which is considered a top inhibitor to innovation,” Mr McMillan said. “Finding talented, driven people to handle the organisation’s cybersecurity responsibilities is an endless function.”
According to Gartner, while most organisations have a role dedicated to cybersecurity expertise, and therefore appreciate its needs, the cybersecurity skills shortage continues. Gartner recommends that chief information security officers (CISO) continue to build bench strength through innovative approaches to developing the security team’s capabilities.
Do you work with supply chain software? Enter our 208 Supply Chain Software Users’ Survey and tell suppliers what you think what you want. Plus there is a chance to win a $2,000 prize package. Click here to go to the survey.

In control – from MHD magazine

Sean Ryan

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.
Smart concept
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 or visit Swisslog is a member of the KUKA Group,

Hays releases 2018 Jobs In Demand report

Recruiting firm Hays has released its latest Jobs In Demand report, covering January to June 2018.
The company expects strong demand to continue in the logistics industry for persons with expertise in the areas of inventory management, import/export, wharves and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) planning.
“Across Australia, positive productivity is linked to efficiency improvements, be that in warehousing, transport or supply chain,” the company said. “Companies are targeting candidates who have a strong knowledge of systems and processes, combined with a proven track record in reducing costs and achieving demanding KPIs [key performance indicators].”
The report identified several roles that the industry is currently keen to fill, including storepersons with inventory management software experience, import/export coordinators with cargo software knowledge, fleet controllers with wharf experience, demand and supply planners with FMCG experience.
Experience in purchasing will also be in demand, as will candidates with knowledge of inventory management software such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and SAP software.
Hays is also seeing an increased need for logistics candidates with heavy rigid or heavy combination licences.

©2019 All Rights Reserved. MHD Magazine is a registered trademark of Prime Creative Media.