Warehouse Systems Improve Decision-Making
Warehouse systems improve decision-making while a WMS plays a critical role in the long-term growth of the warehouse management market, these solutions alone cannot support the changing needs of this fast-paced industry. To do that, warehouse industry leaders will need to embrace the next generation of technology—the warehouse execution system (WES).
Today, the warehouse management market is on the rise. According to Deskera, it’s expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 9.2%, which will result in a cumulative market value of $7.9 billion by 2027. That same source also revealed that 85% of warehouse operations use a warehouse management system (WMS).
While a WMS focuses on managing common functions like customer orders and inventory, WES warehouse systems orchestrate all automated technologies, such as shuttles, autonomous mobile robots, sortation systems, conveyors, and automated storage and retrieval systems.
Integrating a WES system into your existing workflow is the perfect way to elevate the efficiency of your operations and facilitate real-time decision-making. Here’s an overview of how a WES can revolutionize the way you manage your warehouse and what to consider during implementation.
Examples of Effective Warehouse Systems Improve Decision-Making
To thrive in the warehouse industry, business leaders must exhibit a high degree of adaptability. Therefore, leaders need access to timely, real-time data to engage in effective decision-making.
Here’s a closer look at what warehouse processes require effective decision-making.
Automated Task Allocation and Prioritization
To achieve synergy between automated technologies and warehouse staff, you need a robust WES system. The WES supports a variety of task allocation and prioritization functions, ensuring that the right pieces of inventory are picked at the ideal time.
WES warehouse systems support effective decision-making during this process by compiling and analyzing an abundance of order data from the WMS. The WES then consolidates this information into usable insights, which warehouse leadership can leverage to minimize errors and prevent shipping delays.
The end result is a more efficient and productive operation, as well as more satisfied clients.
Managing change is never an easy task. However, in a fast-paced warehouse, the logistics, processes, workflows, and facility dynamics are constantly changing. Therefore, warehouse leaders need to become masters of effective change management.
To do that, you need access to timely and relevant data, which warehouse execution systems provide. With a WES in place, business leaders can engage in adaptive decision-making and stay agile in the midst of organizational change. You can continuously monitor warehouse performance and detect trends that may hinder overall productivity.
More importantly, you can leverage these insights to remove friction from the change journey while simultaneously maintaining adequate levels of productivity in the midst of organizational turbulence.
The Role of WES in Decision-Making
According to Tech Target, the top benefits of WMS and WES warehouse systems include:
- Improved accuracy
- Reduced costs
- Increased efficiency
While WES systems provide these benefits in a variety of ways, it ultimately boils down to these technologies’ ability to streamline the decision-making processes. Here’s an overview of additional benefits the WES platform can provide business leaders.
Streamlined Order Fulfillment Processes
One of the most commonly referred to data points in order fulfillment involves online orders shipped directly from a distribution center to the consumer. Currently, 35% of e-commerce orders are fulfilled this way. However, by 2025, this fulfillment strategy will be used 46% of the time.
WES helps business leaders streamline their order fulfillment processes and adjust to current consumer preferences. They can use a WES to facilitate shipping from the distribution center to the consumer, which is becoming the preferred way to fulfill orders.
By removing friction from fulfillment, warehouse leaders can improve client and end-user satisfaction, gaining a competitive edge within the industry.
Enhanced Inventory Management, Visibility, and Accuracy
Speaking of customer satisfaction, one way to minimize frustration among consumers is to proactively avoid stockouts or misorders. WES technology assists with this by providing up-to-the-minute insights into inventory and stock levels
With a warehouse execution system in place, business leaders can maximize inventory accuracy and prevent stockouts. By maintaining appropriate inventory levels without overcrowding the facility, you can more easily predict and adjust stock based on current trends.
3 Key Considerations When Implementing WES
There are a multitude of benefits associated with implementing a WES. However, you must keep in mind a variety of factors to ensure the implementation process is smooth, efficient, and frictionless.
Here are three things you need to consider before implementing a WES in your warehouse operations.
1. System Integration and Compatibility
The biggest question to ask yourself is if the warehouse execution system you are considering is compatible with your existing technology stack and workflow.
The ideal WES solution will be able to integrate and exchange data with your WMS as well as other mission-critical technologies. Additionally, it will be compatible with your existing processes and inventory management framework.
Another key consideration when choosing a WES system is mobile capabilities. To empower your team to be more productive and efficient, you must select a platform that allows mobile devices (such as tablets and phones) to be utilized. According to Deskera, 75% of leaders in the warehouse management space rely on mobile technologies to complete their daily tasks.
Selecting a solution that integrates with your current technology and makes life easier for your staff will minimize friction during the implementation process. Additionally, such a platform will decrease your time to value and ensure your organization achieves a strong return on investment.
2. Scalability and Flexibility for Future Growth
The warehousing industry is changing, which is largely being driven by shifting consumer preferences and evolving purchasing habits. Modern warehouses are adopting a variety of robotics technologies at scale, including shuttles, picking machines, and even drones.
According to Statista, drones are being used to support a variety of business functions within the warehousing industry. The most popular use cases for drones include mapping and surveying (48%), inspection (35%), and inventory management. Facilities are also using drones to make deliveries and support their inventory management processes.
When choosing and implementing your WES, it is critical that you select a platform that is agile and scalable. To ensure your solution can support the integration of new automated technologies regardless of the manufacturer—whether that is drones, shuttles, or another type of robotics solution.
3. Training and Change Management for Employees
Implementing a WES will ultimately benefit everyone, especially line-level employees and mid-level managers. However, realizing those benefits requires time and effort.
WES systems allow organizations to customize and modify applications, processes, and procedures to meet their exact needs and requirements. This is something that most organizations wish their WMS would do; but, simply put, WES is more flexible, agile, and cost effective.
To support your staff during this time of significant change, make sure to provide them with adequate training resources and ongoing support. The goal is to make them feel confident using the new system so they will leverage all of its tools and functionalities.
Additionally, it is critical that you continuously monitor your staff’s performance after going live. If a particular employee or shift seems to be underperforming, find out why and remedy the issue. By using a collaborative approach, your organization can overcome the growing pains associated with implementing a new system and achieve a robust ROI.
Take Advantage of a WES for Effective Decision-Making
A warehouse execution system can give your organization a competitive advantage in the fulfillment and distribution industry. Whether your facility is early in its automation journey or is already using automated technologies at scale, a WES can provide the actionable insights you need to improve decision-making, optimize organizational efficiency, and exceed your productivity goals.
The first step to realizing the benefits of warehouse automation involves choosing the right WES system. However, the WES is only part of the equation. Consider reaching out to a trusted systems integrator and software provider, like Conveyco, to help you understand your options and guide you to the solution that makes the most sense for your business.
From there, you can decide when, where, and how to automate your operations so you can revolutionize the way you make decisions.
If you would like to dive deeper into warehouse automation and WES technologies, download our free e-book, The Supply Chain Pro’s Guide to Warehouse Automation or schedule a free consultation.