Automated Data and SOLOCHAIN WMS: Propelling Manufacturers into a New Era

Published on 9 March 2022

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david_jacobs
Jacobs
David
Industry Insight & Outreach Manager
Categories
Warehouse

As global supply chains are increasing in complexity, and evolving faster than ever before, expectations for heightened agility, supersonic speed and increased efficiencies continue to mount. Facing an immensely competitive landscape, the margin for error and less than optimum response times across the manufacturing sector is now razor thin.   

Knowledge is indeed power. To remain globally competitive, as well as gain traction and scale, real-time data will be mission critical to staying nimble, while also propelling performance. 

In the warehouse, the use of real-time data is no longer left to companies on the leading edge of digital transformation in operations. According to Gartner, its role in supporting decision-making has made it "the new norm." 

Warehouse efficiency 

Warehouse efficiency is crucial to the supply chain. Automation assists in the timely collecting of an item from a warehouse and can ensure a seamless journey to the customer. With the right, and strategic systems in place, manufacturers can effectively address multiple warehouse issues, more quickly and accurately, simplify complex procedures, and expedite up work. 

Real-time inventory data  

In fact, manufacturers around the globe are leveraging technology to manage inventory throughout their warehouses. Having a comprehensive view of inventory on hand, across your supply chain, ensures that you are not overextending in logistics costs, or warehousing fees, accumulating dead stock that won’t sell, and/or storing too much inventory in regions where there is not as high of a demand. 

According to BizTech, a massive 60 percent of retailers are using a perpetual inventory management strategy. This adoption is leading to smarter decision-making, deeper visibility, and more accurate forecasting.  

Accurate inventory management can ensure an accurate flow of items in and out of a warehouse. Naturally, there are many inventory related variables, predominantly which include order processing, picking and packing. Suffice to say this can become very time-consuming with a high propensity for error. Also, accurate inventory management can work to prevent or reduce overstocking, inadequate stock and unexpected stock-outs. 

Unlocking the power of a strategic warehouse management system (WMS) 

Real-time information from next-generation WMS systems such as SOLOCHAIN WMS provide direct capture of critical data, including batch/lot/serial numbers, expiration dates, and catch weight. This visibility into inventory can take place at receiving, or even before the product arrives on site, and then tracked throughout the complete product lifecycle. By providing greater control over warehouse operations, real-time warehouse management solutions are driving better asset utilization, higher throughput, more efficient utilization of labor, and exceptional on time and accurate order fulfillment. 

What makes for good data?  

Along with speed, the quality of the data you are relying on to make real-time decisions is crucial. How do you determine the quality of a given set of information? Here are some data quality characteristics of which you should be aware.

Characteristic 

How it’s measured  

Accurate 

Contains no error. 

Complete 

Contains all important and contextual facts.  

Economical 

Low cost of production or acquisition.  

Flexible 

Can be used for more than one purpose.  

Reliable 

Relationship to the source and method of data collection.  

Relevant 

Essential to the decision maker and the decision process.  

Simple 

Easy to understand. 

Punctual 

On time, obtained when needed.  

Verifiable 

Can be checked for correctness.  

Accessible 

Easily available to the decision maker and key stakeholders. 

Secure 

Access only available to authorized users.

 

Responding to real-time data, in real-time 

The ultimate value of real-time information however, comes not from the data per se but rather your capacity and ability to respond to it and apply your learnings in areas of high production or operational density. At Generix, data collection is a key project development pillar when implementing our SOLOCHAIN WMS. Across the logistics sector, the information informs continual real-time changes across the entire supply chain.  

Traditionally, there is an identified standardization of collaborators and various systems which must exist in order for the data to be decoded and applied to decisions. The ideal is to follow a structure that allows you to be succinct, objective, and proactive or future-focused.  

For example, Chapman’s Ice Cream, a Canadian frozen desserts manufacturer, leveraged real-time data and inventory obtained with SOLOCHAIN to reduce financial risk and nearly eliminate year-end adjustments to inventory. Learn how.  

In data strategy development, there are two key areas to approach the information in order to effectively apply informed, real-time decisions:  
 

  • Internal - Productivity, quality integration (interface), performance, projections.
  • External - Geopolitics, global finance, climate, route, trends.

And finally, the use of real-time data can more deeply enable your entire manufacturing workforce— from the decentralization of management to the delegation of decision power, generating autonomy and engagement of employees across the company.  

Technologies to drive your data to speed informed innovation   

True: digitization and automation have been widely recognized as the next wave of technological enablement. Though it is still critical to note that wireless technologies such as the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) networks, flexible production systems (FPS), radio frequency identification (RFID), robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) —all still depend on data integrity in order to deliver powerful data interpretation and greater efficiencies that lead to competitive advantage.  

Data-driven automation in the supply chain  

Speed is key in all areas of the suppy chain: Data delivery, decision-making, reducing cycle-times, improving operations, and constant innovation.  

Gartner predicts, supply chain organizations expect the level of machine automation in their supply chain processes to double in the next five years.  

From a data-driven perspective, AI and ML are going to be key enablers for intelligent network evolution across the entire supply chain. In fact, they are already showing a monumental impact. By eliminating deep-rooted uncertainties and inefficiencies and uncertainties, they drive enterprise-wide visibility across the supply chain with a level of granularity human beings simply could not keep up with at scale. Additionally, AI in supply chains is helping to deliver the powerful optimization capabilities required for more accurate capacity planning, increased productivity, high quality, reduced costs, and boosted output. 

McKinsey shows AI in the retail supply chain reduces forecasting errors by up to 50 percent and prevents inventory reductions at a rate of 20 – 50 percent. Further to point, AI also supports the sourcing process as well, reducing time-to-market so that companies can deliver solutions more quickly.  

Data and the customer 

This article from Forbes underscores the importance of real-time information for customer satisfaction. By collecting data from consumers and transmitting it back up the supply chain, AI allows manufacturers to respond to consumer need in real-time. From a manufacturing and warehousing perspective, this relates to both the internal and external customer—those within the enterprise and the end consumer—end-to-end across the complete supply chain. 

For manufacturers looking to a new era of digital-first warehousing, integrating and engaging WMS systems to enable real-time data will be pivotal to achieving success in an ever-increasingly competitive global marketplace. Here’s why.  

How readied are your warehouses for a new era in logistics? Download our practical guide: The Warehouse of the Future now to gain insight into key technologies and strategies to dig into in order to capitalize on opportunity well into a new era.  

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is unparalleled. We invite you to contact us to learn more. 

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