How Combined WMS/MES Solutions Enable Agile Manufacturing and Competitive Advantage
Published on 15 June 2022
Once upon a time, manufacturers were reluctant to invest in new technology solutions. Put off by the prohibitive costs of a new on-premises WMS, ERP, or MES, unable to uncover the ROI that would justify the capital expenditure, stakeholders too often preferred to keep on relying on legacy systems that “worked alright”. That, however, was before the advent of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Today, as highly efficient cloud-based technology solutions become more accessible, manufacturing companies of all sizes are discovering the means to digitize their operation. As a result, the technology landscape is changing at a dizzying pace. “Looking into the future, it’s about resiliency and an ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace and new business models,” IDC Manufacturing Insights’ Simon Ellis told MIT Sloan School. “If a competitor comes along with a next-generation, digitally fueled capability, [companies] need to find a way to avoid being disrupted.”
A recent report by Gartner, Inc. confirmed the trend, revealing that more than half of the operators they had surveyed now believe technology solutions essential to their capacity to compete. In the same report, Gartner’s analysts indicated that at least half of global product-centric companies were likely to invest in real-time transportation visibility platforms by 2023.
To stakeholders at manufacturing companies, that last bit of information may seem like a conservative prediction. Operators who have endured the supply chain woes caused by Covid 19 know all too well that a company’s success hinges on its capacity to maintain accurate and real time visibility over inventory and products. Short of detailed and accurate data, it proves nearly impossible to weather supply chain disruptions and maintain service levels.
Not a surprise, then, that more and more manufacturers are turning to technology solutions like the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES to obtain the kind of inventory visibility that enables the operational agility needed to meet their productivity targets.
Operational Agility Powered by the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES
Quickly evolving demand patterns and the emergence of new purchasing habits have made things much more complicated for manufacturing companies. Supply chain operators can no longer ignore the pressure to open new channels if they intend to satisfy the needs of their wholesale clients as they strive to meet the complex demands of individual customers: same day delivery, BOPIS, BORIS, etc.
The first thing manufacturing companies must do to achieve the kind of omnichannel efficacy that enables competitivity and growth is to implement solutions that gives them the flexibility to quickly adjust and adapt their order fulfillment workflows. A powerful solution like SOLOCHAIN, the only WMS in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant to boast native MES capabilities, goes a long way to provide the supply chain visibility and flexibility operators need.
Thanks to its powerful inventory management capabilities, the SOLOCHAIN WMS provides manufacturers real time information on all item’s location across their entire supply chain, both within and beyond the walls of their facilities. With inventory accuracy rates above 99%, SOLOCHAIN ensures that all items are easily located and better managed.
Meanwhile, the SOLOCHAIN WMS enables companies to break down the communication silos of legacy supply chain systems. The dynamically updated data is presented on intuitive interfaces that are available to all employees across the company’s entire operation, from the back office to the warehouse floor – through mobile devices, for instance. Any and all inventory modifications are, therefore, immediately communicated to all interested parties.
However, when it comes to operational agility and end-to-end supply chain collaboration, SOLOCHAIN truly sets itself apart from other WMS solutions thanks to its fully integrated MES capabilities.
SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES: A Finely Integrated Solution for a True Competitive Edge
SOLOCHAIN’s native MES functionalities are a boon to all manufacturers as it supports all the key activities tied to their Work Orders – kitting, assembling, manufacturing, production, repacking, etc. By seamlessly integrating WMS & MES capabilities, SOLOCHAIN makes it easy for operators to track raw materials, components, packaging materials, and finished goods. That, in turn, enables them to efficiently adapt processes and workflows when disruptions or changes in the demand forecast require it.
A company that makes light bulbs, for example, can use SOLOCHAIN to manage inventory allocations and item picking jobs at the same time as it leverages the system’s MES capabilities to ensure that the best inventory (UOI, for instance) is being consumed throughout the production process. Meanwhile, the integrated WMS/MES hub also facilitates the management of scraps and waste. Should an employee mishandle crates during the production process, rendering some items unusable for production, they can report the loss on their mobile devices. The system’s Scrap/Waste process then immediately generates priority replenishments, to ensure that the light bulb production process continues uninterrupted.
The seamless integration of SOLOCHAIN’s WMS/MES capabilities also dramatically improves the company’s capacity to trace every item consumed during the production process. Item traceability reports allow the company to track all components and finished goods, forwards and backwards, from suppliers to customers. Should a specific lot of plastic components eventually be identified as problematic, the company can quickly put all the problematic items and produced light bulb lots “On Hold”. Meanwhile, thanks to detailed and accurate Item/Lot Number data, SOLOCHAIN immediately identifies the affected suppliers and customers, making it quick and easy for the company to issue the appropriate recalls.
These are just some of the ways in which the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES affords a manufacturing company the visibility and agility to anticipate on problems, rapidly adapt its workflows and processes, and improve throughput. Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within its Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across a company’s entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.
To learn more, download the WMS SOLOCHAIN Product Sheet Here.