Generix named in the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) for the sixth consecutive year. View the press release.

Warehouse
April 13, 2023

Under the Hood of a Powerful Warehousing Solution: The SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES

Unless they’ve been operating under a rock, COOs and operations managers are well aware of what a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can do for their distribution center (DC). The same goes for supply chain consultants, whether or not their services actually cover technology solutions. But it’s one thing to know about the efficiencies that a WMS can unlock in the DC, quite another to convince a company’s management team that they shouldn’t delay implementing one.

A tip from the pros: When pitching a solution’s capabilities, it pays to know the technology behind them. A car dealer will readily tell you: whenever they manage to tell clients the story of just what they’ll find under the hood of a car they’re looking at, chances of selling that car have increased tenfold—even when the client barely understands what all these specs mean!

If you mean to convince stakeholders at your company that investing in a WMS is a sound business decision, but you’re not sure you can explain what’s under the solution’s hood, we’ve got you covered. In what follows, we take a look at the technology that makes the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES one of the most adaptable and powerful Warehouse Management System of its category. Our objective is to empower you, your colleagues, and/or your clients to come to an informed decision about the real value of a WMS in the DC.

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A 3-Tier Technology Architecture Driven by Purpose

The SOLOCHAIN WMS is designed with a goal in mind: to provide supply chain operators a powerful warehouse management solution that offers maximum configuration flexibility and performance scalability.

In a world where supply chain disruptions have become the norm and customer expectations are constantly evolving, DC operators need technology solutions that enable efficient processes as they maximize operational agility. That’s why the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES, marketed by Generix Group North America, is built on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) that banks on all the advantages of a 3-Tier Architecture (3TA).

Now, that’s a lot of information—let’s unpack that a little!

A 3TA is a client-server software architecture that has been in use for some time now. It takes its name from the fact that the system’s architecture is organized into three computing tiers that are logically and physically separated. There’s the presentation tier, which corresponds to the user interface; the business logic tier, where the system processes data; and the data tier, which is where the data leveraged by the system is being stored and managed.

The main advantages of a 3TA are:

  • Faster time to market

    • The system’s separation into tiers enables a quicker implementation as different teams may work on deploying each tier simultaneously. When companies set an aggressive implementation calendar—generally to meet their customers’ requirements—SOLOCHAIN’s 3TA makes a huge difference in helping them meet their objectives.
  • Improved configurability & scalability

    • Tier separation makes it possible to modify and optimize each one individually, with little to no impact on the other tiers’ performance. To DC operators, this means that targeted WMS improvements and reconfigurations can be performed more easily without causing costly disruptions. SOLOCHAIN’s intuitive Editing Tools are a testament to the configurability and scalability benefits of its 3TA.
  • Improved reliability

    • A 3TA enables system redundancy, meaning that should one tier fail, the others can still function. Moreover, with separated tiers, it’s easier to isolate and fix problems when they arise. On the whole, this makes a system like the SOLOCHAIN WMS more fault-tolerant and less likely to experience downtime.
  • Improved security

    • Because the user interface tier is physically separated from the data tier, companies that run the SOLOCHAIN WMS can precisely control user permissions and access to data across their entire operation. Companies that are more at risk of cyber-attacks also benefit from a 3TA. As each tier can have its own security measures, it is far more difficult for an attacker to compromise the entire system.

Adding a Service Oriented Architecture to 3TA

Written in Java, the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES is a web-based system designed on an architecture that maintains a 3TA logic but that adds further separation between the distinct system functionalities, which are thought of as modular “services”. That’s why we speak of a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). In an SOA, the services, though distinct, all work together to provide the many capabilities operators require from their WMS.

The system’s services are hosted on dedicated servers—SOLOCHAIN’s business logic tier, to refer back to a 3TA. Meanwhile, users access the services’ functionalities via web-based interfaces, SOLOCHAIN’s SoloBrowser, on desktop computers or mobile handheld devices—this is the presentation tier. Communication between applications and services, as well as between the various services themselves, is achieved via application programming interfaces (APIs).

SOLOCHAIN’s SoloBrowser is system agnostic and is 100% compatible with most platforms already found in DCs (Microsoft Windows, Apple, and Android). In other words, this architecture spares companies from spending more of their precious capital to procure the hardware to run the solution.

Another signal advantage of SOLOCHAIN’s SOA is that it delivers even greater levels of configurability than a 3TA. SOLOCHAIN relies on Solomodel, a metadata framework that contains all data objects (i.e., tables, attributes, configuration, pages, reports, system interfaces, etc.) used by the system. With this sophisticated framework, companies have total access to the data model or any other component of the software, ensuring that they can truly adapt the WMS to their needs.

Powered by an SOA, the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES is a Gartner’s Magic Quadrant leader for its exceptional configurability.

As a company evolves and grows, so do its requirements, SOLOCHAIN’s SOA empowers operators to scale with agility. They can modify interfaces and functionalities with ease and minimal operational disruptions, as changes to one service often do not affect the other services’ performance.

Another possible advantage that comes with SOLOCHAIN’s SOA is that companies no longer have to buy into a monolithic system and a slew of capabilities they don’t need. DC operators can choose exactly what services they mean to purchase and finely configure the solution’s applications and interfaces—from skin to field display layouts—to their specific requirements.

As for SOLOCHAIN’s integration with other technology solutions in the DC, its architecture poses no problem at all—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The system’s interface hub is directly embedded into SOLOCHAIN for real-time monitoring of all inbound and outbound transactions. This makes integrations with most ERP systems, TMS, and other supply chain execution systems (SCE) simpler to achieve and much more efficient.

SOLOCHAIN integrates just as easily with all key MHE components, such as:

  • Conveyor Systems
  • Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS)
  • Pick/Put-to-light systems
  • Carousels
  • Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) & Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
  • Sorting systems
  • Integrated weight scales
  • Print and apply systems

The Future Is Now: Industry 4.0 and SOA, Leveraging the IIoT

Leveraging the latest tools and technology afforded by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES SOA architecture provides out-of-the-box integration capabilities with all the key third-party systems needed to run an efficient operation. In other words, SOLOCHAIN is perfectly aligned with the evolution of warehouse management systems and SCE solutions in general.

This was but a quick look under the hood of the SOLOCHAIN WMS/MES. Hopefully, it will have provided some key insights on how the technology behind this warehousing solution can profoundly transform your operations. If you want to find out more about the advantages of service-oriented WMS solutions, you can check out here whether a Software as a Service (SaaS) WMS is right for you.

 

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