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Where Do You Draw the Line Between a Traditional and a Modern WMS?

Where Do You Draw the Line Between a Traditional and a Modern WMS?

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) simply means a place which controls all warehouse operations. From manually handling every task in the warehouse physically, a warehouse system has evolved to become an automated technical solution, with its implementation being regarded as the first step to digitalising the factory. However, the latter is true only where a modern WMS is implemented. Contrary to being considered “modern”, the Warehouse Automation – Robots, Technologies, and Solutions Market, 2021 – 2030 report published by Research and Markets notes that approximately 80 per cent of warehouses has no automation. While automation in warehouses is estimated to rise significantly in the next few years, to understand the lack of warehouses that have automated their warehouses, businesses have wondered whether the differences between a traditional and modern are minute. However, what exactly amounts to traditional and modern is not clear. This article will attempt to showcase where the line should be drawn between a conventional and contemporary WMS.

Three Main Differences Between Traditional and Modern WMS

While traditional warehouses are primarily known for the lack of digitisation, note that this does not mean there are no digital tools. For instance, even the oldest WMS will have forklift carriers in their factories which safeguards employees and helps to speed up the pickup process.  While categorising what is traditional and modern is not an easy task, here are three things to note that significantly vary in terms of the type of WMS system: 

The Debate Between Legacy and Cloud-Based Systems

This is the most significant distinction between a traditional and modern WMS system. Older WMS systems are known for their legacy system, engineered to take charge of specific roles. They mainly dealt with managing large pallets and cases instead of small orders. However, with the surge of e-commerce, the demand for small orders increased. The difference it made meant that warehouses had an increasing number of orders coming in instead of getting clients, which dealt with large cases. In other words, many consumers were placing orders online, requiring more organisation within the warehouse to ensure the correct order was picked up, packed and delivered on time without damage or before expiration. The lack of real-time monitorisation was one major reason legacy systems are regarded as things of the past. That is, with the introduction of cloud-based WMS systems. Cloud technology has been in the market for quite a few years, notedly since 2010 by Microsoft. However, it came into operation in the warehouse industry much later. Cloud-based WMS offered more clarity by monitoring everything in the warehouse in real time. The other main reason cloud is regarded as more modern is its scalability. Unlike legacy systems that are expensive to upgrade and may remain static only to accommodate the company’s requirements at one point in time forever, a cloud system is easily scaleable and flexible. Hence, warehouse managers can simply adopt every technology trend that enters the market with no problem. 

The Debate Between Wave Processing and Order Streaming

As previously stated, legacy systems focused on larger pallets and cases. In other words, this refers to wave processing, which is essentially a form of batch processing. While wave processing is still a widely adopted processing form, it tends to create bottlenecks. This is especially true when many orders are placed and the warehouse has run out of stock. As a result, orders are significantly delayed until the items arrive at the warehouse. The modern WMS has a more effective predecessor: order streaming. Unlike a wave processing WMS system, which requires one to manually take note of the inventory left in the warehouse, a wave processing system automatically assesses the warehouse’s capacity. Hence, where the warehouse is low on an item, this would be communicated to the manager in advance, who can take steps to ensure that it is restocked. This allows managers to prioritise orders and send them to consumers on time. Thus, order processing will enable managers to handle the ever-demanding number of orders made.

Accuracy In Terms of Data Analytics

Data analytics is an important aspect of warehouse management. Through this, warehouses can assess their progress, consider what should be changed and act accordingly. While the amount of data required to be processed traditionally and at present has always been enormous, in a traditional WMS system, human big data experts will have to study them to predict futuristic insights. The issue with this is that the level of accuracy or reliability may depend on the data expert; sometimes, the most experienced expert can also make errors. The lack of real-time data and the time is taken to make such findings are reasons why the conclusions may not be reliable. In a modern WMS system, however, this aspect is entirely autonomous. Through the data collected, predictive and prescriptive analytics, for instance, use AI and ML capabilities to find hidden insights and predict where an asset requires maintenance in advance. They also can consistently monitor the market and consumer changes in the industry, helping them stay profit-oriented and eliminate the waste generated.                      

Cerexio Smart WMS: A Smart-Age Warehouse Solution

Cerexio Smart WMS suite is an all-in-one solution for warehouse managers to streamline their administrative tasks efficiently. It houses a range of industry 4.0 technologies, including AI, ML, predictive and prescriptive analytics, digital twins, 5G and more. Among other things, It integrates AGVs, RGVs, IGVs, AMRs and others into your robotic forklift fleet, cameras and sensors to navigate your warehouse operations, and more. It moreover takes advantage of IoT systems to increase warehouse and supply chain transparency whilst monitoring the progress of each order in real time. This ensures that there are higher employee productivity rates, and it improves relations with consumers. It moreover facilities end-to-end inventory tracking and automates pick-up orders which safeguards employees from hazardous situations and helps monitor and control the release of carbon emissions. Cerexio can deploy its advanced suites on any platform, be it on-prem or web-based. By staying up-to-date on modern technologies, the state-of-the-art WMS digital suite has a proven record of improving storage space by 30 per cent and optimising stock reduction rates by 50 per cent. 

Connect with us to make an appointment on how a modern WMS system can be adopted into your warehouse operations. 

Do Your Research

There is no clear point that demonstrates where a traditional WMS system ends, and a modern WMS starts. While this is an issue of contention, you do not need to vaguely identify whether you need to adopt a traditional or modern WMS solution. Instead, research the latest features a WMS solution should have and the type of technologies projected to help warehouses escalate in the industrial world. Consider whether scalability, remote access, and the latest technology seem most relevant to your needs and are in the best interest of your company. Although doing your research is essential, scheduling an appointment with an expert or professional is an excellent option to precisely understand the intricacies of adopting one type of WMS over another. Remember, what is traditional and modern is still in murky waters; therefore, focusing on what features you require is a much easier way to ensure you are equipped with the right solution. Hence, do your reading before investing in a WMS system.

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