The characteristics of a WMS adapted to automated environments   

We have been seeing a fundamental trend over the past few years: warehouses are becoming increasingly automated.  Pressure from competitors and increased demands from consumers, most notably in terms of quality and delivery times, have made the warehouse a critical part of the customer promise.  Although these types of projects are more common, new constraints are emerging. Therefore, choosing and locating a WMS that is natively designed for automation and robotization management is crucial. This is the case with ODATiO, our modular WMS and TMS solution, the result of SAVOYE’s experience in designing and installing solutions that combine software and equipment.

 

The advantages of automation and robotization 

Whether to do with requirements in terms of storage, order picking, replenishment or even packaging, automation offers many benefits. Faced with increased flows to process, logistics platforms are fully aware of the limits of manual work.  

 

This is the case with activities that integrate e-commerce flows into their existing flows, for whom the roll out of this type of equipment is particularly relevant.

 

Several factors can lead to a company opting for automation

  • Optimal service quality: speeding up rates should never be at the expense of quality. All too common, picking errors are damaging for the company’s reputation and customer satisfaction. Automation seems to be a solution well suited to this desire for acceleration while maintaining rigorous order picking quality.
  • A desire to improve delivery times: as we have all noticed, e-commerce has completely changed consumer expectations, in particular with regard to delivery times and value-added services (gift messages, gift or promotional packaging, pre-printed return slips, etc.). These all lead to productivity challenges, in terms of speed and adapting to order picking for the same type of products.
  • Reduced hardship: automation reduces the arduous nature of demanding tasks in the warehouse.  Operators can therefore focus on operations with higher added value. .  

There are many different types of existing solutions from Savoye

  • Shuttle-based picking systems, which offer greater reliability in order picking, both for retail and parcels (this is the case with our X-PTS Goods-To-Person system)
  • Modular and smart conveyor systems: plug & play type, fully modular and smart, these conveyors provide quick and effortless load transport.  (INTELIS)
  • Range of packing machines: this range offers automation of packing operations with forming, wedging, closing and printing of lids. (JIVARO, E-JIVARO, PAC 600, JIVARO PRINT) 
  • Robotization: picking robot and mobile order picking robot (pick and pack, pick then pack and replenishment)  

 

The characteristics of a WMS adapted to automated environments 

The advent of robotization and the more frequent use of automation in the warehouse have led to new challenges and problems: 

  • More functional components that have to coexist.
  • Varied equipment and information systems, thus the implementation of interfaces
  • A decision-making process to be clarified

To be truly relevant in an automated environment, the WMS must offer four main qualities:


 

  • Functional flexibility  

Equipping your warehouse with automated or robotic systems does not mean that manual work will be totally eliminated. On the contrary. When designing your work strategies (acceptance, storage, picking or shipping), you will first have to determine the flows to be automated and those to be processed manually. The ideal WMS solution must be able to provide you with varied business processes to adapt to activities that will be managed manually and/or automated. Indeed, the picking process is different if you are an operator at a goods-to-person workstation or a forklift driver. A relevant WMS in an automated environment must be able to offer business functions for manual or automated picking, or both at the same time.  

 

  • Reliability  

Automating your warehouse will naturally lead to increased productivity and a higher number of orders and lines picked per day, as well as a higher number of truck departures. This increase in flows naturally leads to an increased volume of information. The WMS must be reliable enough to absorb, process and analyze this influx of data, while maintaining high response rates.

  

  • Ability to interface 

In an automated environment, the WMS must connect to a Warehouse Control System software program. The WMS’s role is to schedule and synchronize logistics flows in addition to managing the warehouse’s automated or robotic systems. Choosing a WMS that has native interfaces corresponding to this type of equipment is a considerable advantage.   

 

  • Management functions 

Managing an automated warehouse requires active supervision to detect any bottlenecks or blocking delays. The ideal WMS must offer advanced management functions to offer a comprehensive oversight of the warehouse activity in real time, identify any anomalies, take the relevant action and take control of your service rate. ODATiO offers this type of management function with a fully configurable cockpit, equipped with widgets and KPIs relevant for your areas of expertise, for you to supervise all warehouse activities. With clickable zones for immediate access to the corresponding business interface, you have all the tools at your disposal to deal with emergencies in an efficient and reactive manner. 

 

ODATiO: the agile and flexible supply chain execution solution, tailor made for automation. 

Capable of managing and scheduling all your logistics operations in a unified manner, ODATiO has all the characteristics of a WMS that is compatible with automated and robotic environments. Equipped with a high degree of agility in terms of configuration of business rules and workflows, ODATiO adapts to your order picking strategies, whether manual, automated or mixed. 

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