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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Conradie.

Supply Chain Discussion: A Symphony of Systems

In this discussion, Robert Bowman from Supplychainbrain talks to Keith Moore, chief executive officer of They are a warehouse resource planning and optimization platform that dynamically orchestrates all activities on top of their customer's existing WMS in real-time.

He explains how the concept of “orchestration” is gaining popularity in the warehouse. The term describes the ability to take all of the systems and people that exist within a given facility — what Moore describes as “as multi-faceted ensemble cast” — and get them to function together smoothly.

Who, then, is the “conductor” of this symphony of systems and processes? Today it’s people, Moore says. The problem is that, because of the difficultly of retaining qualified staff, those individuals are often less tenured and experienced in their jobs than in years past. And when that happens, “productivity drops drastically.”

Thanks to an aging warehouse workforce, some 80% of sites are run by coordinators with four years or less of experience. Yet it takes three to four years just to get a facility up and running effectively. Moreover, the work is often managed by spreadsheets and other outdated manual processes. “Excel is the most used tool in a warehouse,” Moore says. As a result, many warehouses today are supported by “grit and elbow grease,” he says. “In the future, that has to change.”

Automation is coming to the fore, but the necessary systems still must be coordinated in such a way that warehouses can track, on a moment-by-moment basis, key elements such as the availability of labour, raw materials, inventory, space and trailers in the yard.  

All must work together to support efficient process flow.

The next five years will see the emergence of systems enabling predictive visibility, as sites move toward operation by “autopilot.” But that can’t happen, Moore says, unless people and technology within the warehouse are designed to work in concert.

Source: Supplychainbrain

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