Evolution of the Warehouse: How New Order Picking Technologies are Changing the Face of Supply Chain

Consumer behavior is ever-evolving, and this is sending shock waves throughout the supply chain industry. In fact, changes are occurring at such a rapid pace that many established businesses simply cannot keep up. These changes are even affecting companies on a global scale. Supply chain managers are under pressure to reduce costs while also being faster and more efficient in their operations.

If supply chain leaders are going to survive, they must be more intelligent about warehouse management systems (WMS) and how to integrate technologies within distribution centers to optimize better supply chain solutions. Read on to learn more about how this can be done and how Inventory Mirror can help.

Exploring Warehousing Then and Now

While enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions play a major role in how a company operates, these systems have not been able to impact demand planning and WMS tasks with a level of accuracy that is required. As a result, companies began to incorporate WMS systems that would better focus on accuracy and other fulfillment needs. But in 2019, distribution centers are increasingly essential to the entire supply chain process. Because of this, leaders in this field have placed more focus on how goods move throughout the supply chain system.

Understanding the Increasing Complexities of Retail

Due to low unemployment rates and rising wages, people have more disposable income to spend than ever. In fact, U.S. retail sales are expected to rise between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than $3.8 trillion in 2019, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers continue to make more and more purchases online; as a result, companies are feeling the pressure.

Moreover, in an attempt to remain competitive, more retailers have transitioned to e-commerce and have increased their number of facilities, while demanding more efficiency and productivity in their operations. Changing consumer expectations also means that more companies feel pressured to offer 1-2 day delivery–and sometimes same-day delivery–to keep up with major online retailers like Amazon.

Out of Stock: Losing to Amazon

A recent IHL Group study found that retailers miss out on approximately $1 trillion in sales due to products being out-of-stock. This is a major issue for retailers who are finding out the hard way that an out-of-stock order for them means a lost customer, and a new sale for Amazon. The solution? Retailers must get a better handle on inventory and inventory control.

Recognizing the need for increased efficiency in warehouse operations, Inventory Mirror has designed a new technology to improve productivity in supply chain logistics. Traditional warehouse management systems currently use an outdated and inefficient, multi-step process to fulfill a customer’s order.

Using the Inventory Mirror technology eliminates some of these steps to improve picking and speed up fulfillment. A warehouse worker can group customer orders by warehouse location, allowing workers to select the number of orders that will be added to each pick. Pickers no longer have to manually filter orders from various lists to gather a group of similar items. 

The result is a reduced fulfillment time, decreased operation costs, and an increase in customer satisfaction. People demand more than ever that businesses become more customer-focused. If companies want to compete in today’s world, supply chain leaders must adapt to this new model; that is, if they want to stay alive.