The future of a digital warehouse is driven by data

“Money makes the world go around” is classic song from the musical Cabaret. But in today’s logistics world the refrain would rather be “Data makes the world go around”. We all agree that digitalization is a crucial driver for change in logistics today. And to make that change happen collecting, analyzing, visualizing and sharing data is the key. Therefore, as a WMS provider, our role is to use technology such as cloud solutions, visualization and AI to support the digital warehouse of the future.

Foto: Consafe Logistics.

Sure, digitalization of logistic processes is not exactly a new trend. But nevertheless, still ongoing. With the Covid-19 pandemic the need for data-driven effective warehouse management is greater than ever, with affected economy and changed buying behaviors putting pressure on supply chains all over the world. In this blog post I would like to give my view on three of the technological advances making digital warehouse management happen – and why I believe it will change warehouse management forever.

How to achieve a digital warehouse

#1: Systems in the cloud lets you focus on your core business

According to Accenture, the global spending on cloud-based IT-solutions in Q1 2020 was nearly triple compared to 2019. For good reasons, I would say. Keeping business-critical systems, such as a WMS, in the cloud lets companies focus less on IT-maintenance and more on their core business, often at a lower cost. It also enables efficient multisite warehousing and connections to other systems, both all too relevant in a world where data needs to be distributed and shared without the systems holding it back.

#2: Artificial intelligence makes your warehouse operation more efficient

The technological developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence over the last years have been mind-blowing, to say the least. And yet we are only seeing the beginning of its full potential. In warehouse management, AI-applications mean the possibility to use the massive amount of data created in warehouse activities to make processes much more effective – with gains in costs, working conditions as well as sustainability.

One good example is using AI-based algorithms to optimize the packaging for each individual order. I think we all have had the experience of receiving our goods in a ridiculously large box, and it is actually an important sustainability issue for the entire global trade. The Swedish postal service PostNord recently stated that according to their calculations standard truck loads today contain up to 30% air. That needs to change, and AI is a way to achieve that.

#3 Digital twins will prepare your business for future demand fluctuations

The only thing we know for sure about the future is that it is unsure. Therefore, forecasting, scenario-building and preparing for all possibilities is a must. Creating a so-called digital twin, a digital visualization of a physical process, is a way to use and manipulate existing data to test different changes without having to make them in reality.

In a warehouse setting this means being able to replicate layouts, processes and activities in the warehouse, and then simulate the effects of future changes in demand or business models. Using advanced 3D modeling technology, the scenarios can then be easily visualized and communicated to management and partners, as a part of strategic planning.

What can be done to digitalize your warehouse operation?

As a WMS vendor, our role is to support our customers with the warehouse management software they need to make their business ready for what is next. Whatever that future might be. In the context of digitalize your warehouse operation this means using technological advances such as cloud storing, AI, and visualization to develop applications that take optimization of warehouse processes to the next level.

Or do you want to know more in Danish? Follow this link.

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The future of a digital warehouse is driven by data