Supply chain processes have remained similar in their broad strokes over the years, with the cycle of goods moving from material suppliers to manufacturers and then on to vendors, staying in warehouses along the way. According to a recent report by Supply Chain Digest, however, several experts in the warehouse management market have seen software systems in the industry going through changes and evolution, delivering new capabilities.
Warehouse management systems have existed for many years. However, the constant search for new agility and efficiency has encouraged developers to improve the software and has caused logistics officers to seek them out. Supply Chain Digest consulted several experts on the subject, including Shyam Krishna. He stated that there are several new avenues WMS could exploit, and that market demand exists for those capabilities.
"[WMS] will be able to provide operations managers with signals and information relative to things happening in a day-to-day life of the warehouse, which he or she should be aware of, and then empower them to take charge and make decisions," Krishna told Supply Chain Digest.
Chuck Fuerst, another expert who spoke with the news provider, agreed there is room for growth and expansion in capabilities. He noted that many of the core capabilities of WMS have been heavily developed and remain strong, but also pointed out enthusiasm for capabilities such as flexibility.
A third industry source, John Pearce, said there will never be a completely static and developed form for WMS, as members of the expanding global supply chain will always demand new functions relevant to their current way of doing business. According to Supply Chain Digest, he stated that competition between rival companies and the demands of increasingly particular customers have spurred innovation among WMS users.
Rather than determining the general outlines of the market, Multichannel Merchant directly spoke to warehouse leaders to determine their preferences for software features. The professionals largely told the source that efficiency and visibility functions are important when operating a modern facility.
Two of the experts consulted by Multichannel Merchant, Jeff Hill and John Caplinger, said the ability to transmit data electronically is a high priority with management software. In recent years, the spread of EDI has increased the agility of functions that once required paper records, a process that could slow supply management considerably. Agility could rely on new technology investments.