The Power of Precision: How Warehouse Management Systems Redefine Inventory Control
Dinesh Pilgaokar, Chief Customer Officer, Bar Code India, 0
In an interaction with Bimlesh, Correspondent at CEO Insights India magazine, Dinesh emphasizes the influence of WMS on FMCG, enhancing inventory precision and tackling challenges. He underscores the importance of prudent automation choices and workforce adaptability in warehouse automation. The integration of technologies such as Collaborative Robots elevates supply chain efficiency and ensures real-time data availability. Below are the key excerpts from the following interaction:
How are Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) redefining inventory control precision within the FMCG industry?
Managing a warehouse and distribution is always a race against time. The Indian FMCG market is expected to reach US $1007.45 Billion by 2029 with a CAGR of 27.9 percent during the forecast period (MMR figures). Typical challenges like finite storage area, product seasonality, shelf life and availability of the right product at the right time must be addressed. A robust and agile WMS takes charge and controls all the workflows and exceptions that may be prevalent and quickly addresses these challenges. The WMS minimizes the struggle to match physical inventory with system inventory in the ERP, providing unmatched visibility and transparency. A feature-rich WMS helps locate, identify, and track the movement of material/goods and simultaneously increases operational efficiency multifold so that there is zero dependency.
What key challenges in warehouse automation do you perceive within the supply chain industry, and how should they be addressed?
One of the significant challenges is the choice of automation. The choice of technology today is so overwhelming that going overboard is tempting. The choice of automation must supplement the nature and need of the business, and the cost of investment should be a significantly higher return on the investment. The choice of automation must be aligned with a clearly defined objective, which may differ from organization to organization, even if they are in the same line of business. There is no one-size-fits-all. Getting the current workforce to learn to adapt to change and strike a balance between manual and automated operations is a challenge, too. With high labor attrition, the task gets
Could you tell us about specific WMS features that have been driving inventory transformation within the FMCG sector?
Having tasted the fruits of digitization, the FMCG industry is asking for more. As a feature, the ability to create and add a unique product ID to each SKU has brought many benefits, such as batch identification, FIFO, anti-counterfeit, and last mile checks before loading to ensure correct shipment every time. A WMS revolving around mobility leads to a connected workforce and visibility to workforce productivity and efficiency. A warehouse control system integrated into a warehouse management system is a potent feature to precisely identify the area location, to either put away or pick items, route maps, and wave pick mechanism, saving precious time and the need for a search.
One also must be very careful to determine the scope of automation, being mindful that such adoption does not create a logjam of material in the next stage or create a deficit in the previous stage.
In what ways has the integration of the latest technologies into various warehouse management systems across sectors drives excellence within supply chain processes?
At the top of the list are automation technologies like Collaborative Robots, Autonomous Mobile robots and Automated Guided Vehicles, which are changing the landscape of warehouse operations. Automated storage and Retrieval systems work on precise movements and locations within the warehouse; the Control System of these technologies integrates with the WMS, which drives the process. Complemented with the use of identification technologies like barcodes or RFID, it has grossly increased efficiency and output per storage area, quality real-time data availability and analysis of data has influenced demand forecasting, near zero wrong shipments, damage due to handling and pilferage is reduced, space optimization.
What advice would you offer for implementing better infrastructure within supply chain industries to enhance efficiency and performance?
A pilot with clearly defined objectives is necessary before the rollout or implementation of any initiative. The need of the hour is to be agile, modular & scalable. Without succumbing to competition or peer pressure, one should balance technology & automation and processes and needs.