Manufacturing & Logistics IT - December 2017

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The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Reference guide to benchmarking solutions Special Technology Report: BIG DATA ANALYTICS






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CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT December 2017

Special Technology Report 5

Big Data Analytics

Editor: Ed Holden

Manufacturing Contributors: Gunnar Gburek, TimoCom


Charlie Kim, Bixolon Europe GmbH

Source-to-shelf company leaps into the future as early adopter of QAD Channel Islands UX Epicor ERP – Synchronising the data of three diverse European companies


Special Technology Report

Dean Taylor




First Sight Graphics Ltd,

Transportation Management

Production: Carolyn Pither


TimoCom: The future belongs to autonomous transportation

Circulation: Carole Chiesa

Warehouse Management IT Manager:


Ian Curtis

Vanderlande Industries: Data delivers for ALSO Finland

Accounts: Sarah Schofield

Printing & Labelling

Published by: B2B Publishing Ltd PO Box 3575, Barnet, Herts, EN5 9QD UK


Voice-Directed Picking

Tel: +44 (0) 1707 664200 Email (publishing): Email (editorial):

Bixolon: Evolution of label printing


Automated fulfilment solution from BEC delivers significant improvements for manufacturer Aliaxis

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. No liability is accepted for any action arising from the contents of this publication; readers are advised to check any manufacturer’s or supplier’s claim for products. The publishers do not endorse opinions expressed in any article by an outside contributor. While every care is taken over photographs and illustrations, which are returned when requested, no liability can be assumed by the publishers for the loss of such materials.







Special Technology Report Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP



Special Technology Report


Big Data Analytics

Special Technology Report

Realising the potential Manufacturing & Logistics IT with a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about recent developments within the Big Data Analytics arena.


ig Data is an increasingly coined

marketing, QAD, believes that realising

these two ways of

term used to reference the vast,

benefits from Big Data or advanced analytics

thinking about data

varied and often complex

is more cultural than technological.

are very different.

sources of information now

“Companies that want to be data driven – and

available to businesses. Through

that is a position held from the CEO and board

“However, of course

the sophisticated algorithms built into modern

on down – have plenty of choices in the

in order for

Big Data Analytics tools, valuable business

analytics realm; maybe too many choices,� he

companies to make

insight can be derived through harvesting

said. “The key regardless of when you adopt

sense of what they

better structured, relevant data from manifold

advanced analytics, however, remains, as it

need to do from

unstructured sources. More and more vendors

has always been – garbage in garbage out. A

prediction through to

within the manufacturing and warehousing

commitment to business-driven data quality,

execution there has

software solutions space, among others,

nurturing, filtering, proliferation, security and

to be a place where

continue to develop Big Data Analytics

management is the only guarantee to value.

these two

applications. In this report, we look at a

You might have the coolest Big Data tool and

philosophies come together. Some

number of specific technology areas where

brightest data scientists on the planet, but if

supermarkets, for example, use Big Data to

Big Data Analytics is playing an increasingly

your company is not culturally data driven and

forecast demand, but how does that translate

important role. There are ERP, Demand

you aren’t managing your incoming data

into actually being able to forecast demand

Forecasting & Planning/S&OP, and Warehouse

properly you will be wasting plenty of money.�

accurately and ensure the stores and the warehouses have the necessary available

Management/Voice-directed Picking & Shashi Subramanian, management consultant,

stock. How Big Data and ERP link together is

Capgemini, believes Big Data is certainly an

something that companies are doing in

Big Data Analytics –

ongoing area of development within the ERP

different ways to varying levels of efficiency,

the ERP perspective

marketplace. He elaborated: “If you look at Big

but the essential idea of utilising large

So, to begin, let’s

Data within the context of bringing

amounts unstructured data in order to

look at how Big Data

unstructured data together, having a data lake

structure a more complete end-to-end view

Analytics can help to

and being able to analyse and predict things

that can help companies make better

get the very best

in order to derive benefits such as greater

decisions and enjoy better business outcomes

business and

visibility of customer demand etc., this is

is a very relevant one.�

operational value

somewhat different to the tradition idea of


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from modern ERP

ERP, which is more about relying on more

Nick Castellina, vice president and Research

systems. Evan Quinn,

structured data and working through a well-

Group director, Aberdeen Group, commented

principal director –

defined set of processes. Philosophically,

that Big Data is really about making data more



December 2017



Special Technology Report

Big Data Analytics

consumable and

advantage of the newest advances in

modernise their ERP to fake full advantage,�

more usable for the

technology, allowing for higher productivity

he said. Quinn considers that we will also see

business user. ERP

and efficient processes.�

virtual reality and 3D printing continue to gain traction in manufacturing. On the tech front,

systems are well-

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Andy Briggs, technical director, BEC (Systems

however, he believes edge computing, as an

suppositories for a

Integration) Ltd., explained that much of the BI

adjunct to Cloud, will begin to have an impact.

wide range of

in BEC’s solutions to date has focussed on

“Want Big Data to fly without impeding ERP?

information for

users; for example, the performance and

Move to the edge. Want slender versions of

businesses, but

productivity of operatives. “We expect that we

ERP to support smaller remote operations?

Castellina makes the

are going to see much more use of the

Can you say Edge?,� he remarked.

point that

masses of data that can be gathered through

organisations are

our production line systems – sensors,

Castellina commented that there will be a lot

faced with more and

measuring, testing equipment, robots etc.,

more talk around defining what the Internet of

more data concerned

giving the ability to monitor all business

Things is and how it can benefit manufacturing

with more and more things – and much of this

process, transparently across many sites,� he

businesses in practice. He also anticipates the

data is unstructured. “Big Data and in-memory

said. “The large volumes of quantitative data

continued development of ways by which

computing are making it easier for businesses

will enable very accurate measurement and

users can derive maximum value from

to use that data to make decisions quicker

forecasting of resources – labour, energy,

connected devices. Overall, Castellina

and more effectively,� he said, adding: “Big

materials etc., and provide immediate real-

believes we will continue to see a developing

Data is about being able to consume more of

time quality and reliability measures with

trend regarding the further consumerisation of

that data more quickly, and being able to use

triggers for anomalies and exceptions, which

ERP; making the solutions easier to use and

it in a lot of different ways. We often hear a lot

can then be handled immediately.�

spreading their reach wider across business functions within customer organisations. “I

of talk around how Big Data can be used for

think it’s all about the continuing development

managing customer data and identifying trends and looking at ways to maximise your

Smart factories

towards better usability and better decision-

revenue. So, there’s a lot of opportunity for

Looking ahead to where Big Data could play a

making,� he said.

organisations of all types.�

role within developing technology, York commented that Epicor believes in the rise of

Subramanian believes there will continue to be

David York, regional vice president sales, UK

smart factories; that is to say, the

developments that aim to provide better

and Ireland, Epicor, considers that technology

computerisation of manufacturing-machines

quality information, quicker information and

advances in manufacturing have made data

that are technologically advanced enough to

better-connected information. He added that

accessible in a way that it has never been

communicate with each other, monitor

Capgemini is also seeing a resurgence in

before. He made the point that information can

physical processes and make decisions. York

interest in RFID; for example, a number of

be collected in real time, in points through the

said industry commentators believe there are

leading retailers have successfully

manufacturing process. According to York, the

many benefits of creating a ‘smart’

implemented this technology and are in the

issue now is what to do with all of that data,

manufacturing environment; including greater

process of expanding the scope of their

and how businesses can take the information

productivity, more detailed product


collected and turn it into actionable insights.

specifications and the potential to reach a

Regardless of size, York believes end-to-end

wider customer base. However, to take

Another area where

visibility is something that many manufacturers

maximum advantage of these ‘smart

Capgemini is seeing

strive for, yet struggle with. However, he

environments’, York believes it is essential for


explained that in this new age of Industry 4.0,

manufacturers to use technologically

awareness revolves

it is now possible for manufacturers to achieve

advanced ERP systems that can support this

around a number of

this via a combination of Big Data and IoT – in

kind of machine interaction and extract

dimensions of

other words, achieving end-to-end connectivity

relevant necessary data. “Wholly smart

information data

across the entire manufacturing process and

factories may be some time off yet, but

collection for ERP

throughout the supply chain. “Leaders in

industry is definitely realising that creating


manufacturing are at the top because they

smart production processes is a ‘smart’ way to


understand the value in collecting data, which

cut costs and increase efficiency,� he said.

explained that the first is ‘how will my

helps them to make more accurate business decisions,� he said. “Through connectivity

Quinn believes we will continue to see

processes benefit my

between machines, devices and

adoption of IoT and advanced analytics. “They

customer?’. “For

manufacturers, data can be gathered to take

walk hand in hand, but companies will need to

example, if I know





December 2017

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Big Data Analytics

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Special Technology Report

where my stock is

more accurate sales forecasting which can

Capgemini, together with systems integrators

within the store, can I

lead to better MRP calculations giving

and business consultants, to point out where

offer these products

companies the ability to optimise inventory

and how user organisations can potentially

to my customer in

levels and locations. Mobility continues to be

derive major value from Big Data.

such a way so as to

an ever-improving component in the ERP

provide an improved

space. From sales teams having better access

Nick Castellina, vice president and Research


to production and available to promise data to

Group director, Aberdeen Group, made the

experience?� he said.

field service technicians being able to order

point that Big Data isn’t a technology as such;

“Then, if I want the

replacement parts on the fly.�

rather, it is a term for saying we are dealing with more data more quickly today as a

customer experience to be consistent, and

Big Data Analytics – the Demand

business community. “The planning tools that

have the software

Forecasting & Planning/S&OP perspective

are being built are designed to handle larger

and hardware in place, how do I ensure that

How is Big Data Analytics having an effect on

amounts of data and make that more

my store operations are optimised in order to

the development and benefits of today’s

consumable,� he said. “So, I think on the BI

ensure staff are fully focused on providing the

Forecasting & Planning and Sales &

side of things that is certainly an aspect that is

best customer experience? For example, how

Operations Planning solutions? Pascal

being taken care of, as organisations like to be

do I do receiving, and how do I move stock

Garsmeur, product manager for demand &

able to plan in a more agile manner rather

from the back room to the front room? Then, if

supply chain planning, DynaSys, makes the

than having to run reports overnight. I think

this is what I need to achieve in the stores how

point that Big Data is having an impact

faster computing options certainly do have an

do I intelligently orchestrate all the stock

through the use of new forecasting methods

impact on planning.�

coming in from my vendors across my

such as predictive analytics. However, he

warehouses and logistics centres through my

added that there is not a direct link between

Tim Payne, research VP, Gartner, considers

3PLs and plan for it in a manner that is the

Big Data and a good Demand Planning tool.

that Big Data is predominantly a maturity

most efficient? Finally, how do I ensure that I

“One of the reasons is the quality of data and

play. He elaborated: “You can increasingly

can connect seamlessly with all my suppliers

the massive amount of non-qualified

use the data sources you have inside the

and customers? All this information feeds into

information available,� he says. “As with all

company and get more granular. In terms of

the ERP system, so the more efficient I

data, this is another input to the planning

demand sensing, for example, you would

manage these processes the more efficient my

process and there is still a need for that to be

really be looking at the orders rather than

ERP will be for my business.�

reviewed by the planner.�

aggregating and saying I have a demand for 1000 this month and next month, and for

Andrey Reiner, expert in asset management,

the previous month I had a demand for

Improved collaboration

Capgemini, believes Big Data has potential in

1200. Instead, you can create a statistical

Chris Devault, manager of software selection,

the Planning & Scheduling world. “Big Data is

forecast by crunching at the order line level

Panorama Consulting Solutions, considers

really about understanding and contextualising

coming – seeing the demand patterns. For

that, in the short term, we will see vendors

information that is coming through in large

example, there might be more demand on a

using technology to improve and automate

volumes, and in terms of applying that to

Monday than on a Tuesday, it might drop

communications and collaboration.

workforce planning I can’t see at this point of

again on a Wednesday and come back up

“Companies are more in tune with their supply

time it having a great effect,� he said.

on a Thursday. This can really help the

chain to the point of sharing access to each

However, he recognises that there is a desire

short-term decision-making process – you

other systems,� he said. “Getting real-time

to evaluate what it can offer, pointing out that it

will probably need to put more stock in the

data and responses from vendors, and even

can involve asking fundamental questions

warehouse on the

customers, brings enormous upside potential.

such as is the data correct and invalid, who

Friday ready for the

Tools used for internal and external

owns the data, who understands what the

up-kick on the

collaboration will continue to improve and be

parameters mean when it comes into your

Monday if you are


data warehouse and what can the data be

going to meet your

used for? “The potential is definitely there,� he

service levels. So,

Devault added that manufacturing companies

says. “In the case of smart metering, for

there is a Big Data

are increasing their use of software tools for

example, you can class all the messages that

element in saying

research and design. He continued: “Social

come from the smart meters as Big Data and

there is a lot of

media comes into play as the Internet of

consider what meaningful questions can be

structured data that

Things provides access to data that can be

asked of that data in order to inform our

you have inside the

leveraged in numerous ways. Distribution

decisions going forward.� Reiner adds that

enterprise, which

companies are collaborating with customer for

there is a role for organisations such as

you can crunch.�

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December 2017



Special Technology Report

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Big Data Analytics

New and external data sources

impact of retail applications for AI, either


through integration with existing workflows or

What are likely to be some of the key

by creating new ones. It also explores

developments in the world of Demand

strategies for navigating AI as a retail or

Forecasting & Planning/S&OP solutions over

Payne added that

information technology (IT) vendor, and the

the next year or two? Garsmeur said that,

there are also new

imperative for both to adopt a data-focused

longer term, IoT and smart things will interact

and external data

mind set. Key market participants include

to make decisions within certain parameters

sources that are

Amazon, Ocado, IBM and Softbank.

of acceptance. “If there are standard

starting to come to

deviations of exception, then you’ll want

the fore. “You could,

“Improving and refocusing the customer

human intervention, but if there’s not, then

for instance, start

experience online and offline must be the

these things can just interact and essentially

looking at weather

guiding principle for all retail businesses,�

run it for you,� he commented. “Ultimately,

data and that could

says digital transformation research analyst,

it’s about how we leverage these different

have a big impact on where and how you sell

Vijay Michalik. “Large tech-driven firms and

and better data sets to improve forecasts, to

products. A lot of products are weather

retail tech start-ups are leading growth,

better understand our forecasting and how

sensitive and different demographics react in

particularly in e-commerce, and data network

demand and supply interact.�

different ways to that. Also, you might have

effects may mean that laggards never catch

social data coming through in terms of a

up. Older e-commerce and brick-and-mortar

Castellina anticipates more connected

sentiment that is being shown on rating

retailers must urgently adopt these

planning; connecting the individual aspects

websites. So, if you have your foundation

technologies to regain their competitive

of planning to each other. He also foresees

working fairly well and you are running the


the continuing development of Cloud

business adequately, you can start to look at

solutions from a planning perspective, and

some of these other sources of structured and

Retailers and tech industry players are

believes agility in planning and forecasting

unstructured data and see whether there are

investing in AI and creating opportunities that

will develop further – “being able to make

other cause-and-effect patterns that you could

will disrupt incumbents. Emerging use cases

changes on the fly to ensure that you are

unearth to help you to improve your plan.�


doing things related to realistic business

• Chat Bots and Virtual Assistants: These AI


tools of direct customer engagement allow

AI and retail

for a seamless experience when ordering

Reiner sees more ongoing developments

Frost & Sullivan states that exponential

products. Chat bots have question-answer

regarding solutions that can help companies

progress in artificial intelligence (AI) and

and recommendation capabilities that make

to better understand their operations; not

machine learning, fuelled by the combination

it a highly scalable yet personal sales

only today in real-time but also in terms of

of Cloud, Big Data and new algorithms, is


better understanding what will likely occur

transforming the retail industry. Frost &

• Marketing and Segmentation: AI models

tomorrow, next week, next month and next

Sullivan comments that as AI leverages Big

can use data sets to predict and prioritise

year. “So, it’s about expanding the time

Data to automate, predict and personalise,

the most successful campaigns and

horizon and the solutions that support this

retail is testing and implementing these

channels, and provide these insights to

need,� he says. For example, he makes the

applications to garner robust competitive

decision makers.

point that if I am a service organisation and I

advantages. According to Frost & Sullivan,

• Inventory and Supply Chain Optimisation: In

am providing services to a number of

the key focus for AI in retail is customer

addition to increased accuracy and

companies and a company asks if I can

relationships. In times of concerns for the

timeliness over traditional systems, AI tools

service a new fleet

retail sector in the UK where sales posted

can predict future supply-demand

they have, or all

biggest quarterly fall since 2010, the


these stores that

refashioning of this industry comes as a

they have, as a

breath of fresh air, with many opportunities to

“In the AI age, data is digital gold and data

service organisation


inequality will prove a major battleground,�

I need to be clear

says Michalik. “Optimisation across all

about whether I

‘Global Artificial Intelligence Opportunities in

business functions will require an ever-

have the capacity to

Retail, 2017’, new research from Frost &

growing pipeline of data collection that will

handle this request.

Sullivan’s Connected Industries Growth

demand new hardware, software and

It shouldn’t take me

Partnership Service, offers an overview of AI

networking investments. The market must also

three months to

and its relevance to business in 2017. The

pay attention to security requirements for AI

answer the question;

study assesses the commercial viability and

and customer-analysis data collection.�

it should be a very





December 2017

/$.0 2 0-/0.*20 &0., -/21++0,2%1/1!0%0/,*2

Big Data Analytics

-%2 1 /0*2 .0+01.("2 *2

Special Technology Report

quick response

planners are doing lots of manual tasks and

Big Data Analytics – the Warehouse

because otherwise I

slipping in and out of spreadsheets, and as

Management and Voice-directed Picking

am likely to lose the

companies embrace new business models


business to

and look at digital products and services

Is Big Data Analytics having a significant

somebody else. So,

and new markets they are increasingly

impact on the world of Voice-directed

I need to think about

realising they can’t go on like this; they can’t

Picking & Replenishment solutions and/or

visibility in terms of

have this low level of planner productivity

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)?

longer term capacity

where they are nurse-maiding the technology

For initial clarification, Shahroze Husain,

– whether it’s the

a lot of the time. That all needs to be done at

analyst, autoID & data capture, VDC

capacity of my own

a higher level of productivity. The planners

Research, said organisations are investing in

workforce or the

can then do more value-added things such

data scientists and data analysts to combine

capacity of my

as looking at the different trade-offs and

insights from data silos including WMS,

supply chain;

scenarios or developing their relationships

CRM, ERP and sales databases to gain

because third-party

with other key stakeholders within the

actionable insights and form strategies for


growth. Husain pointed out that Big Data is

logistics companies have limits – they are

being analysed more as raw data by data

asked to do all sorts of things that can affect the margins of the organisations they are

Payne adds that there is also an issue

scientists today to identify key trends and

supplying services to.

regarding talent; having the right people for

variables to help grow the business.

planning. “If you have more machine

However, he explained that Warehouse

“At some point, the supply chain can start to

learning and you are encoding more of the

Management Systems are approaching this

fail, so there needs to be a long-term view of

knowledge of your senior planners, then you

via the integration of BI and analytics tools

what your demand will likely be, and you

are less likely to lose that knowledge when

within WMS product packages, which can be

need to be able to give organisations within

they retire or move on. Another issue is

leveraged for insights. “We are starting to

your supply chain a view of what they need to

planner turnover. It can be hard to keep

witness the impact of Big Data on improved

plan for,” he said. “They have limited capacity

younger planners in the role – many don’t

forecasting of demand to optimise inventory

and need to plan in advance. If the supply

want to stay with one company, they want to

levels and open the opportunity for more

chain starts to break down it can have a

move on to something else. So, encoding

intelligent stock management systems and

knock-on effect sometimes involving liability

more of that best practice knowledge into

eventually for complete automation of

and health & safety issues from a workforce

the algorithms means companies can hold

warehouse and distribution centre

management perspective. This is largely why

onto that knowledge more effectively, and

environments,” he said.

long-term planning is so important.” So, with

this helps them to retrain and be far more

regard to technology, Reiner explains that

value adding that they often are today.”

Sharmila Annaswamy, senior research analyst, industrial automation & process

companies want a very quick and simple way of communicating between all the parties

David York, regional vice president sales, UK

control, Frost & Sullivan, believes Big Data

involved in the supply chain. “This need will

and Ireland, Epicor, believes Cloud-based

Analytics offers a huge opportunity within the

probably result in more application

systems and the continued proliferation of

warehouse management and Voice

development, more information being

Cloud migration will no doubt have a large

marketplace. “Big Data Analytics is the next

available to the people who execute work

effect on planning-related software solutions

step that we are going to see develop in a

orders, and more information being available

in the future, and indeed in some cases are

major way,” she said. “There might be

to people who supply services to you.”

already starting to do so. He added that

hundreds of people

there are several reasons for this; including

in a warehouse,

ease of communication and ability to pull

receiving Voice

More predictive and prescriptive analytics

down your business’s scheduling data at a

commands and

moment’s notice to any device. York also

picking and

Payne considers that, in terms of algorithmic

pointed out that planning and scheduling

replenishing objects.

supply chain planning, we will see more

software is a constantly shifting and

Then, at the end of

predictive and prescriptive analytics. He also

changing landscape, that that it can be hard

the day when

believes we will see a lot more machine

for manufacturers to know which system can


learning, neural networks and deep learning.

align most closely with their business needs.

managers look at

“This will help with digitalisation and with

“Because of this, systems that can be

the statistics that are

degrees of automation,” he says. “A lot of

responsive and demonstrate flexibility and

available through

end-user companies today are worried about

agility will always be sought after and in high

using Big Data

the productivity of their planners. Many of the

demand,” he said.

Analytics, they can

- 1 2 -("1'- *2$-!-,1' ,.1/+ ).%1,-)/ .0+01.("21/1' +,*2



December 2017



Special Technology Report

"1".) 02 #+1-/* 1/1' +,*21#,) 2 2$1,12(1&,#.0*

Big Data Analytics

get to know things

necessarily need to see the Big Data involving

taking all these

that could have

shipments coming from all my logistics

pieces of supply

been done to

providers from Shenzhen, or what container

chain and social


certain products are in and so on,� he said. “If

media data to see if


I’m planning, on the other hand, I need to

any useful

know when items need to be delivered and

correlations can be

therefore when I’m due to have them in

made using Big

The labour issue



According to Dwight

Ball explained that the supply chain is where

Wilson, expert in

Klappich, research

a lot of the real value of Big Data comes into

supply chain

VP, Gartner, the Big

play. “It used to be the that most things were


Data questions are

vertically integrated, so you could see

Capgemini, sees

mainly around how

The things Steve "1.%-'12 //1+ 1% * +0/-).2.0+01.("21/1' +,* -/$#+,.-1'21#,)%1,-)/2 &.)(0++2()/,.)'*22

everything within your own four walls virtually.

being actively

do warehouse professionals leverage data to

Then, you had groups of local suppliers,

implemented are productivity management

gain insights of learning and to process tasks

which meant there were also your suppliers’

applications associated with WMSs. “The

better. “Labour is a big issue – we are seeing

suppliers. So, every time you add a tier to the

WMSs of JDA/RedPrairie and Manhattan, for

people wanting to use machine learning

supply chain you increase it by two

example, have as part of their solutions a very

capabilities that can say ‘am I improving?’ or ‘if

transactions – one the suppliers need to get

well-developed productivity management

I could tune this process better could I

the goods in, and two they need to ship them

capability that is based on transactional data

increase my throughput?’ That’s certainly a big


from the WMS,� he explained. “WMSs are execution systems and are not designed as BI

goal; it’s certainly an absolute goal in ecommerce because you’ve got to keep

Ball added, that planners who are really on

systems per se, but they can take all the

pumping more and more goods through the

top of things might be looking two, three or

transactional data from Voice applications and

warehouse. But that’s not the only industry

four levels back through the chain. “If they are

scan guns and send that across into the

where you see very similar situations – service

tracking raw materials they might want to

workforce management or labour

parts look a lot like ecommerce warehouses,

know when they are going to be shipped from

management module that comes with the

for example. So, there are some real

the mill,� he said. “If it’s certain types of metal

WMS. That module is designed to run reports

opportunities with Big Data, but regrettably I

goods they need, they may want to know

on productivity etc. at an individual level, so

think warehousing is a little behind other areas

what shipments are coming from the mines to

this means the core part of the WMS isn’t

in exploiting it. Nevertheless, I think we are

their suppliers, and want to know about any

slowed down and its performance remains

playing catch-up and making progress pretty

other issues that might possibly create

very good because the labour management or


disruption to the supply chain.�

workforce management part holds the

Bryan Ball, vice president and group director

Ball reflected that because this type of Big

– supply chain and global supply

Data information is now more commonly

management practices, Aberdeen Group,

available, it can make people involved in the

Wilson added that a company could in

reflected that, today, companies have access

supply chain feel more comfortable. He

principle decide to send that data into their

to more data than ever before. He made the

explained that they can, for example, receive

own data lake and extract it in a different way

point that much of this data could potentially

more alerts concerning possible supply chain

to run reports. “But the leading WMSs have

be of value to a

constraints in advance, giving them time to

this capability for labour-management already

company, but

plan around the problem.

built in, and since it’s assigned to do that job

performance data at an individual transaction level ready to be analysed.�

that’s what we see people using,� he said. “It’s

different people

straightforward, it’s relatively easy to configure

within an

-!",2 '1&&-("* .0+01.("2 *2



organisation will

Monitoring social media

and it drives value. From a warehouse

essentially require

On the end-customer side, Ball thinks it is

perspective, that is where the big data is.�

different types of

useful to monitor the many miscellaneous

data at different

sources of information that are accessible

Andy Briggs, technical director, BEC (Systems

times. “For example,

from social media. “This can help companies

Integration) Ltd., explained that much of the

if I’m on scheduling

to work out what they need to prioritise on the

business intelligence in solutions to date has

goods into the

design side, what products they need to offer

focused on users; for example, the

warehouse or picking

and where they need to offer them,� he said.

performance/productivity of operatives. “We

orders I don’t

“On the demand planning side, it’s about

expect that we are going to see much more use



December 2017

Big Data Analytics

Special Technology Report

“If you put that

of the masses of data

. 1/2 1''*2 2 2!.)#& $-.0(,).2 2!') 1'2+#&&' %1/1!0%0/,2&.1(,-(0+*2

that can be gathered


together with Big Data

through our

From an integration perspective, van

analytics, warehouse


Montfort sees an increase in the amount of

managers will just


standardised/default integration possibilities

need to monitor their

systems, giving the

that are built-in in Big Data/Analytics

phones to know

ability to monitor all

solutions,� he said. “However, the added

what’s happening in

business process,

value of Big Data/Analytics should be in

the warehouse. That

transparency across

correlating a high variety of data sources,

would be one big leap

many sites,� he said.

as such I doubt whether Big Data/Analytics

for warehouse

“The large volumes of

solutions should focus on building specific


quantitative data will

interfaces and instead should put more

systems.� Annaswamy

enable very accurate

emphasis on developing more common and

also believes there will

measurement and

flexible interfaces; for example, REST APIs.�

continue to be moves in the direction of

,0 02 -'+)/*20 &0.,2-/ +#&&' 2("1-/ %1/1!0%0/,*

biometrics and towards augmented reality with

forecasting of

respect to data capture-type devices.

resources – labour, energy, materials etc. – and

With regard to the Software as a Service

provide immediate real-time quality and

(SaaS)/Cloud model, van Montfort made the

reliability measures, with triggers for anomalies,

point that these trends have lowered the

Voice and vision

and exceptions which can then be handled

entrance barrier for companies to start using

One type of technology Wilson sees on the


Big Data/Analytics. “These developments

horizon is integration of Voice and vision;

allow companies to focus on the usage of the

specifically, augmented reality type glasses.

Joost van Montfort, product manager data

technologies and delivering value to their end

“This has Voice plus the vision element, and it

science, Vanderlande Industries, believes the

customers instead of developing them

may prove to be a challenge to Voice solutions,�

lift-off of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT)

internally,� he said, adding that, at

he said. “I don’t know of any place in the UK that

is a key current discussion point within

Vanderlande, this has been one of the main

has implemented this yet, but I do know of one

industry. He added that the gap between

differentiators for the company’s Big Data

implementation in the US that is using Google

Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data/Data

Analytics activities to take off.

Glass integrated with one of the leading WMSs.

Science applications is becoming smaller, and

It gives an increased level of capability beyond

explained that Vanderlande recognised a

Voice. It allows the picking operator to scan

difference between BI and Data Science in

Robotics and automation

barcodes by just looking at them; because of the

terms of the way BI focuses on descriptive

What might be the next innovations or

way the glasses work they know what you’re

and diagnostic analytics and is therefore more

developments to look out for in the world of

looking at and so are able to pass commands

static by nature. van Montfort explains that Big

Voice and WMS in the near future? Husain

through vision.�

Data/Data Science is focused on predictive

anticipates three key areas of future

and prescriptive analytics and more versatile

development: First, he cites, the integration of

van Montfort foresees the wider adaptation of

and flexible.

modules to control/execute instructions to

Process Mining in the logistics domain, further

robotics and automation solutions. “WMS

development and acceptance of predictive and

In terms of drivers for these changes, van

solutions today are continuing their evolution

prescriptive models, e.g. decision support

Montfort pointed out that Vanderlande sees a

towards what MES solutions are today for

systems, and versatility in the way data/insights

trend within its end-

manufacturers,� he said. Secondly, Husain

are presented to end-user, e.g.

customer base end

believes there will be a greater shift to the

Virtual/Augmented reality and chatbots.

for more demand for

Cloud, but added that security concerns

(near) real-time

are/will be a roadblock. Thirdly, he foresees

Briggs believes Voice could spread from

insights, more focus

further development regarding open APIs for

warehousing into manufacturing for assembly,

on the end-to-end

better communication between SCM systems

inspections etc., while Bellwood thinks that,

process instead of

and devices.

without doubt, software robots offer a great

individual process steps, and more ))+,2 1/2 )/, ).,* &.)$#(,2%1/1!0. $1,12+(-0/(0*

opportunity for deployment in warehouses. “No Annaswamy also anticipates that warehouse

holidays, sick days, even sleep – and they don’t

control on operations

robotics is going to continue to be one of the key

need supervision or further ‘training’ once

in other words

developments within increasingly autonomous

programmed to do a specific task,� he said.

becoming more pro-

warehouses. “I think that within five to ten years

“Clearly, robots have the potential to remove

active instead of

we will see warehouses either completely

human error from the warehouse workplace as


automated or completely autonomous,� she said.

well as do certain tasks more efficiently.�



December 2017



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Success story

2&-*4 02 .'4,%5*2)(3/#5leaps into the future as early adopter of QAD Channel Islands UX omvita is a global natural

“The core of Comvita’s

Comvita with an adaptable and

products company in the

strategy is connection to the

device-independent user

health food industry committed

source,� notes Scott Coulter,

experience that is personalised

to the development of

Comvita CEO. “We

for each activity and user to

innovative products, backed by


authentically, produce, grow,

increase efficiency, simplify task

ongoing investment in scientific research. The

control and manage our

completion and provide insight

company is the world leader in Manuka honey

supply chain. Probably the

for decision-making.

and fresh-picked olive leaf extract, which are

biggest challenge in our

at the core of the Comvita product range.

source-to-shelf model is that

Rather than simply replacing a

one day we’re talking to a

user interface, the Channel

Comvita has four main product categories:

beekeeper in the field in a

Islands initiative offers Comvita

functional foods, health care, personal care

remote part of New Zealand

an updated architecture for QAD

and Medihoney. The company sells into

and the next day we’re with

many countries through a network of

an e-commerce graduate,

Comvita-branded retail locations, online

millennial in Korea who’s

(seven country specific e-commerce

talking about social media

websites) and third-party outlets. Comvita

marketing – there’s a great

has over 500 employees located in New

breadth of complexity when

Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South

you’re running a source-to-

Korea, UK and the US.

shelf model.�

2)"1035%1-.05 4*3)45%3)2&. %2-510.5 3/& 35'2/4#53/+50'4 *2)(3/#5'3.5$-430,# 4 (3/+4+5 20'510.5(-2+&*0 ,1/4.53/+5+1.0-1 &012/ *'3//4,.53.5105'3.5$-2!/ 5

Cloud ERP and related solutions; resulting in a modern UX with full support for mobility and the flexibility to support new user experience requirements as they arise.

Taking advantage of an API-based architecture, Channel Islands offers Comvita

At age 63, founder Claude Stratford started

Comvita’s expansion in retail markets has

the option of using a HTML5 user interface

making and selling a range of bee products

resulted in exceptional growth and an

that supports mobile access out of the box –

from the basement of his home in Paengaroa.

increased need for access to critical data

which means Comvita’s QAD Cloud ERP and

He was joined two years later by Alan


related QAD solutions can run anywhere, anytime and on any device with a modern

Bougen, now Comvita’s deputy chairman, and


the two set out with a clear mission: “To

“QAD technology has aided our expansion

improve people’s health and wellbeing by

particularly in Asia,� adds Coulter. “Over 50%

using the power of nature.�

of our sales are now online. That’s massive

Channel Islands also takes the realities of

change over the last three to four years for us.

Comvita’s current and future business

Understanding who that customer is and

environment into account by providing a

being able to talk to them, is a critical part of

variety of native mobile applications. Some of

our future success. Product innovation is a

the key capabilities of Channel Islands UX

key part of our strategy but so is information


Comvita first became famous for its Manuka

technology. We were aware of the new

• Secure access with a single sign-on using

honey and the company has greatly

Channel Islands UX project by QAD and we

expanded both its product

wanted in as early adopters.�

The challenge: Company success and growth creates need for better information sharing strategy

any browser • Activity feeds that enable users to follow and receive information based on user

lines and distribution channels as it has grown. Comvita’s drive for expansion and innovation

defined criteria

The solution: Becoming an early adopter of QAD Channel Islands UX

• Drop and drag techniques for attaching any type of file to a record • Integrated inbox messaging from within

coupled with its iron-clad commitment to quality makes the


Comvita had recently upgraded to QAD Cloud ERP, which made the

ability to access and disseminate critical data to

company eligible to be an early

and from anywhere

adopter of QAD’s new Channel

imperative for keeping

activity feeds, menus fields and tabs • Simultaneous access to multiple workspaces and programs

Islands UX.

• Full browse search with drill-down and

customers’ trust in the integrity of Comvita’s products.





December 2017

• Streamlined usability with customisable

QAD’s Channel Islands UX initiative provides

linking capabilities

QAD Cloud ERP Cloud ERP Exclusively for Manufacturing Companies

“The all inclusive price of QAD Cloud ERP is lower than the average cost of a traditional licensed on-premise solution� - Aberdeen Group QAD Sir Stanley Clarke House 7 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom, B32 1AF +44 (0) 121 506 6500

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Success story

application through a browser based

departments – Users can easily view recent changes and updates to the data

platform,” comments Dan Waugh, general manager of information and communications

• Streamlined transactions by connecting people & processes with full personalisation

technology for Comvita.

• Improved operations through a simple, intuitive interface & built-in collaborative

He continues: “Through Channel Islands, our

activity feeds

users can access more information and

'3//4,5 .,3/+.5 54/3 ,4.5 2)"103 &.4-.5025'3"453**4..50253/51/0&101"4 300-3*01"451/04-%3*4 5025 45)2 1,4 53/+ 025!2- 5!10'50'45 53((,1*3012/ 0'-2&$'535 -2!.4-5 3.4+5(,30%2-) 5

• Added efficiencies leveraging mobile

collaborate more effectively. We are a global company and it’s really important for us to

computing – The improved accessibility

share information efficiently and effectively.

allows Comvita access from anywhere on

Channel Islands enables us to do that through

any device

its social and collaboration features.” “Being in the early adopter program gives us

The benefits: Early adoption of Channel Islands UX offers opportunity for collaboration on product development “Channel Islands enables our users to have

Some of the other benefits Comvita has seen

access to QAD’s research and development

with Channel Islands include:

team and that means we’re able to have input into the product,” comments Waugh.

• Time savings by providing a single place to

“Our feedback is taken on board, and we’re

enter data – no need to move between

able to trial and test the latest technology


from QAD.”

access to an intuitive, attractive interface, to

• Increased user satisfaction

be mobile, and to work with the QAD

• Improved collaboration between

Corporate Profile

Enterprise Applications is a complete ERP suite designed to


address the needs of global manufacturers.

In 1979, QAD was founded by Pamela Lopker, who was

QAD Enterprise Applications has been a leading ERP solution

later joined by her husband Karl Lopker, as a small start-up

for global manufacturers in the automotive, high-tech, food

solution to address a large gap in complete, integrated

and beverage, consumer, industrial and life sciences

business software for manufacturing companies.

industries for several decades.

QAD began with a few local customers, supporting them

QAD Enterprise Applications supports multiple local

from the company’s headquarters in Santa Barbara,

languages and country-specific business practices and legal

California. However, as customers took their brands to the

requirements. QAD Enterprise Applications’ domain

next level – international – QAD adapted quickly to keep up.

architecture enables you to easily configure ERP to match

Today QAD supports customers in over 100 countries

your organisational structure including support for shared

around the world. QAD’s products have gone global, too,


and the company has spent years innovating and growing its offering as customers expand their businesses overseas.

QAD designed its ERP for manufacturers and has never

You will often hear the company say that at the heart of

deviated from that commitment. Whether you operate a

QAD is a strong and loyal customer community. The

single plant or span the globe, QAD Enterprise Applications

company believes that to create the best full-featured

is built for manufacturers; it’s built for you.

manufacturing ERP software for customers QAD and its customers need to work together. QAD prides itself on its

Industrial markets served

customer engagement and its commitment to continually

QAD serves the following manufacturing sub verticals:

evolve as the manufacturing industry changes.

Life Sciences. Automotive.

It has been over three decades; QAD still focuses solely on

Industrial Manufacturing.

manufacturing – living and breathing it every day alongside

Electronics/Hi Tech.

its customers. QAD’s passion is your advantage. Become an

Food & Beverage.

Effective Enterprise with us.

Consumer Products.

Solutions offered

Countries served

Effective manufacturers depend on their enterprise resource


planning (ERP) solution to streamline business operations and to scale and adapt as their business changes. QAD





December 2017


Success story

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

(1*2-5 5 5Synchronising the data of three diverse European companies ounded in 1971, KMF had already


grown into one of the UK’s largest and most successful sheet metal manufacturing plants when it expanded operations with the

acquisition of two additional engineering businesses in recent years. Now helmed under the newly formed KMF Group, the company consists of KMF Precision Sheet Metal and KMF Precision Engineering in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, as well as the sister company to KMF Precision Sheet Metal in Slovakia. Together, these organisations have combined to deliver fully integrated bespoke metal work and precision sheet metal fabrication solutions from three facilities totalling 110,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing and office space. This includes

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the design and production of sheet metal parts and other intricate components such as

supporting hundreds of companies across

lighting and circuitry for use in everything from

Europe,� said Keith Nicholl, commerical

commercial coffee and car park machines to

director, KMF Group. “Future plans call for

kiosks found across England.

exceeding $50 million in sales by 2021. The

This commitment was reinforced several years

thorough understanding of customer needs

ago when KMF implemented the Epicor

“KMF has steadily evolved from a local

combined with the ongoing investment in the

enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to

provider of basic sheet metal products to a

finest technologies is expected to fuel our

manage processes, develop “rich

supplier of complex engineering services

growth for the next decade and beyond.�

performance reports� across departments,

Rich reporting with Epicor ERP

and automate communications both companywide and with customers. Other immediate benefits included the ability to instantaneously track jobs from order through delivery, while alerting KMF to issues that can be readily resolved before becoming problematic.

Uniting three independent operating systems Most recently, the Epicor ERP solution proved integral to uniting the operating systems of all three KMF companies under the Group umbrella. Using the Epicor Data Management Tool (DMT), historical data from three separate databases was imported into Epicor,

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simplifying the future integration process should KMF decide to merge all three sites into one.



December 2017



\\\ Manufacturing \\\ “Data is absolutely everything,� explained

Success story

Epicor DMT—the pipeline for mass data migration

KMF Group – company facts

into our system had stunted our growth for a

“We needed a way to synchronise the

long time. The language barriers and

information between all three companies to

differing monetary and legacy systems were

better understand each organisation’s

Nicholl. “The inability to absorb not only an

entire organisation, but their detailed files

2*3012/ 5 4!*3.0,4 &/+4- #)4 /$,3/+5 /+&.0-# 5 -4*1.12/5.'4405)403, )3/&%3*0&-1/$5 &) 4-52%5 )(,2#44. 5 5 4 .104 5!!! )% *2 & 5

too much to overcome until we launched

customers and develop methods for selling

Success highlights

Epicor DMT. It literally took just four days to

companywide solutions rather than single jobs,�


download the information from our latest

said Jeng Lim, systems analyst, KMF. “The

acquisition into Epicor ERP. We turned off

chore was to migrate the data from multiple

the old system on Thursday, did the transfer

distinct systems. Epicor DMT provided the

on Friday and began working with all the

pipeline for verifying and validating these details


new, fresh data on Monday.�

on a cell-by-cell basis as well as cleansing the

Epicor DMT was developed to import,

gaps. Once the templates were set all you had


update, and delete application data safely

to do was press ‘go.’ It was just that easy.�

data for use in a user-friendly manner without

and efficiently. Many companies implementing a new ERP system have vast

“We’ve heard about systems that had to be shut

amounts of information to transfer, and to

down for weeks to transport and store this type

enter this data manually would be far too

of information,� added Nicholl. “Epicor DMT did

time-consuming. Epicor DMT uses a

the job in one weekend without duplicating

template builder to help understand the

efforts. With the ability to analyse complete

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)(2-04+5'1.02-1*3,5+3035%-2) )&,01(,4 5+1.01/*05.#.04).51/025 (1*2-5 -2"1+4+50'45(1(4,1/45%2-5"4-1%#1/$ "3,1+301/$ 53/+5)4-$1/$5+4031,.5%-2) 3,,50'-445*2)(3/14.52/535*4,, # *4,, 3.1.5 ,43/.4+5+3035%2-5&.451/535&.4- %-14/+,#5)3//4-5!10'2&05$3(.5 4"4,2(4+5)40'2+.5%2-5.4,,1/$ *2)(3/#!1+45.2,&012/.5

customer entity and establish the required

customer histories in a single summary, we can

fields. The extracted data is then formatted

now create solutions that wouldn’t have been

forms of errors. This alone has increased our

into CSV, ExcelÂŽ MicrosoftÂŽ, or similar files

possible beforehand. Plus, we’ve built checks

bottom line by lowering shipping order mistakes

for import into the Epicor ERP system.

into each new site that now alert us to various

at these locations from 10 percent to zero.�

Epicor Software Corporation


Corporate Profile

Food and Beverage Epicor Software Corporation drives business growth. The

Furniture and Fixings

company provides flexible, industry-specific software that is

Industrial Machinery

designed around the precise needs of manufacturing,

Medical Devices

distribution, retail, and service industry customers. More than

Mills and Metals

40 years of experience with customers’ unique business


processes and operational requirements is built into every

Printing and Packaging

Epicor solution – in the Cloud or on premises. With a deep

Rubber and Plastics

understanding of your industry, Epicor solutions spur growth while managing complexity. The result is powerful solutions that


free your resources, so you can grow your business.

Automotive Builders and Timber Merchants

Solutions offered

Consumer Goods

Employing innovative service-oriented architecture (SOA) and


Web services technology, Epicor delivers end-to-end, industry-


specific scalable enterprise software solutions for

Fluid Power

manufacturing, distribution, services, retail, and hospitality that

HVAC Wholesalers

enable companies to increase efficiencies, improve


performance, and build competitive advantage.

Medical Supplies Petroleum

Industrial markets served

Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Allied


Plumbing Wholesalers

Aerospace and Defence Automotive

Countries served

Construction and Engineering


Electronic and High Tech Fabricated metals





December 2017


Become a Factory of the Future

With more than 40 years of industry knowledge and experience, Epicor provides proven software solutions to help manufacturers grow their business. Epicor can help you: Become

more agile and productive waste and inefficiencies Streamline operations Cut

It takes future-thinking leaders and leading-edge software to become a factory of the future. Epicor will help you get there. | | T. 01344 468468

Please visit to download “The Factory of the Future” eBook and discover how disruptive technologies and megatrends will shape manufacturing.

Copyright ©2017 Epicor Software Corporation. All rights reserved. Epicor, the Epicor logo, and grow business not software are registered trademark or trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation in the United States and certain other countries.

Special Technology Report


Resourceful thinking Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about recent trends and ongoing areas of development within the world of Enterprise Resource Planning. he Enterprise Resource Planning


and moving to the new ERP takes discipline,

industry-specific and even sub-segment

(ERP) landscape has changed

training and a willingness to think differently

specific capabilities is what ERP needs.

substantially in recent times, and

about the notion of ERP.�

Those vendors paying real attention, not just

discussion started in terms of some of the key

a monolith. He elaborated: “Today, given the

areas of development and debate within this

incredible rate of change in essentially all

Driving increased value

all-important technology space, Evan Quinn,

global industries, ERP must be flexible. It

Michiel Schipperus, CEO, Sana Commerce,

principal director – marketing, QAD, made the

must interoperate, extend and integrate with

explained that Sana Commerce looks at the

point that innovations such as Cloud, Big

little effort – for the needs ERP addresses

ERP space from an e-commerce vendor’s

Data/advanced analytics, Internet of Things

today are out of date tomorrow. Thinking of

perspective, and what the company sees is

(IoT) and modernised, mobile user

ERP more as a platform that includes core

user organisations and vendors seeking to

experiences have been hot subjects over the

processes and data but can be extended

open up the ERP much more widely across

past few years in ERP. However, he added

securely to address customer last mile needs

the organisation. “This is really driving

that perhaps we have put the cart before the

is where ERP is headed.�

increased value from what is already a very

lip service, to vertical depth will survive and

this momentum shows no signs of slowing down. To get the

Quinn added that, historically, ERP has been

valuable but underutilised tool,� he said,

horse. “At least in the manufacturing sector,

*'+ (''$+ &('"( *! (&)"% &+ + *& )%(' $+



there are plenty of

Quinn believes that depth will beat breadth

adding: “ERP is really on the cusp of giving

companies stuck in the

long-term in ERP. “Some of the larger ERP

more decision-making power to people

death spiral of ERP –

providers are throwing all kinds of

across the business, rather than just being

that is, stuck in an old

technologies, an array of technology widgets

something used by a handful of people in the

version because of

and kitchen sinks, into their portfolio,� he

back office or supply chain. After a long time

unwanted but

remarked. “They have forgotten about the

in the shadows its true potential is finally

apparently necessary

most important fundamental of ERP, which is

being unlocked.�

custom code, poor

having ERP that matches and flexes to your

data quality or

business. Too many ERP solutions lack the

misunderstood data,

feature depth for a given vertical industry, and

and inflexible

those ERP purveyors seem bent on

The role of Cloud ERP ecosystems

processes,� he said.

developing beautiful demo ware and not

Schipperus believes much of this ERP

“Getting rid of the old

addressing customers’ needs. Pushing into

transformation is down to the creation of



thrive long-term.�

December 2017


Special Technology Report

broader Cloud-

ERP data,� he said. “Access to the ERP is

based ecosystems

about driving all stakeholders to have

with ERP at their

maximum control. Employees need to be

David Titterington, account manager,

core. “It’s become

more productive through access to

Prodware, commented that end users are

much easier for

information and processing power, customers

always looking for ways to reduce

valuable add-ons,

want a more personalised and tailored

administrative burdens and the time it takes to

including e-

‘journey’ and so on.�

switch tasks. “There has more an increase in the demand for fully integrated applications,

commerce, to be

so that users don’t waste time switching

developed in-sync * )#+ ))&$+#%&*%) (" *!!(*'")+ (&)"% &$+

to shape how they drive ERP value.�

between tasks and applications,� he said.

ERP systems –

ERP in the customers’ hands

‘feeding’ off its rich

Schipperus believes that, ultimately – and

Power BI which was is an integrated but

data for the

although they don’t know it – customers

standalone application has now been

business’ gain,� he said. Schipperus also

should be leveraging the data within the

embedded into each application, ensuring

made the point that mobile development and

system instead of duplicating it and trying

users have all the tools to complete their daily

use of apps based on ERP data is expanding,

keep two sources of truth, which is not

tasks in a timely manner.�

which is furthering the opportunity to put this

sustainable. “With the necessary apps and

valuable data in the form of business

user-friendly interfaces, certainly in a B2B

According to Titterington, there has also been

intelligence and insight in the hands of wider

setting the ERP can become a customer

an increase in the demand for mobile

ranging people when they need it to make

facing tool. Give customers more choice, in

applications in the business context, with the

important decisions.

line with what they need, and build loyalty.

ability to work from where-ever you are. “Work

Give customers more information, make them

and home life are now integrating further

more in control of the buying process and you

without the once clearly defined boundaries,�

Merging worlds

can remove pressure internally in the

he said. “This means employees expect more

Schipperus added that, from Sana


from technology at work and true mobility

and integrated with

“For example, within Microsoft Dynamics 365,

within ERP applications is key to this.�

Commerce’s perspective, the worlds of ecommerce and ERP are also merging

Movers, shakers and partners

Brendan Read, senior industry analyst –

into these areas, realising that they can become more to organisations as a combined

Schipperus explained that Sana Commerce

commented that companies now expect

offering,� he explained. “As e-commerce

partners with Microsoft and SAP, and is

simplified architectures from their ERP

becomes much more important to businesses

seeing both these vendors really invest in the

systems that can be readily upgraded and/or

too, it makes more sense for vendors to offer

Cloud and develop partner-based

changed to evolve without consultant and

both. “For years, ERP has been the vital

philosophies around development of tools that

vendor assistance. “They are looking for ERP

backbone and over time many third-party

hook into the ERP. “They’re really empowering

products that reduce complexity and manual

applications – including ours – have

partners like us to get the maximum out of

tasks to permit smarter working, and also to

integrated with it. Now that we’re seeing the

their ERP solutions, through their ecosystems

help managers make faster and more

market move to Cloud and development

hosted on Cloud platforms like Azure, where

effective decisions,� he said.

ecosystems being created vendors like us on

you’re collaborating and sharing tools to build

the periphery of ERP can do even more to

systems really closely knitted with these ERP

develop really intuitive tools and help

platforms,� said Schipperus. “Take Cortana

customers extract more and more value from

with Microsoft for example. It’s a great

Game changer

their ERP.�

function to have within an e-commerce

According to Read,

system and being part of the Azure platform

companies are

we’re able to look at building tools like this

looking for ERP

into our own systems.

tools that will allow

together. “Some ERP systems are expanding

Digital transformation Schipperus considers that more digital

digital transformation, Frost & Sullivan,

them to efficiently

business being done also means more use of

“Think how fast technology is changing.

tap the Internet of

digital technologies; whether that is new

Empowering their agile ERP partners is a

Things. “IoT is a

employee processes, supply chain

really smart way for these vendors to stay

game changer for

collaboration or sales channels to customers.

ahead of the game. They remain focused on

ERP as well as for

“All of these new digital processes and digital

the powerful ERP core and their customers

CRM systems in

transformations are absolutely interwoven with

take advantage of a growing network of tools

that it supplies real-

(" ()!+ " ( )& #$ $+



December 2017



Special Technology Report

time usage data from


predictive and prescriptive.�

customer requirements for on-premise

connected devices,�

(" + *#%)!!('*$+ (") &)#( )'%+*' + )#)*&" & + (&)"% &$+

deployment as well,� he said, adding: “Gone

he said. “IoT systems

Hall explained that Epicor is also continuing to

are the days when customers will endure

manage product

see ERP systems extend to the Cloud.

three-year implementations which go out of


According the Hall, these systems will


including with data

eventually become Cloud only (Software-as-a-

as granular as when

Service or SaaS-based), or available as a

Lewis explained that Infor is continuing to see

specific product

hybrid solution. In addition to being a cost-

strong demand for specific last-mile industry

types were

effective solution, Hall commented that a

functionality ‘out of the box’ as nobody wants

consumed, service;

SaaS model provides great flexibility and

customisations. “The importance of

and support, alerting

access to data at any time from any location.

consumer-grade interfaces (and the attendant

users of potential

“Businesses of all sizes are transitioning their

improvement in productivity, and therefore

issues; and by

infrastructure and data ecosystems into the

competitive edge) also continues to drive a lot

providing wear-and-

Cloud to minimise the burden of upgrades

of interest,� he said. Lewis added that what

tear patterns that could help with procuring

and management; freeing up valuable

Infor’s prior focus on integration (with the likes

parts, scheduling repair personnel, to make

resources to focus on innovation and

of Infor ION) has now evolved into is a

design, manufacturing, and service

business growth,� said Hall.

reflection that the company sees the future of

improvements. IoT usage data permits

businesses not just within the four walls of the

companies to provide highly targeted and

Nick Castellina, vice president and Research

company but across the Network of suppliers

hopefully successful offers to customers that

Group director, Aberdeen Group’s Business

and partners.

will result in fewer returns and greater

Planning and Execution practice, commented


that the Cloud continues to be an important part of the ERP conversation, pointing out that

Growth development

However, Read added that IoT complicates

over the years, he has witnessed an

One trend that has re-emerged, according to

the supply chain when there are complex

increasing number of organisations switching

Lewis, is the use of ERP to help develop

products and multiple vendors involved.

to a Cloud solution for their next deployment

growth. “Forward-looking manufacturers are

“Customers want the vendor who they

rather than an on-premise solution. Another

paving the way to increased capacity and

transacted with to manage their entire

area of development highlighted by Castellina

reinforcing the infrastructure to manage larger

purchase,� he said. “Sellers have to organise

is the verticalisation of ERP, where many ERP

volumes,� he said. “Investing in modern ERP

their vendor partners.�

vendors are building solutions that are now

solutions helps manufacturers identify growth

better suited to more tailored industries.

opportunities and take action to seize those

Stuart Hall, sales director, Epicor Software UK

“There is now greater maturation of

opportunities and capitalise on them quickly.

and Ireland, said that with new trends such as

functionality when it comes to individual

First, advanced analytics help spot trends in

IoT, 3D printing, robotics and increased

industries’ use of ERP, he said.

markets, including upward swings in regions

automation in the manufacturing sector, he is

or among target markets or new products.

seeing ERP solutions continually evolve in

Castellina added that there is also a lot of talk

Once upward trends are spotted, changes

order to keep pace. “In 2017, expect to see

about Industry 4.0 and how ERP can be used

can be made to enhance the product line,

more applications that analyse business data

to support that technology. Additionally, he

expand into new regions or focus greater

collected from various sources to offer

explained that there is much discussion

attention on a target market in order to tap

business insight,� he said. “Applications will

around the Internet of Things and desire to

into the potential.

be able to support

have one complete source of information for

Because modern


automating a manufacturing organisation from

software promotes

collaboration and

end to end. Castellina also observes that

efficiency and

facilitate data access

there is a lot of focus on usability, cleanliness,


through responsive

the ability to do more with data and the ability


interfaces. In

for end users to consume that data more

manufacturers can

addition, artificial


often increase output

intelligence (AI) and &(#+ ) * !%$ *'* )&+ +# % *&) #)!)"%( '$+



advanced analytics

Phil Lewis, vice president, solution consulting

without adding

will transform

EMEA, Infor, made the point that ERP has



seen incredible change and progress

applications, making

recently. “Cloud has become table stakes,

Andy Brown, SCS

them even more

although we do continue to see some

divisional leader,



in these new areas,

December 2017

% *&%+ *!!$+#*!)# (&)"% &$+


Special Technology Report

bearing in mind.�

Access Group,

James Speer, strategic alliance director,

stated that when it

Capgmini UK, commented that organisations

comes to ERP, the

with an existing on-premise ERP solution (this

Subramanian made

one thing that

might include or touch other areas such as

the point that there is

today’s end users

finance, supply chain or HR) – SAP and

a high level of

care most about is

Oracle e-business Suite, for example – maybe

competition among

having access to

looking to upgrade, and using this as a

the vendor

information in real

justification to move into the Cloud. “These

community and

time so they can

organisations have two main options; they can


make better

re-implement with SaaS or they can do a ‘lift

improvements are

decisions. “To make

and shift’,� he explained. For organisations

being made within

the most of this data

looking to move to SaaS, Speer believes it is

their core platforms.

you’ll need great

important to understand that although SaaS

“Part of the

business intelligence tools, and increasingly

can be configured, it cannot be ‘customised’.

conversation is about

also the ability to manage and analyse Big

“These organisations have to consider how

which elements of functionality requirement

Data,� he said. “From a production and

they can move from a heavily customised ERP

should become part of these platforms,� he

planning perspective, it will mean having

into a vanilla SaaS ERP, which inevitably

said, adding that the advantage of staying

robust processes in place to capture data on

involves a higher degree of business

vanilla to some extent is that users are able to

the shop floor.�

change,� he said.

take advantage of those developments in a

According to Brown, the ability of applications

Shashi Subramanian, management

and machines to share data – often referred

consultant, Capgemini, commented that

to as Industry 4.0 – has become central to this

companies looking for an alternative ERP

Speer added that, for organisations who want

process. “With manufacturing frequently

model should ask themselves where they are

the benefit of the public Cloud while also

outsourced, ERP systems need to be able to

in terms of their innovation and differentiation

retaining all of the familiarity of the product

talk to live machines, analyse constraints and

activities and goals, and how they can best

that they are already using – including the

track any operating malfunctions so that

ensure that they can continue to do that in the

customisations they have made – a ‘lift and

production planners can arrange for delivery

future. “So, they need to determine whether

shift’ may be the best way forward. “We are

times to be altered or supplies of materials

the best option would be to move into the

seeing a number of SAP customers move

redirected,� Brown pointed out. “The same

private Cloud or move to a SaaS service,� he

onto Amazon Web Services,� he said. “As far

applies to labour capacity; they have to be

said. “If companies want to constantly

as the end-user is concerned, it is still SAP

able to identify bottlenecks and predict

innovate and differentiate then it could

offering the same user experience and all the

shortages if they are going to meet their OTIF

sometimes restrict their ability to do this if they

customisations that may have been made to

{On Time & In Full} promise.�

move to a SaaS model. This is definitely worth

SAP. However, what is largely invisible to the

' + &( #$+%)" '("*! (&)"% &$+

&)' *'+ )* $+#)'( & (' #%& +*'*! #%+ ( (%*!+%&*'# & *%( '$+

slightly easier fashion than if they heavily customise.

end-user is that SAP is running on Amazon Web Services, which can provide a much lower total cost of ownership and other benefits.� Chris Devault, manager of software selection, Panorama Consulting Solutions, made the point that software publishers are driving the current push towards Cloud applications. “Major players in the industry such as Oracle, Microsoft,

(!+ ) (#$+ (") &)#( )'%$+# ! %( ' " '# !%(' + $+

Epicor and Infor are combining typical



December 2017



Special Technology Report


on-premise ERP system functionality into one

evolution of the solutions to meet new and

Quinn believes we

platform that will eventually be their solution

changing needs – always with the goal of

will continue to see

for all industries,� he said. “Vendors are

optimising business outcomes.�

adoption of IoT and

looking to reduce the overall entry cost of

advanced analytics.

software and by implementing out-of-the-box

“They walk hand in

Information sharing through a single solution

hand, but

Andy Briggs, technical director, BEC

to modernise their

Pat Phelan, research VP, Gartner, made the

(Systems Integration) Ltd., commented that

ERP to fake full

point that postmodern ERP strategies offer

the better ERPs try to address all of the

advantage,� he

more ways to satisfy business needs with

business needs in terms of putting together

said. Quinn

greater agility and flexibility. Yet, she stressed

various operational or application strands

considers that we

that postmodern ERP is not easy. “The greater

such as CRM, Sales & Marketing

will also see virtual

number of options creates challenges that

Management, Enterprise Asset Management,

reality and 3D printing continue to gain

many IT enterprises have not focused on in

WMS, Supply Chain and Service &

traction in manufacturing. On the tech front,

the last decade or more,� said Phelan. “One

Maintenance – i.e. putting together different

however, he believes edge computing, as

of the most significant is integration — not just

systems that may have been separate

an adjunct to Cloud, will begin to have an

application integration but the management of

systems with integration links into one

impact. “Want Big Data to fly without

data and process integrity. As postmodern

common environment. In this way, said

impeding ERP? Move to the edge. Want

ERP becomes pervasive, many enterprises

Briggs, all the information can be shared

slender versions of ERP to support smaller

will face increasing complexity, risk and cost

across the business through one solution

remote operations? Can you say Edge?,� he

that they had not foreseen and are not

rather than many. “The better ERPs are


equipped to deal with.�

achieving this by having a common

best practices they are attempting to drive down implementation costs and duration.�

companies will need

*%+ )!*'$ &)#)*&" + $+

architecture upon which all of these modules

Lewis explained that Infor has been

According to Phelan, enterprises must

are built,� continued Briggs. “This is called

pioneering co-innovation – partnering with

become more flexible and agile to seize

‘Service-Oriented Architecture.’ – the platform

new customers in industries that need

business moments. “Traditional ERP

that brings all of these parts together as it has

disrupting – to create completely new

approaches are no longer tenable to meet the

been written purely to achieve this.�

capabilities and improved functionality. “This has been most dramatic in retail, but

pressures to support increasingly dynamic business needs as digital business models

In the case of BEC’s customer Raleigh, for

there is no reason why it cannot be applied

evolve,� she said. “All ERP initiatives are now

example, BEC has enabled warehouse

to industries such as aerospace and

postmodern ERP initiatives as a result of the

functionality in Raleigh’s ERP system so the

automotive or process manufacturing,� he

market forces that have transformed the

company hasn’t had to purchase a WMS. As

said. “Indeed, in some areas such as the

traditional ERP world. A well-defined ERP

a result of bringing this into the ERP system,

heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry,

strategy that responds to the disruptive

Raleigh now has the real-time business

these kinds of partnerships hold a great

challenges created by changes in the

intelligence it would not have had if it was part

deal of promise.�

business strategy is key to success with

of a separate system.

postmodern ERP initiatives. A business-

Lewis added that outside of manufacturing,

owned ERP strategy is crucial to properly

* ( + (%%)&(' % '$ *"" '%+ *'* )&$+


with leading retailers – transforming the way

services from the

What might be the next

in which they interact with customers –

many options

innovations/developments to look out for

driven by customer demands. “Infor

available before

over the next year or two? Schipperus

believes the manufacturing industry needs


commented that, in many ways, it is ERP’s

to learn the lessons of its retail cousins in


rich historic data that holds the key to

the way manufacturers interact not only with

activities. ERP

improving the future customer journey –

their existing customers today but perhaps

investments are long

based on buying patterns, product choices

customers more directly in the future as

term, so after

etc. “ERP’s ability to offer Big Data insights

business models evolve,� said Lewis.

implementation it is

into customer behaviour, not only in a

equally important to

static business analysis environment but

Titterington commented that Microsoft

manage and govern

also as part of an intelligent process, is

Dynamics 365 is a new approach that brings

the ongoing

essential to our world at the customer

together Microsoft’s CRM and ERP solutions

operation and

coalface,� he said.

into one platform with specific, purpose-built




but heavily influential, has been Infor’s work

The road ahead

evaluate and select the right solutions and

December 2017


Special Technology Report

apps for business functions such as Finance,

implemented this technology and are in the

enormous upside

Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and

process of expanding the scope of their

potential. Tools

Operations — with built-in insights,

investments. Another area where Capgemini

used for internal

intelligence, and workflows. “All Dynamics

is seeing increasing awareness revolves

and external

365 apps, plus the wider portfolio of Cloud

around a number of dimensions of information

collaboration will

business solutions like Office 365, share a

data collection for ERP inventory.

continue to improve

common data model to make it easier to

Subramanian explained that the first is ‘how

and be

build, collaborate and grow,� he said. “I see

will my processes benefit my customer?’. “For


more line of business managers making and

example, if I know where my stock is within

influencing IT decisions, this subtle but

the store, can I offer these products to my

Devault added that

important change in procurement of tech is

customer in such a way so as to provide an


driving more app based approach but without

improved customer experience?,� he said.

companies are

the disjointed challenges for IT, hence the

“Then, if I want the customer experience to be

increasing their use

Common Data Model.� Titterington added that

consistent, and have the software and

of software tools for research and design. He

augmented reality (AR) is quickly becoming

hardware in place, how do I ensure that my

continued: “Social media comes into play as

an important technology in the workplace,

store operations are optimised in order to

the Internet of Things provides access to data

bridging the digital world and the physical

ensure staff are fully focused on providing the

that can be leveraged in numerous ways.

world. “During the next few years I think AR

best customer experience? For example, how

Distribution companies are collaborating with

will become more commonplace impacting

do I do receiving, and how do I move stock

customer for more accurate sales forecasting

business activities such as cost effective and

from the back room to the front room? Then, if

which can lead to better MRP calculations

more lifelike training for engineers,� he said.

this is what I need to achieve in the stores

giving companies the ability to optimise

how do I intelligently orchestrate all the stock

inventory levels and locations. Mobility

Castellina commented that there will be a lot

coming in from my vendors across my

continues to be an ever-improving component

more talk around defining what the Internet of

warehouses and logistics centres through my

in the ERP space. From sales teams having

Things is and how it can benefit

3PLs and plan for it in a manner that is the

better access to production and available to

manufacturing businesses in practice. He also

most efficient? Finally, how do I ensure that I

promise data to field service technicians

anticipates the continued development of

can connect seamlessly with all my suppliers

being able to order replacement parts on the

ways by which users can derive maximum

and customers? All this information feeds into


value from connected devices. Overall,

the ERP system, so the more efficient I

Castellina believes we will continue to see a

manage these processes the more efficient

Hall commented that Epicor believes in the

developing trend regarding the further

my ERP will be for my business.�

rise of smart factories. “Simply put, this is

*# (+ &* *'(*'$ *'* ) )'% " '# !%*'%$+

the computerisation of manufacturing-

consumerisation of ERP; making the solutions easier to use and spreading their reach wider

Phelan commented that all scenarios will

machines that are technologically advanced

across business functions within customer

coexist during the next 10 years, and an

enough to communicate with each other,

organisations. “I think it’s all about the

organisation may move through several

monitor physical processes and make

continuing development towards better

scenarios over that time (e.g., on-premises

decisions,� he explained. “Industry

usability and better decision-making,� he said.

monolith to hybrid to flip). “Therefore, CIOs

commentators believe that there are many

and ERP leaders must understand these

benefits of creating a ‘smart’ manufacturing

Subramanian believes there will continue to

scenarios, help their enterprises understand

environment, including greater productivity,

be developments that aim to provide better

what they mean, then jointly decide which

more detailed product specifications, and

quality information,

paths to follow and execute upon their

the potential to reach a wider customer

quicker information

chosen strategic direction,� she said.

base. However, to take full advantage of these ‘smart environments’ it is essential for

and better

manufacturers to use technologically


' + & '$+ ( (#( '*!+!)* )&$+

information. He

Major potential

advanced ERP systems that can support

added that

Devault considers that, in the short term, we

this kind of machine interaction and extract

Capgemini is also

will see vendors using technology to

relevant necessary data. Wholly smart

seeing a resurgence

improve and automate communications and

factories may be some time off yet but

in interest in RFID;

collaboration. “Companies are more in tune

industry is definitely realising that creating

for example, a

with their supply chain to the point of

smart production processes is a ‘smart’ way

number of leading

sharing access to each other systems,� he

to cut costs and increase efficiency.�

retailers have

said. “Getting real-time data and responses


from vendors, and even customers, brings



December 2017





The future belongs

to autonomous transportation


parade of convoys is entering the test phase. Platooning is the name given to the transport chain connected by an invisible rope. With this, freight transportation should become more efficient, and environmental friendlier. But what sense does publicity to hitching manoeuvres bring, if the loading space in the vehicle behind is filled with the sound of echo? If freight related documents are still sent via fax? And the corresponding administration is carried out manually? Gunnar Gburek, TimoCom's company spokesman, considers HGV robots and platooning as only a part of the transport chain. Stagnation occurs not on the road but behind the desk. "Anyone wishing for autonomous trucks to meet their expectations, must ensure that administration processes concerning transport orders are also autonomous", says Gburek. "Otherwise innovative technologies remain in the analogue era." From receipt of an order to invoicing: Gburek is convinced, that processes which continuously run on their own will put autonomous trucks onto the fast lane. At the same time the work of dispatchers and administrative staff is improved. "IT frees staff members from repetitive tasks and helps them get the most out of their job."

Transport order management costs can be reduced by one third TimoCom took yet another important step forward in the autonomous world in the past months. Users have recently been able to carry out their dealings digitally with the new application TC Transport Order. Anyone who allows the system to work for him, can reduce administration costs by at least a third, according to Gburek. And what does the future hold? From





December 2017

Gburek's point of view, autonomous driving, next level, will form part of the Internet of Things (IoT). In this world, machines will recognise with which production quantity a transport order must be initiated. Bulk load pallets become intelligent load carriers, which report their total weight directly to the transport platform. Vehicles automatically dock at the roller doors of a transshipment centre with available loading capacity. Many technological innovations resulting from digitalisation are today a reality or in the trial phase. If logistics and road transport are sustainably optimised, many companies will have to change their way of thinking: "Networking lives from sharing data. Thus, many companies are still reluctant to data sharing, although they have long recognised the advantages of digitalisation", acknowledges Gburek. As an independent and neutral transport platform, TimoCom aims to pave the way for the digital transport era of its users -

including the increasingly more present industry and trade companies. Even today, the registered users are already autonomous – independent of the system in use, they can exchange data via the platform thanks to interfaces. Even order related chats are possible. The company size is of no significance to take part in the transport market opportunities. Where is the transport sector headed? One of the goals of autonomous transportation is to reduce the number of empty kilometres and increase efficiency in the transport environment. Not everything will change dramatically, assures Gburek: "Loading space remains loading space". The company's spokesman is convinced that HGV drivers will always be necessary and compares the situation with air freight: "A large part of what a pilot had to do 50 years ago is completely automated nowadays. Nonetheless, a pilot is still required."


TimoCom specialises in the development and connection of applications for the road goods transport industry. The IT specialist runs what it claims to be Europe's largest transport platform. On the TimoCom platform, up to 750,000 international and national freight and vehicle offers are entered daily. There are more than 38,500 verified companies in the logistics network. The advantages of the TimoCom transport platform include: • Thousands of new business contacts from all across Europe. • Freight exchange with more than half a million international offers daily. • Warehousing exchange with up to 30,000 logistics possibilities in 44 countries. • Fixed tenders and quick determination of market price. • Tracking interface for over 230 telematics systems. • Offer-related chat including export function. • Transport barometer app for optimal market overview. • Also available on mobile devices. • Attractive monthly flat rate. A standard for all TimoCom customers is the multi-level security package, the basis for transparent and honest business.

Solutions offered TC Truck&Cargo: The freight and vehicle exchange where customers can enter offers and close deals in real time. TC eBid : The platform for pan-European transport tenders. TC Transport Order: The digital solution for your transport order: Request quotes digitally and manage transport orders. TC eMap: The route calculation and tracking solution combines all standard telematics systems. TC Profile: The business directory with more than 38,500 transport and logistics companies and an integrated up- and download feature for documents. TimoCom debt collection. Industrial markets served Road haulage, freight forwarding, manufacturing, trade, supply chain management, logistics companies (All involved in roads goods transport industry and the logistics chain). Countries served Pan-European.

Corporate Profile

TimoCom Softand Hardware GmbH


Your digital transport orders in good hands! With TC Transport Order®, you can handle your transport orders directly within the TimoCom transport platform.

Optimise your business processes with TC Transport Order®



December 2017



Warehouse Management


Success story

Data delivers for ALSO Finland ‘Data science’ may not be a new idea in the world of corporate business. However, introducing this concept into the increasingly complex logistics landscape could prove transformative and hugely beneficial for warehouses and distribution centres globally.


he scale and complexity of the automated solutions being integrated into material handling operations continues to rise. However, incorporating new technology and assimilating it with existing work streams is not always a seamless process. This is where the intelligent use of data could provide the key to unlocking sustainable solutions and creating more effective operations. Through ‘process mining’ – a technique that allows for the automatic discovery and analysis of processes based on event logs – companies are better able to identify issues, isolate bottlenecks and generate improvements.

measured, Vanderlande was able to analyse it to identify the main inefficiencies within the workflow. This allowed the company’s process engineers to highlight key areas for improvement.

minor, low-cost adjustments to their working methods.”

Future potential

Seeking solutions This was certainly the case for Finnish IT product and services supplier, ALSO Finland. Following the development of a new facility equipped with Vanderlande’s ADAPTO warehousing solution, ALSO realised that it needed its system to deliver a greater capacity in order to meet the demands of its customers. By interfacing state-of-the-art process mining techniques with ADAPTO, Vanderlande’s process engineers worked closely together with ALSO to gather precise ‘real-time’ data from cartons and totes as they travelled through the system. This generated an accurate account of how the system was performing and the manner in which operators were interacting with it.

Delivering capacity Once all the data had been collated and 26




December 2017

Recommendations incorporated a number of ‘quick wins’, including minor adjustments to the system’s thresholds, as well as modifications to the actions taken by operators. Subsequently, this helped ALSO to realise an increase in picking capacity of over 20% with minimal capital investment. “Through process mining, we almost always find opportunities for optimisation, which can be achieved without having to invest in a large-scale system transformation,” says Vanderlande’s Senior Process Engineer Erik Blokhuis. “Frequently we see that by changing the little things, we can achieve significant results. “This was the case when we undertook this joint project with ALSO. They didn’t need to make wholesale changes to the system or invest in additional technology in order to achieve the required capacity. The data gave us the insights that allowed ALSO to overcome many of their challenges through

When data is put to good use, process mining offers an excellent opportunity to facilitate continuous optimisation of business performance based on real information reporting and analysis. For companies such as Vanderlande, it represents a significant step forward in designing, installing, operating and optimising smart material handling solutions and processes that deliver value in an intelligent way. As process mining is less advanced in the logistics industry than the corporate business environment, Vanderlande is cooperating closely with Eindhoven University of Technology to further develop its application. The aim is to create process models that are specifically transferable to the logistics sector. An increasing number of companies are demonstrating that process mining can lead the way to smarter, cost-effective results. It seems there has never been a better time to put it at the forefront of service solutions.

Warehouse Management

Vanderlande is a global market leader for value-added logistic process automation at airports, and in the parcel market. The company is also a leading supplier of process automation solutions for warehouses. Solutions offered Vanderlande’s baggage handling systems move 3.7 billion pieces of luggage around the world per year, in other words 10.1 million per day. Its systems are active in 600 airports including 13 of the world’s top 20. More than 39 million parcels are sorted by its systems every day, which have been installed for the world’s leading parcel companies. In addition, many of the largest global e-commerce players and distribution firms have confidence in Vanderlande’s efficient and reliable solutions. The company focuses on the optimisation of its customers’ business processes and competitive positions. Through close cooperation, it strives for the improvement of their

operational activities and the expansion of their logistical achievements. Vanderlande’s extensive portfolio of integrated solutions – innovative systems, intelligent software and lifecycle services – results in the realisation of fast, reliable and efficient automation technology. Established in 1949, Vanderlande has more than 5000 employees, all committed to moving its customers’ businesses forward at diverse locations on every continent. With a consistently increasing turnover of more than 1.1 billion euros, it has established a global reputation over the past six decades as a highly reliable partner for value-added logistic process automation. Countries served Vanderlande serves customers from its headquarters in the Netherlands and Customer Centres in many countries worldwide..


Corporate Profile


Reliable partner for value-added logistic process automation

Need to adapt to a rapidly changing market? Is the pressure on your warehouse increasing exponentially with the intense growth of e-commerce? Do the high number of stock items and short lead times compel you to take action? Need to optimize the flexibility of your processes? Experience how together we can continuously improve your operations and learn how automating your DC with flexible and scalable solutions makes life easier and faster! >

Printing & Labelling



ince the introduction of multi-


platform POS ecosystems, just-in-

The breakthrough of mobile printing

time delivery and asset management label printing

As printing requirements across the all

technology has played a key role in

industries continue to evolve, the emergence

the identification of products to allow easy

of new light-weight mobile printing solutions

documentation and asset tracking.

connecting to smart devices are quickly replacing traditional desktop printers and PC

As companies come under pressure to improve


data collection and reduce errors, many are quickly moving away from the traditional pen-

These new devices are being developed to

and-paper based processes and are investing

provide scan to print solutions, removing

heavily in technology to increase productivity

additional hardware or the need for pre-

and efficiency. As this demand for improvement

stored data. Providing flexible, localised

continues to rise, there is a visible evolution of

printing capabilities, increased productivity

sophisticated solutions and hardware,

and higher reliability, mobile printers can

particularly around the areas of label

reduce printing costs across all market



environment, usage and technology continues to rise. Resulting in the requirement for

Traditionally used as one of the

With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

most basic forms of product

specialised linerless label printing with

connectivity innovation at

tracking. Product labelling

the core, handheld

has differentiated and

variable label length is experiencing a dramatic increase.

devices can easily be

improved efficiency

linked directly to a

throughout the

Delivering increased flexibility and an

supply chain network.

complete supply chain.

ecological alternative to traditional label

Communication between

The days of Picket Fence or Ladder barcodes which were simply used to store a

media by eliminating the waste bi-product of

the network server and

silicon backing paper originally used in

handheld device enables easy

labelling. Linerless rolls offer double the

information download and storage,

number of labels per roll. Linerless labelling

number have made way to new

enabling easy warehouse

also facilitates the possibility of providing

innovations such as 2D or QR

product picking or logistics

variable label length with a clean cut.

code labelling holding part


numbers and product data.

Benchmarking label printing

As the role of labelling continues to evolve and Advancements in printing technology have

the importance of Auto-ID continues to rise in

paved the way for the introduction of new

improving data entry, tracking and more. The

technologies such as of Near Field

accuracy of label referencing becomes

Communication (NFC), making it even simpler

increasingly important across all industries.

Typically, production of labels today will come

to pair handheld devices with accompanying

from a desktop label printer connected to a

printing technology.

basic PC. Prior to use the user will need to design their own label using a dedicated label printing software. Downloading the newly designed templates from the PC and store them

But what about the printable media?

in the memory of the printer. The idea of the number of labels stored in a printer is limited by

As the use of labelling continues to grow,

the memory size. Customers needing to print

there have been major leaps in label media

more than one size of label will likely have to

development. Printers are becoming smaller

purchase multiple printers to save time and

and more adaptable, so the need for dynamic

manpower continually reconfiguring the printer.

printing media for the changing demands in





December 2017

Printing & Labelling

Bixolon Bixolon is a leading global manufacturer of dependable

Industrial markets served

innovative and advanced printing technologies that include

Transport and Logistics

POS, Auto ID and Mobile receipt & label printers for a range


of environments. Bixolon views its printing technology as an

Inventory Management

essential tool for any business and holds itself to the highest

mPOS, Retail

standards, since dedication to customers is its core belief.

Hospitality, Kios Ticketing

Bixolon’s fast, flexible and friendly approach to business has


much to do with its recent success.


Solutions offered

Countries served Worldwide.

Direct thermal POS printers.

Direct thermal and thermal transfer label printers.

Direct thermal and linerless label mobile printers.

POS peripherals and accessories.


ULTRA RELIABLE LABEL PRINTING SOLUTIONS Transport and logistics are essential for any businesses productivity. BIXOLON’s range of sophisticated, ultra-reliable, desktop label printers provide easy PC, Tablet and PDA printing across any application. Delivering a comprehensive portfolio of 2”- 4” desktop labelling solutions to suit any budget, including:

• 2 year leading warranty as standard • Compatibility with market leading programming languages • Intuitive hardware designs providing easy paper load with optional paper guide • Extensive range of Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Wi-Fi Desktop Label and Barcod de printers • Providing connectivity across all levels, from traditional Serial & Parallel, USB, Ethernet, Bluetooth and WLAN

For more information on Bixolon’s leading g range g of label printing p g solutions, contact the team m on +49 211 68 78 54 0 or visit www.BixolonEU.c com

V OICE technology

Success story

Automated fulfilment solution from BEC delivers significant improvements for manufacturer Aliaxis

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

‘walk-through’ of the distribution centre. By

tracked from start to finish, the Voice picking

developing the software in partnership with

solution from BEC has noticeably streamlined

the actual warehouse operatives, we were

all processes within the warehouse. Since we

able to find out exactly what was happening

began trialling the system in January, we

‘out on the floor’ and put solutions in place to

have seen big improvements in the number of

eradicate any bottlenecks or other issues.�

delivery errors and have had an excellent response from our key customers.�

Created with Honeywell Vocollect Voice technology and BEC’s eSmart Voice software

Replacing the previous paper trail method,

at its core, the new solution has been

the Voice picking solution provides

designed to improve accuracy by building

instructions to warehouse operatives through

quality checks into each step of the order

Honeywell Vocollect SRX2 advanced speech

EC (Systems Integration) Ltd, a

delivery process, whilst integrating fully with

recognition wireless headsets, before using

leading UK-based supplier of

Aliaxis’s Microsoft Dynamics ERP suite. This

Honeywell Vocollect A710 and A730 Talkman

data capture solutions for supply

creates full visibility across the entire order

mobile devices to pick and process orders.

chain logistics and

fulfilment journey, meaning that the number of

Each product within the warehouse also has a

manufacturing, has recently won

errors have been substantially reduced.

unique location identifier, which allows both


the operatives and delivery drivers to quickly

a Voice picking technology contract with Aliaxis, a global leader in the production and

Streamlined processes

check that all products have been correctly

distribution of advanced plastic piping

Tom Hamlyn, logistics manager at Aliaxis,

picked and loaded.


explains: “Following feedback that some customers were receiving inaccurate

Following a stepped introduction, the Voice

As part of its drive to improve customer

deliveries, we decided that a fully automated

picking solution is now fully operational and

service, Aliaxis, who are based in Lenham,

system was the most astute way to improve

the company is working on Phase 2, which

Kent and host the Hunter, Marley and

our service. Along with a new electronic

will introduce additional functionality to track

Multikwik brands, has invested in an

labelling system which applies an individual

packages as they are delivered and capture

automated Voice picking system within its

barcode to each package so it can be

customer receipt signatures.

warehouses, which has significantly modernised its order fulfilment processes. As a complex business with multiple product lines, Aliaxis knew that an off-the-shelf package would not fit the company’s needs. With this is mind, Aliaxis worked closely with chosen solution provider BEC to develop a bespoke software solution which was specifically tuned to their requirements.

Robust and productive solution Philip Jarrett, director of sales and marketing at BEC, comments: “To ensure that we created a robust and productive solution for Aliaxis, we carried out extensive mapping of the fulfilment process, including a detailed





December 2017

V OICE technology BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd. BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd is a leading UK-based supplier of

technologies, BEC’s future-proof solutions integrate seamlessly

Automated Data Capture solutions for use within the supply

into any host ERP system to fulfil business and commercial

chain and manufacturing industries. Based on its eSmart Data


Capture software suite, BEC’s systems offer complete end-to-end solutions that improve the productivity and accuracy of clients’

Through the development of innovative AIDC solutions with

operations, whilst delivering increased profitability and quality with

barcoding and voice technology at their core, BEC offers a

a rapid return on investment.

comprehensive set of services, from initial consultation, advice and design, through to delivery, implementation and after-sales support.

BEC has performed a substantial number of successful implementations in mission-critical operational areas such as

Industrial markets served

receiving, inventory management, production control and

• Manufacturing

shipping. The company’s team has a wealth of experience in

• Food & Beverage

seamlessly integrating data capture solutions to various business

• Supply Chain

hosts, including M3, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and IFS.

• Warehousing • Distribution

With a notable list of clients – which includes Kerrygold, DHM,

• Engineering

Baxi, Haribo, Estee Lauder, Baxters, Hydrasun, Delice de France,

• Pharmaceutical

Horseware, Sellafield and Raleigh – BEC’s customers vary from

• Clothing & Apparel

small and medium enterprises to blue-chip household names

• Oil & Gas

throughout the UK, Europe and the USA.

• Nuclear

Solutions offered

Countries served

Offering access to a range of cutting-edge data collection

Pan-European & USA

hardware from market-leading vendors such as Honeywell, Zebra


and Datalogic, along with Honeywell Vocollect Voice-directed

BEC eSmartÂŽ Voice WMS Enabling Complete Door-to-Door Voice Solutions Increase worker productivity by up to 35% Reduction in picking errors by up to 50% ROI typically within 6-12 months Built with voice technology at its core, not as an add-on Based on our proven eSmart Warehouse platform Real-time dashboard reporting & status updates Seamless integration into any host ERP system


Call BEC today and speak to the experts: +44 (0)1254 688 088 or visit

Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice Picking

Making the right moves Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about recent developments within the Warehouse Management System and Voicedirected picking space.


oday, warehousing has never

WES, which is a hybrid of WMS and

modules as needed and is an appealing

been more mission-critical; with

Warehouse Control Systems (WCS). The

feature to organisations as they are able

expected delivery dates

WES analyses data from the ERP and

to pick, easily integrate and spend on

becoming shorter and with

WMS and on-going operations to optimise

software according to their warehouse

omnichannel efficiencies

the warehouse and DC operation through

operational needs.”

becoming non-negotiables for many

controlling of systems in the warehouse

warehouses and DCs in the advent of the

via the WCS. The latest WES software can

ecommerce explosion. There are also many

optimise the process from automation,

systems. “Vendors such as HighJump

intricate supply chain challenges to

inventory, asset movement, and order

(acquired by Koreber), SAP, and Oracle

overcome in order to keep customers

picking. Most end users prefer a single

now offer Cloud-based scalable

happy, operations efficient and the bottom

solution to manage/monitor both inventory

management systems. These Cloud-

line healthy. So, what are some of the

and automation and WES solutions have

based WMS solutions can be accessed

current key talking points and developments

emerged as the next evolutionary step to

from anywhere and from multiple

in the warehouse management and Voice-

the traditional WMS.

platforms making them highly attractive to SMB organisations who need solutions

directed solutions space? Shahroze Husain, analyst, autoID & data capture, VDC

• End user migration to Cloud-based

• Modular WMS solutions with the ability to

that can be implemented quickly and

Research, explained that, according to

add-on packages/capabilities as needed.

grow as their business scales but the shift

VDC’s research, there are three major

“Developments are already in place with

from physical servers to the Cloud has

ongoing developments in the WMS space:

solution providers developing modular

been slow due to security concerns.”

management platforms instead of • The emergence of Warehouse Execution

complete WMS solutions. Multiple WMS

Systems (WES) as a replacement for WMS

vendors today offer customisable and

Proven technology

solutions. “The evolving needs of the

modular solutions with the ability to add

Dwight Klappich, research VP, Gartner,

warehouse brought by new automation

on packages such as Order Management

made the point that Voice is a mature

and faster needs to fulfilling orders, has

Systems, Transportation Management

technology. “A lot of people that still feel its

resulted in greater interest surrounding

Systems, Labour Management System

new and risky, but it’s actually proven and





December 2017

WMS/Voice Picking

Special Technology Report

there are tens of

I’ve seen a couple of prototypes and talking

compete with companies like Amazon,� he

thousands of users,�

to the organisations involved it’s not a huge

said. “For example, particularly in the US,

he said. “One of the

technical hurdle to get there. So, over the

retailers and wholesale distributors – or

barriers to Voice

next 12 to 18 months I think that at least one

distributors of any kind – are leaning on their

has been that it was

vendor will deliver that capability.�

suppliers; these could be traditional B2B

more expensive

manufacturers, or they could be distributors

than traditional RF,

Steve Wilson, expert in supply chain

but now that it’s

management, Capgemini, said Voice

themselves that ship direct.

more price

picking certainly drives productivity to a

“Even B2B companies that have traditionally

competitive more

more efficient degree than paper-based

focused on bulk-pick operations – sending

warehouses are

picking. “That’s because it’s a better way of

to distribution centres or direct to store – are

consideriung Voice,

communicating tasks and is comparable

now also picking ecommerce direct-to-

or those that have it

with RF in terms of productivity – indeed, in

customer orders in their warehouses or DCs.

can more easily expand the number of

some instances it actually offers higher

These companies need to fulfil these types


productivity than RF guns,� he said.

of orders even though their labour

According to Klappich one of the key trends

Wilson pointed out that he has seen

for bulk-picking, and their systems have

is multimodal systems, where Voice is

companies that have implemented Voice

been installed for bulk-pick methods of

combined with traditional scanning

directly into legacy WMSs. “Consequently,

operation rather than parcel. Even at the

technology. “It’s synergistic in the sense that

they have needed to put a lot of WMS-type

retail level, their own distribution centres

certain things fit Voice much better –

capability into Voice picking software both in

have the same types of challenges. So,

navigation instructions and so on,� he said.

terms of creating pick waves and also in

warehouse operations have dramatically

“But if I have a 35-digit lot number it might

terms of pulling out productivity data around

shifted, while labour and freight costs have

be much easier and more accurate to scan

the pickers,� he said. “That has been quite

risen. This is where Voice can offer

that. So, we see multimodal gaining traction;

successful; however, what I have seen is

advantages in terms of faster and more

particularly in sensitive industries such as

that they are moving to a mode of putting in

accurate picking. Whereas companies used

food and pharma.� Another area of

place the kind of WMSs that are scored as

to be able to manage bulk orders quite

development cited by Klappich is use of

being the leading solutions by organisations

comfortably without Voice, they are now

consumer-grade devices in the warehouse;

like Gartner. For the most part, we agree

having to look any method that can save

moving from a traditional ruggedised

with what they are saying around who the

money because they are often being

proprietary scanner to using an Android-

leaders in that space are. For, example,

hammered on price through shipping direct

)" '. &- )# % +,$,-+# .


operations have traditionally been organised

type device.

Manhattan’s WMOS integrates directly with

to customers.� Ball added that, in the

Voice without the need for the level of

omnichannel world, Voice should also be

However, Klappich considers probably the

middleware which historically was

able to coexist with other techniques, such

biggest area of innovation on the horizon to

necessary. So, the integration of Voice now

as RF or barcode scanning, and be able to

be the convergence of ‘transactional Voice’

into the leading applications is effectively

easily integrate with the WMS; ideally as

with ‘conversational Voice’. “The

the same as it is for RF devices. A few years

plug and play rather than via middleware.

unstructured dialogue capability of chatbots

ago, that was not the case; for RF devices

(conversational Voice in this context) like

integration was there, but for Voice there

Speech recognition developments

Siri, Cortana and Alexa, combined with the

was a need to have a middleware layer.

Sharmila Annaswamy, senior research

structured capability of transactional Voice,

That just shows how the leading

analyst, industrial

has the potential to dramatically change the

applications have moved forward in terms of

automation &

whole nature of Voice,� he said, adding:

their capabilities. That has helped in terms

process control,

“With Voice, we have had instructions like

of the uptake of Voice.�

Frost & Sullivan,

‘go to location A21, pick five cases, confirm

made the point that

your location’ for a while, and walkie-talkie

Bryan Ball, VP & group director – global


capabilities to ask questions such as ‘I am

supply management practices, Aberdeen

picking solutions

at the location but I’m out of inventory what

Group, explained that the issues today’s

have been well-

why do?’� he said. “Now, the conversation

warehouses and DCs are facing need to be

established now for

could be ‘Siri, do I have any late orders, or

understood at the picking level, at the

a number of years,

Cortana do I have any more inventory for 1,

distribution level and at the business level.

but the number of

2, 3, 4 and 5?’ I don’t know of any company

“Just about everybody is now in the retail

implementations are

that has delivered this commercially yet, but

business because companies are trying to

increasing due to

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December 2017



Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice Picking

the commoditisation

put-to-light and other multimodal

Virtual Reality where this technology is being

of the technology

applications. Additionally, McCabe believes

developed to assist in training people such

and the greater

machine learning is one to watch out for, as

as forklift drivers among other things.�

affordability of the

well as real-time 2D and 3D positioning

systems. She

visualisations. Furthermore, she is seeing

added that speech

the use of Voice grow outside the

Multiple benefits


warehouse into markets such as inspections

Joshila Makan, CEO, Worldwide Chain

technology has

and in-store retail.

Stores (WCS) UK, said Voice has evolved

greatly improved in $- ,&. # - ,% -*-")*".!)+,#'(+%.

significantly over the past few years, and

the recent past.

after evaluating a number of picking

“Developments in

Continuous development

solutions with its customers –such as RF,

speech recognition

Tim Just, managing director. topVOX, made

pick by light, RFID and robotic picking –

technology have

the point that Voice solutions are

WCS still finds Voice the most effective and

been a major boost for Voice directed

continuously being developed. “We are

efficient technology option. According to

picking systems – being able to understand

hearing from customers that Voice is a key

Makan, this is due to the following key

different users’ accents and how they

important technology and that they are keen


pronounce words,� said Annaswamy, adding

for this simple to deploy technology to lead

that some systems can also filter out

the way in many different areas of their

• Voice offers the most versatility.

background noise in the warehouse. She

businesses,� he said.

• Voice can be used across the DC not only

believes benefits like these are driving more warehouse professionals towards Voice.

in picking; e.g. in section, forklift, loading, Just added that SaaS is definitely a trend he is seeing more and more of, and explained

merging and PI. It offers a true end-to-end warehouse solution.

Annaswamy explained that automation is

that this is an area topVOX has developed

another enabler that is increasingly

further, having been offering this for some

employee because of its hands-free/eyes-

occupying warehouse management

time. “I think this is partly driven by us but

free operation, ensuring maximum

systems. “For example, you might find

also by the customers,� he said. “It just

freedom of movement while focusing on

autonomous vehicles going up and down

makes sense that when SaaS-model WMSs

aisles,� she said. However, because Voice

are becoming more and more sought after

is so convenient, with users simply putting

that the technologies that typically either

on their headset to hear where to pick and

integrate with or are intrinsically built into

what to pick, Annaswamy maintains there is

these systems, such as Voice, should be

not necessarily the need for fully robotic

able to offer the same service model. Also,

often are able to recoup their ROI within

processes for these types of tasks.

the ability offer truly multimodal Voice

less than a year.

• Voice gives immediate benefits to the

process. • Voice allows for fast results, giving improved accuracy and efficiencies immediately. • Those that implement Voice in their DC

offerings which are effectively Voice Isabel McCabe, managing director, Voiteq

enhancing other technologies such as

Makan added that WCS is seeing further

UK, reflects that Voice has evolved

typical scanning technologies but also

innovation with Voice in returns, which is a

immensely since its introduction and

Vision, Augmented Reality and even Virtual

growing challenge its customers are

continues to do so. “We’re finding that more

Reality system for training purposes.�

experiencing due to their customers

and more of our customers are using the

ordering a number of different product

technology across multiple warehouse

Just made the point that Voice and Vision is

variants and returning them if not suitable.

functions and not just picking; particularly in

something that has been spoken about for

Moreover, she made

stock movements, loading and returns

some time. “This is now becoming a reality

the point that due to

processes,� she said.

and Voice and Vision is now being deployed

the impressive

as a standard option with Lydia using


McCabe added that, in addition, its data

Android Smart Devices including Phones

productivity benefits

capture methods – combined with business

and Watches,� he explained. “This has been

and rapid return on

intelligence (BI) tools such as VoiceMan

enhanced with Glasswear to develop

investment, Voice is

Data Analysis – is enabling businesses to

Augmented Reality solutions where the

also finding its way

crunch data more effectively for both

combined technologies are complementary

into retail stores.

historical reporting and predictive analytics.

and offer additional assistance to users to

She made the point that Voice is also

be able to fulfil more complex tasks very

In terms of the

proving to be a perfect companion to many

quickly and simply whilst minimising risk of

drivers for these

other technologies such as vision goggles,

errors. We are also seeing the evolution of

types of changes,





December 2017

($ )&-. - -*%. %

WMS/Voice Picking

*!+, . +)""$% ',# *)#-&.!)+,#'(+%.

Special Technology Report

Makan said that

CEO, Peoplevox believes the arrival of

Regarding drivers for change, Melville

over the past few

software robots is without doubt the most

believes there are a number of things that

years WCS has

important innovation in the WMS space.

are fundamentally changing the WMS

seen major

“Amazon has blazed the trail with softbots

market and end user requirements. “These

progress being

like KIVA, and this has started to make more

range from smart devices and the Internet of

made on further

retailers interested in them and wanting to

Things; operating systems like Android and

Voice innovation.

know how these innovations can help

IOS; and demand for truly mobile

“Ecommerce and

improve efficiencies in their own warehouse

applications that can switch seamlessly


operations,� he said.

between Wi-Fi and GSM,� he said. “Users now expect applications to include

fulfilment pressures are helping to push

Bellwood explained that Amazon’s KIVA can

touchscreen functionality, which is

further investment

boost picker productivity and accuracy

fundamentally changing the landscape of

and adoption of Voice within the distribution

when it comes to the retrieval of certain

what the software and hardware in a

centre and more broadly across the supply

common items across the warehouse.

warehouse looks like and influencing the

chain,� she said. “As we are seeing

“That’s good news for pickers who often

development of much more intuitive user

shipping and return volume peaking per

walk as many as 20Km per day, and for


day, WMS vendors like ourselves are

business owners from a time- and cost

continually investing in the development and

saving perspective,� he said. “Rather than

functionality of solutions that will meet the

replacing pickers, the robot is helping them

complex needs of today’s companies.�

do their job faster and more effectively.�

From a WMS perspective, Makan said WCS

Bellwood made the point that robots are a

Honeywell, is noticing several key new

customers are always looking to remain one

natural extension and evolution of

trends, driven by the ever-changing

step ahead of the competition and

automation. “Organisations typically look at

customer demand and expectations.

recognise the value that technology brings

ways of eliminating a process to save on

“Warehouses are no longer just a place to

to their business. “They are investing in

tying up their own human resources,� he

store goods; they are often now the final

pilots that test the viability and relevance of

said. “If they can’t, they will look to automate

touch point between the retailer and the

the types of technology available in the

it. Similarly, outsourcing to temps at peak

customer,� he explained. “As such, the

distribution centre today that will have

times is the preferred option over hiring

pressure for picking accuracy, efficiency

maximum impact with the biggest ROI,� she

additional full-time staff. Hiring more in-

and exemplary levels of service is higher

said. “They also have in their sights on the

house staff is always the last resort.�

than ever before. The development of the

Development of omnichannel Mark Jones, enterprise account manager,

next wave of technological innovation that

omnichannel has meant the elevation of the

includes the likes of mobile, wearable,

Glenn Melville, software development

warehouse to a point where successful

Internet of Things, driverless vehicles,

manager, Indigo Software, explained that,

operations can drive the success of a

automation and robotics. These all have the

as a provider of WMS solutions, Indigo is


highest predicted adoption rates over the

seeing significant demand from customers

next ten years.�

to integrate their existing WMS with other

Jones added that some of the tendencies

tools to improve process efficiency. “For

Honeywell has noticed to help enable this

Makan added that to fill the gaps in the

example, ecommerce customers are asking


labour force and to increase efficiencies in

to integrate weighing scales, conveyors and

distribution, supply chain business leaders

parcel carriers, with the objective of joining

will look to technology to continue to help

together the picking, packing and dispatch

longer just a stock

widen their margins while reducing costs

processes into a single, seamless

management tool.

and remaining as lean as possible. “Indeed,

transaction,� he said. “The end goal is to

It is key to

as costs reduce for these technologies, and

effectively build quality into a process from

achieving the

the cost of labour increases, we are sure to

the outset, thereby saving time and resource


see more organisations investing particularly

costs, rather than having to operate quality


in automation and these other emerging

checks at each stage. Instead, with an


technologies,� she said.

integrated and automated process, a single

• The WMS is no

• The ability to re-

individual can be responsible – and

work redesign


accountable – for picking, packing and

and having the

From a warehousing management

dispatching, all driven by the WMS.�

visibility across

perspective, Jonathan Bellwood, founder &

the supply chain

(*-' -*. ,&& ((!% ( *!,+. . %. The Expert WMS Providers



December 2017



Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice Picking

is essential to maximise inventory

(& "-*". & +,# '% -*-")*".!)+,#'(+.

Steve Richmond, director – logistics

Albrecht believes these developments are

and reduce lead

systems, Jungheinrich UK, notes that, today,

driven by new requirements because of new


consumers are demanding unprecedented

business models that are changing the

levels of immediacy and visibility. “For

traditional business processes in logistics.

implementation of

organisations to stay competitive, this has to

“In some areas, the logistics chain changes

Voice technology to

be reflected within the Warehouse

from a push principal to a pull principal

enable operations

Management Systems (WMS), whether that

where the end-customer demands delivery

that ensure the

is through immediate order updates/alerts,

through the use of mobile devices such as

necessary levels of

full visibility of where an item is within the

smartphones or tablets,” he explained. “R&D

service in today’s

supply chain or the ability to check stock

activities are, of course, also driving the

omnichannel world

levels through an online portal,” he said.

change in logistics as new technologies will

is increasing.

“Ultimately, all supply chain systems and

help us to offer more automation for


• Retail stores are integral to the supply

sub-systems require a high degree of

materials handling. Very often in the past we

chain and should not be seen as silos but

communication and connectivity. Consumer

had to answer the question: ‘should a

rather part of the end-to-end supply chain

expectation continues to drive innovations

specific process be executed automatically

solution, so that it aids in delivering the

and developments throughout the supply

or manually?’. In the near future, humans

overall customer experience.

chain, including improved functionality and

and machines will work more and more

capability of the WMS.”

together in a collaborative way.”

• Businesses are ultimately being challenged to think differently and strategise like never before.

Richmond added that the consumer journey today more commonly starts from point of

Software as a Service

Andrew Briggs, technical director, BEC

order on a mobile device, for example.

Has the Software as a Service (SaaS)

(Systems Integration) Ltd., believes the key

“From that point forth, the consumer expects

model, and the Cloud concept in general,

talking point is the spread of Voice

a complete single-view of their order and

had any notable level of impact on the

applications, i.e. not just picking but doing

where it is in the process,” he said.

Voice-directed systems and WMS market?

every task within the warehouse using Voice

“Organisations that fail to provide those

Husain made the point that most leading

to get the best out of a company’s

levels of service will soon see themselves

vendors have come on board to invest in

technological investment and the solution as

waning in comparison to their competitors.”

Cloud/SaaS-based offerings for clients. He

a whole. He explained that door-to-door

elaborated: “Many WMS providers are

Voice applications – as well as picking –

experimenting with the idea of Cloud-based WMS solutions, but the shift from on-premise

transactions, stock rotation and stock

The Internet of Things and digitalisation

control. Indeed, Briggs maintains that any

Wolfgang Albrecht, managing director IT

comparison to other enterprise applications

movement or transaction that can be done

development & delivery, Vanderlande

(such as CRM) due to security concerns

should be done with Voice as it has so many

Industries B.V., considers that, without any

and the more conservative approach supply


doubt, the Internet of Things (IoT) and

chain executives take with technology

digitalisation is currently a very hot topic. “It

investments. SaaS-based solutions have

With respect to drivers for change, Briggs

is a game changer in logistics and this is for

become attractive to both vendors and end

said everyone is also asking about reporting

several reasons,” he said. “On the one

users alike as end users are able to expand

and monitoring productivity and efficiency

hand, a lot of our customers are currently

storage and

and being able to view dashboards etc.

implementing new business processes to

capabilities as

“This is also all achievable with Voice,” he

serve the digital world; and this means more

needed with cloud-

explained, adding that there is now more

logistics challenges. Digitalisation and the

based solutions as

knowledge and acceptance of Voice and its

IoT are the enablers for a lot of new

their business grows

benefits. “We are seeing it being

innovation as a wide range of new

while vendors now

implemented in all the big

technologies becomes available. Due to

have a channel for

industrial/corporate players, and it has now

new IoT-based software architecture we will

recurring revenue

filtered down into smaller operations,” he

have in the near future plug and play


said. “There’s now much more acceptance

systems for material handling systems. New

Ball considers that

to look at and to use new technology

IoT-based sensor systems will provide far

for companies trying

instead of being sceptical and wary of

more data, which we can use for

to get to a best of


optimisation and machine learning.”

breed solution, the

can include dispatch, stock counting, quality





December 2017

to Cloud-based has been slow in

', ,. )# (*!% !)+,#'(+. .&(")$')#$ $ $', $%.

WMS/Voice Picking

) . $'%. -*-")*".!)+,#'(+%.

Special Technology Report

Cloud has been a

Wilson made the point that a dedicated

application software needs to support both

huge advantage in

Cloud-based WMS can offer the advantages

set-ups. Currently, we see a growth in both

that in some

of SaaS from the perspective of speed of

areas. Parts of a logistics application that

instances users

implementation and therefore cost of

contains sensitive data can be managed by

don’t need to rip

implementation. “However, the degree of

the customer in a private Cloud, and parts

and replace a whole

flexibility and configurability it offers makes

of the software where data is less sensitive

ERP system just to

it probably a more logical choice for

will be managed by third parties and offered

get a WMS, or to get

organisations such as smaller retailers or

combined with additional services (e.g.

the few extra pieces

smaller .com operators where they can align

system maintenance).�

of functionality they

their processes to the capabilities that it

want by bolting on

delivers – this is the fundamental nature of

Bellwood maintains that SaaS is steadily

and integrating the

how SaaS products work best,� he said.

becoming the preferred choice for ecommerce retailers over on-premise as it

extra functionality.

removes the burden of ownership of servers,

According to Ball, another advantage of SaaS/Cloud is that users can still put the

Depths of functionality

backing up, and having in place layers of

application behind their firewall if they

Wilson added that the leading on-premise

resilience. “This hugely reduces cost of

prefer. “So, companies don’t necessarily

type solutions offer huge depths of

ownership and complexity as well as

have to have their software completely on-

functionality. “That is part of the reason they

eliminating the need for expensive in-house

premise – if they want, they can opt for a

keep getting chosen because they can be

IT resources,� he said. In addition, Bellwood

type of specialised hybrid Cloud model – a

configured to deliver a complex retail

made the point that SaaS-based offerings

personalised Cloud. It should all be based

solution, and they are also proven to work at

are continuously maintained, updated, and

on what makes the best sense for their

high volumes,� he explained. However,

enhanced by the vendor, which allows

particular business needs,� he said.

Wilson also pointed out that those same

future-proofing and alleviates the risk of over

In terms of the actual IT, Ball commented

leading best-of-breed, on-premise solutions

customisation, therefore eliminating

that SaaS is very near being a commodity at

can be delivered as Cloud solutions if

integration problems later on or premature

this point. “Whether a solution is on the

required. “So, if clients are looking to avoid

obsolescence. However, added Bellwood, to

user’s server or somebody else’s server, or

having on-premise hardware in their own

really accelerate the adoption of SaaS,

whether it’s a hybrid of both, it has been

data centre then those solutions can be

additional peace of mind through the

proven to work so in most cases you can

delivered in that way,� he said. “That’s

provision of an off-line capability is

just let the integration people do their job,�

actually pretty normal these days and I can


he said.

think of several retailers where the data

For over 10 years, Klappich has seen many

centre is a considerable distance away from

Melville believes web-based systems have

companies progressively moving WMS into

the physical distribution centres that it is

their place and are popular among start-ups

a centralised centre of excellence – a

controlling. The days when the data centre

and SMEs that do not want to invest in an IT

private Cloud. “Some companies want to roll

needed to be physically inside the DC are

infrastructure or internal IT competencies

it out to multiple sites – they might, for

well behind us now; particularly for leading

and are seeking a low-cost entry point for a

instance, have five warehouses and have an

applications. Consequently, clients do have

small number of users. “From our

IT centre at one location offering a single

a choice; if they want to go Cloud they can

experience, larger companies prefer the

instance of the software that supports those

go effectively private Cloud very easily.�

option of remaining with their on-premise solution, especially

five locations remotely. Alternatively, they might have two instances of the software;

Albrecht made the point that, in this context,

if they already have

one supporting three North American

we have to differentiate different forms of

the data centre

warehouses and the other supporting two

Cloud-based solutions. “With regard to the

capabilities required

warehouses in Europe – but still in a central

private Cloud model, the enterprise

or have an existing

data centre. Now, moving that to the other

manages the Cloud environment as

ERP system,� he

side of the firewall in the public Cloud is not

something that is completely separate from

said. “Most major

a big leap. Only about 8% of companies

the public Internet,� he explained. “Sensitive

WMS vendors would

have actually implemented Cloud WMS, but

data is thereby under control and an IT

probably agree that

that is accelerating, so the bottom line is the

solution can be provided and managed

it is typically smaller

majority of people are going to be

flexibly at the same time. In a public Cloud

companies using

accessing a remote server from the

enviroment, the application is managed by a

cloud solutions and

warehouse; whether it’s Voice or RF.�

third party and the customer can use this

that it appeals to a

application very often as a service. The

certain ‘profile’ of

&,**. ,& )&&,% $( ' -+,.!, ,&( ,*'



December 2017



Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice Picking

customer. For example, when a company’s

number of years. “We tend to think of it as a

requirement for a

warehouse operations and sales order

more holistic ‘Solution as a Service’, which

large up-front

processes are in the infancy stage, a Cloud-

includes all the components; including

purchase and outlay

based system is very appealing – there is

headsets and devices,” she explained,

cost associated with

no outright purchase cost and no need for

adding that although still a relatively small

the outright purchase

internal IT expertise. But as the company

portion of the overall market, she does expect

of a Vocollect Voice

matures, Cloud systems can be restrictive if

to see demand for SaaS grow.


performance is often outside of their control

Just considers that Cloud-based solutions

Makan has seen a

and dictated by the hosting infrastructure

have a huge benefit in that they can be

high take-up of SaaS


deployed quickly and easily and very cost-

models directly

effectively. However, he added that in the

related to challenges

past they have had an Achilles Heel in that

with high-volume


they rely on robust and fast connectivity. “This

picks due to

Cost is also a key factor to consider,

has been a stumbling block in the past and is


according to Melville. “A Cloud-based WMS

now becoming more and more mainstream,”

“Software as a Service (SaaS) it is becoming

solution requires an ongoing monthly payment

he said. “I was with a customer recently who

popular with organisations that have Capex

and the industry average lifecycle of a WMS

has now decided to replace their old

constraints, but want to get the benefits of

is approximately 10 years. Therefore, what

proprietary WMS with a readily available

Voice today,” she said. Regarding WMS and

initially appears a cost-effective solution in the

Cloud-based solution for the very reasons I

SaaS/Cloud, Makan explained over the past 2

short term can quickly become an expensive

have highlighted above. They also want to

years WCS has witnessed a growth in the

recurring outlay in the long run. Finally, there

have their Voice solution delivered on the

interest and adoption of its CSnx Cloud-based

is also still a legacy perception about data

same basis. With Lydia PickManager they

WMS. “We will definitely continue to see SaaS

security with Cloud systems that some

have exactly that and because of our open

deployments,” she continued. “The main

companies are inherently suspicious of and

architecture the ability to connect to any of

reason for the stimulated WMS market growth

the issue of reliability. With the Cloud, you are

these WMS’s is incredibly simple.”

has been that our customers are investing to

the user wants to make changes and that + -*. -&&%.

. ."+( !)+,#'(+. ."&( -&.$ &

support ecommerce and omnichannel

effectively relying on your Internet service


provider to ensure you can deliver orders,

Just believes that, for the foreseeable future,

and if the Internet goes down, the company

there will be a place for non-Cloud-based

could potentially grind to a halt.”

systems; however, he maintains that they will

Makan pointed out that WCS has seen major

become less and less relevant over time.

interest in the 3PL industry over the past two

Richmond considers that the WMS software

“That said, because of our business model

years too. “WCS has responded to this

solutions market has been revolutionised by

and beliefs in freedom, flexibility and

fulfilment trend with features and functionality

the wider adoption of the Cloud. “Cloud

reliability, it does not worry us in the slightest

to support our customers’ evolving

services have given suppliers access to a

as we are already capable of handling

requirements and offering a small- to mid-

wider range of customers, including many

whatever the customer wants,” he remarked.

sized business a WMS with Tier 1, deep and broad functionality and the ability to integrate

smaller start-up organisations,” he said.

seamlessly to ecommerce platforms,” she

“These smaller businesses, which may not have benefited from a fully integrated solution,

Voice as a Service

explained. “For example, WCS CSnx has

no longer need to invest heavily in

Jones considers that some customers will

multi-owner, multi-warehouse capabilities,

infrastructure as they

naturally see the benefit of SaaS as it allows

multi-channel warehouses to manage

can now access a

for regular payment options, allowing them to

ecommerce waves, put-away processes and

WMS through Cloud-

transition more easily from their existing

shipment documentation.”

based services

system to Vocollect Voice. “These smaller


scheduled payments can then be

-+ . (*,$%.,*',+ +)$, -##( *'. -*-",+%.



accommodated into budgets in the same way

Things to watch

McCabe commented

that a utility bill is regularly paid,” he

What might be the next innovations or

that businesses are

explained. “VaaS (Voice as a Service) is a

developments to look out for in the world of

asking for SaaS as

service offering that allows customers to have

Voice and WMS in the near future? Husain

an offering, and it is

access to the software and support that they

anticipates three key areas of future

one that Voiteq has

need to implement a Vocollect Voice solution

development: First, he cites, the integration of

been providing to its

as well as optional hardware in some

modules to control/execute instructions to

customers for a

geographies. It offers an alternative to the

robotics and automation solutions. “WMS



December 2017

WMS/Voice Picking

Special Technology Report

solutions today are continuing their evolution

3D positioning visualisations. Furthermore,

relatively high, there

towards what MES solutions are today for

she is seeing the use of Voice grow outside

is clearly a strong

manufacturers,� he said. Secondly, Husain

the warehouse into markets such as

ROI for these

believes there will be a greater shift to the

inspections and in-store retail.

investments. It’s actually not such a

Cloud, but added that security concerns are/will be a roadblock. Thirdly, he foresees

Briggs believes Voice could spread from

big transition for

further development regarding open APIs for

warehousing into manufacturing for assembly,

those companies

better communication between SCM systems

inspections etc., while Bellwood thinks that,

who already use

and devices.

without doubt, software robots offer a great

some form of

opportunity for deployment in warehouses.

automation.� Melville

One type of technology Wilson sees on the

“No holidays, sick days, even sleep – and

added that IoT & AI

horizon is integration of Voice and vision;

they don’t need supervision or further

is going to be have

specifically, augmented reality type glasses.

‘training’ once programmed to do a specific

a major impact over

“This has Voice plus the vision element, and it

task,� he said. “Clearly, robots have the

the next two to three

may prove to be a challenge to Voice

potential to remove human error from the


solutions,� he said. “I don’t know of any place

warehouse workplace as well as do certain

in the UK that has implemented this yet, but I

tasks more efficiently.�

- +( ,. $-)*% -*-& $'%.- '( . .!-'-.#- ' +,%

Albrecht expects further innovation in the area of machine learning and user

do know of one implementation in the US that is using Google Glass integrated with one of

Just explained that topVOX is already working

experience (UX). “We see UX is a very

the leading WMSs. It gives an increased level

on the next generation of Voice solutions.

important area of WMS for two reasons: the

of capability beyond Voice. It allows the

“The key here is in the power of the

first is that a new kind of man-machine-

picking operator to scan barcodes by just

recognition engine alongside the

interfaces will offer a new of collaboration

looking at them; because of the way the

development of increasingly smart devices

between humans and WMS/WCS

glasses work they know what you’re looking at

and hardware,� he said. “The more powerful

application,� he said. “The second reason

and so are able to pass commands through

the recognition engine the more you can do

why we think that further innovation in this


with it. Then there is additional logic within the

area will help to offer more values to our

engine itself and how that can be developed

customers is that we think an improved UX

Annaswamy anticipates that warehouse

in a way to make it simpler and easier to use

will help our customer to manage a more

robotics is going to continue to be one of the

in more and more complex processes.�

complex logistics world.�

autonomous warehouses. “I think that within

According to Bellwood, packing is a good

Makan foresees Voice and visual glasses

five to ten years we will see warehouses either

example where robots are already at work on

working together to provide the users with

completely automated or completely

conveyors; deciding which carrier receives

even a better use experience and taking this

autonomous,� she said. “If you put that

which package – e.g ‘push parcel left for

technology efficiency to the next level. With

together with Big Data analytics, warehouse

Royal Mail and right for DPD’. “They can also

regard to WMS, Makan believes that over

managers will just need to monitor their

decide and deliver to the pack bench which

the next year or two we will see further

phones to know what’s happening in the

size/type packaging is correct for a particular

enhancements of slotting capability to allow

warehouse. That would be one big leap for

item or items, and seal the parcel,� he added.

for dynamic slotting as well as mobile

key developments within increasingly

innovation. This, she said, will include

warehouse management systems.�

wearable glasses picking, drone inventory

Annaswamy also believes there will continue to be moves in the

New skills

checks, driverless forklift trucks,

direction of

Melville also maintains that due to the recent

automations and AI. “In essence, the next

biometrics and

advances in AI for robotic systems, it is

two years will see technology businesses

towards augmented

becoming more straightforward to integrate

like ourselves work hard to meet the

reality with respect to

robots with WMS software. “This will

demands of our customers and the use of

data capture-type

potentially mean warehouse workers having

technology will be fundamental to their


to work alongside robots and automated

success,� she remarked.

technology and potentially having to ', ,. )&$(*%., ,+'.)* $ & .# -)*

McCabe reiterated

develop a new set of skills and perform

that machine

activities that complement the work being

learning is one to

carried out by robots,� he said. “Although

watch out for, as well

labour costs can be relatively low and the

as real-time 2D and

entry point for a robotics investment remains



December 2017



Special Technology Report

Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP

Looking ahead Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about recent developments and key discussion points within the Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP space.


ajor developments, subtle

driven through bonuses which encourage

In terms of the main drivers for these types

enhancements and even

this behaviour. Thus, over selling and

of changes, Castellina believes it is really

more disruptive innovation

under-forecasting gets congratulated.

about users having access to more user-

continues apace within

Sandbagging forecasts are caused by lack

friendly tools than they have had in the past.

many technological

of trust of the supply side. Hence, Sales &

“I think this requirement derives from the

disciplines on a very frequent basis, and

Marketing should be rewarded on the basis

typical challenges that come along with

the world of Demand

of the accuracy of their forecasts. Where

planning today, using the tools that

Forecasting/Planning/S&OP solutions is

this is done, inventory levels decrease and

organisations have had for a long time,” he

certainly no exception. Indeed, there have

customer service improves.”

says. “When you are using spreadsheets to manage your plans, there are many

been some sizeable steps forward since our last special technology report on the theme.

Nick Castellina, vice president and

challenges – particularly within larger

So, without further ado, Richard Watkins,

research group director, Aberdeen Group,

organisations that are using multiple

managing director, Delos Partnership,

references the theme of connected,

spreadsheets and multiple tabs that are

begins our discussion by emphasising that

collaborative and holistic planning.

supposed to be connected but often aren’t

Integrated Business Planning (IBP) now

“Individual aspects of planning should not

connected all that well. This makes it difficult

should embrace all parts of a business into

exist within a silo; they all need to be

to work to a plan that is based on business

a single plan, which can be reviewed

connected to make plans that are going to

reality – you may be taking a long time to

through simulations to help manage the

allow an organisation to drive profit

create plans, waiting on people to provide

increasing levels of uncertainty faced by all

margins and drive everything to work in

their inputs, and dealing with older versions

businesses. “The unexpected is now the

lock-steps,” he says. “If you are forecasting

and different types of formulas that can be

new expected,” he remarks. “This means

demand and you want to ramp up

broken. So, there are challenges that come

integrating financial plans, people plans, IT

production but don’t have access to the

with the types of tools. The market’s newer

plans and engineering plans with the simple

material you need to meet that production,

planning tools are allowing organisations to

integration of Sales and Operations.

you are still going to have gaps. So,

get away from those challenges.”

However, the real challenge is to ensure

organisations are trying to drive their

that the performance measures which drive

planning tools to more users within the

Nick McGrane, managing director, K3

business behaviour are correct. Over and

organisation and rely on data to make

Syspro, considers that the planning,

under forecasting – which cause inventory

plans that can change in an agile manner

scheduling and execution piece that forms

and shortages respectively – are normally


part of the enterprise solution is key at the





December 2017

Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP

moment. “ERP

• IMD (In Memory Database) that provides

on years of best practice and many hundreds

solutions like

almost real-time simulation planning to

of implementations to streamline deployment,

SYSPRO now ship

assess options and plan more rapidly as

increased collaborative features and web

with extensive

the environment changes.

access are all focused on allowing customers


• Advanced algorithms allowing user


interactions only when exceptions are


detected, prioritising activity for those

advanced planning

areas that require it.

and scheduling and ! % #$ " $ $ ! % !#" # %

Special Technology Report

• Enhanced mobility provided by the latest

to more rapidly recoup their spend whilst improving their supply chain operations.� So, what methodologies should be embraced to ensure a more accurate forecasting and

MES functionality,�

HTML user interfaces which allow users to

planning regime? Garsmeur makes the

he explains. “This

view data and collaborate seamlessly

following points:

enables the

across any device in any location.

• Implement a structured Sales & Operations

quintessential ‘one version of the truth’ maxim we talk about so often, as well as assuring maximum

• Advanced analytics with the ability to slice and dice data to make informed decisions. • Cloud strategy helping to leverage best in

efficiency in both planning work and

class technology whilst enabling end user

executing it on the shop floor, with real-time

organisations to be business focused

feedback supporting the supply chain and

rather than spending their time supporting

the financial well-being of the business.�

operational systems, patching servers and other non-value add tasks.

planning process that is supported by the Executive team. • Be driven by exceptions. • Use different planning levels and levels of granularity. • Accurately classify products (Production Segmentation). • Use appropriate forecasting methods dependent on the product life-cycle phase

Online analytics

In terms of the main drivers for these

McGrane adds that there is an eye on the

changes and developments, Garsmeur

future too. “Online analytics may well

comments that DynaSys’s prospects are

(Sales, Marketing) to add their intelligence

replace traditional statistical algorithms in

expecting mobility and Web 2.0 as a

to the forecast. This is a combination of the

predicting future sales and stockholdings,�

standard part of their planning applications.

solution design (a nice and simple GUI)

he says. “That smart, connected 5-axis

“What was considered cutting-edge months

and the business process (don’t make it too

machining centre may have already told the

ago is now increasingly seen as the

onerous – let the planners be responsible

tooling supplier it has run out of bits by the

standard for being invited to the table by

for creating the base forecast and Sales to

time you get back to your office, or told the

organisations looking at implementing

machine manufacturer it has developed a

supply chain systems,� he remarks. “Whilst

vibration when doing a rough pass – on

ROI has always been an important part of

aluminium only‌�

supply chain projects, the current unsettled environment has increased the focus on this

(launch, maturity, decline). • Focus on making it easy for non-planners

add and review) • Invest in the training and development of planners. For example, CPIM to provide a broad understanding of supply chain. • Build a cross-functional culture to ensure all

McGrane makes the point that many of the

aspect greatly. How rapidly a prospect will

stakeholders work together, specifically

things happening now have been available

recoup their outlay and start to drive ‘actual’

planning, sales, manufacturing & finance.

for some time. “SYSPRO has had fully

savings is becoming a key decision-making

• Include forecast accuracy as part of bonus

integrated forecasting and inventory

driver for prospective clients.�

for the sales team to ensure they have ‘skin in the game’.

optimisation functionality for nearly 10 years, and advanced planning and scheduling

Garsmeur adds that change is the only

functionality for nearly 20,� he says. “I do,

constant, but the pace of that change is

And with regard to

however, think that the talk of Industry 4.0,

accelerating and this is leaving manufacturers

effective production

Big Data and the like have caused people to

and distributors stretched and without the

planning &

look around a bit more at the extant systems

ability to respond rapidly to these ever-shifting

scheduling; how can

and data they have, and are looking to

requirements they struggle to manage their

manufacturers better

extract value from those circumstances.�

supply chains and to satisfy their customers’

balance orders with

requirements. “This unsettled environment has

machinery and

Pascal Garsmeur, product manager for

led vendors to focus on technological

workforce capacity

demand & supply chain planning, DynaSys,

advances that deliver the ability to plan more

on the shop floor,

comments that, in terms of what will be

rapidly and accurately, whilst deployment of

and how can they

increasingly important from a technology

solutions becomes quicker and simpler,� he

ensure the right

standpoint will be the added value coming

says. “Advances such as IMD for rapid ‘real-

materials and right


time’ planning, templated deployments based

volume of suitably

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December 2017



Special Technology Report

$# % $ % $ " % !#" # %

Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP

skilled people are

to allow informed decisions,� he says.

themselves struggling to meet customer

ready for speedy

“Once this balanced global supply chain

expectations. “This scenario can be avoided

dispatch to the right

has been created, the actual scheduling

by having the right planning and scheduling

production area

and execution should happen more rapidly

software that provides managers and

without any

and with fewer hiccups or unexpected

business leaders with up-to-the-minute


surprises. By building the planning process

business data helping to predict future

production hold-ups?

as a ‘core model’, each plant can benefit

bottlenecks, staff and resourcing issues,

Garsmeur focuses

from best practice and not having to re-

and possible order conflicts,� he explains.

on a number of key

design the process for every site. Using a


planning solution that is deployed through


the cloud, each site can utilise the core

Artificial intelligence

proper co-ordination

model with a rapid and stable roll-out of the

Hall also makes the point that the artificial

of demand and


intelligence (AI) element of more recent

Ensure there is

supply using a Master Production Schedule

planning and scheduling software frees up

(MPS). This ensures demand is matched

workforce capacity with many tasks being

with the capacity of machines, labour and

‘Full truck load’

handled automatically. “This allows time to

material availability.

Also, with regard to logistics professionals,

be spent more effectively within the

how can they best plan and schedule their

business and help to keep costs down,� he

fleets in order to best serve their customers


• Combine efficient production planning with Lean strategies. • Execution should be properly prepared

while maintaining ‘full truck load’ and

with anticipation of capacity, resources

scheduling the most fuel-efficient routes

Andrey Reiner, expert in asset management,

and inventory level. This anticipation is

wherever possible? Garsmeur believes one

Capgemini, considers the Internet of Things

one of the main benefits of best in class

way to achieve this vision is to run a

(IoT) and greater levels of connectivity – and

production planning solutions.

distribution requirement plan that will take

about data being collected and meaningfully

into account full truck loading, logistics cost

translated into information that can then

demand & supply, powerful simulation

optimisation and the simulation and

produce more accurate forecasts and better

capabilities are required. For instance,

definition of an allocation model shared

plan demand in the supply chain. He adds

evaluating the infinite capacity plan

between distribution sites and production

that this type of methodology can also be

versus the finite capacity plan (including


used to better manage the workforce; those

• To define the best plan, balancing

stock policy, production constraints, service level...). • Evaluate the risks arising from inventory anticipation due to capacity smoothing.

people who execute the manufacturing Stuart Hall, sales director, Epicor Software

operations or those with responsibilities for

UK and Ireland, observes that ERP systems,

asset management etc.

like most other software supporting the manufacturing industry, are changing. “What

From a planning perspective, Reiner

was considered innovative in effective

considers that better connectedness of data

S&OP and IBP

integrated manufacturing management 20

concerning the workforce, machinery, the

Moreover, how can companies roll-out best

years ago is now considered clunky, out-of-

supply chain and third-party logistics etc.

practice planning & scheduling

date and not up to speed with the frenetic

can provide organisations with a better,

methodologies throughout multiple plants?

demands and pace of the modern industrial

more fully rounded real-time view. For

And how can both the business and

sector,� he says. “That’s why the move

example, he

operational arms of a business better

towards advanced planning and scheduling

explains that there

manage production and demand planning

software is vital. This software can, if used

are now concepts

for the good of the whole enterprise?

properly, be particularly effective in

whereby all of a

Garsmeur believes this is the main objective

reducing human error and the capacity for

company’s key

of the planning process known as S&OP

customer order mistakes – giving those in

operations can be

(Sales & Operations Planning) and IBP

control advanced warning whenever an

viewed in real-time

(Integrated Business Planning) to provide

order is placed and highlighting when

on multiple panels.

global supply chain visibility and the ability

they’re running low on a product necessary

So, there is now

to create a balance between the demand

for that order.�

greater real-time

and supply not just of one plant but for the

visibility and

whole supply chain (multiple plants, multi

Hall adds that many manufacturers find

everything is

distribution centres). “Ideally, this balancing

themselves guilty of over-committing to meet

becoming more

act should include both value and volume

customer demand; and, as a result, find






December 2017

$ $ % $# " # % # $ $ "#% #% " $ % % $! % $ ! %

Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP

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Special Technology Report

In the case of the

and maybe even order promising and

are trying to do the horizontal integration

more technologically

workforce planning. The idea is to integrate

end-to-end, unifying their solutions. They are


planning across the different domains of

also working on more of the vertical

organisations and

manufacturing, logistics, workforce, finance

integration. If they are in the middle they

how they use their

etc.; doing that internally within the

might be trying to go down and get more

planning tools,

enterprise but now also increasingly wanting

granular – something that we call respond

Reiner explains that,

to do that outside of the organisation – what

planning. If they are already there they

in the case of

we call multi-enterprise planning that

might be trying to go up and get into the


involves customers and suppliers.

optimised planning, which involves better use of resources. And there are vendors that

scheduling software, for example, people

“There is also vertical integration to

are involved in the long-term functionality,

and tasks can be

consider, because companies have

which is what we call configure planning.


planning happening at different levels of

So, many vendors are trying to build out

detail and granularity. It could be very short-

more of those layers that allow for that type

basis of qualifications or of time availability

term event driven; orders coming in on the

of vertical alignment; because that is what

etc. – so, there can be a considerably high

demand side, things happening with the

the market is asking for.�

level of automation within the system.

schedules in the plant, deployment

However, Reiner points out that there will

decisions to be made in the network, delays

still be a need to interact with the system in

from suppliers or in terms of shipments

Single version of the truth

instances where there is an exception;

between facilities – this all needs to be

In terms of other drivers for change, Payne

something that occurs that is not part of the

planned. However, you also want that linked

points out that end-users increasingly do not

normal routine. So, management by

to your tactical plan. You have a number of

want lots of different solutions from lots of

exception – interacting with the system only

resources and can flex them to some

different providers. “They are fed up with the

when something out of the ordinary or

degree – the people, the material, the

fact that they can’t plan in an integrated

unforeseen occurs – gives more freedom to

machines, capacities etc. – but you also

way, they can’t run scenarios across their

the company with regard to a greater level

have an optimal plan; maybe a blend

supply chain, they can’t collaborate

of automation. However, adds Reiner, it also

regarding cost, service, profitability and so

adequately if everybody is using different

requires more trust of the system on the part

on, as well as a higher-level plan in terms of

solutions,� he says. “They might also be

of the company.

what I might want my supply chain to look

using different data models, process models

for in the future. And all these things

and analytical models, and so interfaces are

increasingly have to link together. So, both

firing all over the place. It makes getting a

Unification of planning

horizontal and vertical planning are

single version of the truth – a unified plan

Tim Payne, research VP, Gartner, points out


that people can work on – that much harder.

scheduled on the

that one of the big trends Gartner has seen

Also, there are often gaps between the

develop over the past three years is the

“A company might have a business plan

applications, which are filled with

unification of planning. “This type of

and a strategy that links, for example, to its

spreadsheets. So, there is that kind of

planning model moves away from the

plans to build a new factory, new production

unification drive.�

practice of putting together a demand plan,

line or the idea of bringing in a new product

then preparing a network plan and then the

for a new market. This should then link down

Payne also

production plan, and from these plans

to when these things will be available and

addresses the topic

putting together a schedule,� he says.

how they could be used, because you will

of digitalisation, and

“People used to talk about integrated

need to execute on that strategy. For many

what that might

planning, but it’s really about the unification

years, the scenario has been about creating

mean for individual

of planning. Certainly, many leading

a plan and then handing it to execution. But

companies. “We see

companies recognise that breaking up

things happen and there can be a lot of

two major groups

planning degrades the quality of the plan.

firefighting. So companies want this to be

here – first, many

Planning likes to be joined up.�

more intelligent and more responsive in a

companies that are

way that keeps them closer to their

at a lower stage of

corporate goals.

maturity have

Payne then spoke about the importance of both horizontal- and vertical-type planning.

fragmented planning

“We often talk about horizontal integration –

“So, there is this vertical integration that has

and different parts

demand, inventory, replenishment,

to happen, and if you look at some of the

of the planning

production planning, production scheduling

planning solution vendors’ roadmaps they

process happening

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December 2017



Special Technology Report

Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP

in different places,

particular software vendor in question, and

interface for its platform is accessible to

with spreadsheet

the ERP system that a particular customer is

both operators and passengers, providing

trying to oil the

using. “I think better integration is becoming

real-time updates and functioning as a

wheels between

more and more available over time as the

booking portal.Â

those things.

planning vendors continue to develop their

Digitalisation for

tools,� he says. “That type of progress is

“With no driver required to man the vehicle,

them could mean

something that will always continue.�

fleet management becomes of strategic importance in order to improve capacity

getting to a unified planning solution;

Watkins considers that integration is getting

utilisation, reduce operational and marginal

getting to

easier, as the formats are simple and the

costs, optimise routes and vehicles

something that

speed of interaction can be much quicker.

utilisation.� says Frost & Sullivan research

everyone can work

McGrane believes the changes are subtle

analyst, Ankita Mukherji. “Improving

in to have a single

and apply to feedback. “For example, it may

connectivity between all modes of

version of the truth. Strictly speaking, this

have been acceptable a few years ago to

transportation, BestMile’s solution will play a

isn’t really digitalisation; we call it a planning

dump MRP data out to feed an APS,

strategic role in journey planning

system of record. It’s really about putting a

schedule away and execute,� he says.

services.â€? The Award for New Product

robust foundation in place.�

“Now, it is correctly proposed more often

Innovation is part of Frost & Sullivan’s Best

than not that the APS will perform a

Practices Awards which recognise

Payne adds that if a company is already at

schedule, and these data (particularly

companies in a variety of regional and

stage 3 maturity or above, digitalisation then

dates) will be fed back into the MRP to drive

global markets for outstanding achievement

often means automation of planning. “Many

it – perhaps as MPS entries – thus ensuring

in areas such as leadership, technological

of those companies will say they have

that supply and demand are lined up

innovation, customer service, and product

initiatives for automated planning, lights-out


development. Industry analysts compare

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market participants and measure

planning or people-less planning,� he says. “We have found what that means is not

Garsmeur maintains that end users are

performance through in-depth interviews,

automation of everything, but rather

looking for mobility and Web 2.0. “That is

analysis and extensive secondary research.Â

automation of different aspects. Planning is

the reason why we are offering more and

like a decision-making process – what am I

more Cloud-based full web solutions,� he

going to make, where do I need to make it

says, adding that integration tools such as

Planning in the near future

and how much inventory am I going to have

Dell Boomi now allow communication

What are likely to be some of the key

to hold? So, these companies are starting to

between almost any systems – whether on-

developments in the world of Demand

think a little bit more about those types of

premise or Cloud.

Forecasting & Planning solutions over the next

planning decisions and considering which

year or two? Watkins makes the point that in

aspects can they automate. Maybe there are

the FMCG arena in the USA there is more around the development of forecasting

fully automate. Then, they will look for

Transportation: Planning and route optimisation

machine learning and other capabilities and

With regard to a specific solution within a

working out replenishment to the store from

advanced analytics to enable that. Maybe in

specific vertical sector, Frost & Sullivan

DCs and back to the factory using the usual

terms of other decisions – such as where

recently recognised BestMile with the 2016

algorithms for replenishment. “This has yet to

they will need to collaborate on something

European Frost & Sullivan Award for New

take off seriously in Europe, but will do over

and get some buy-in on what-if scenarios –

Product Innovation, Based on Frost &

the next five years,�

they could possibly automate the

Sullivan’s analysis of the fleet management

he says. “It requires

preparation of those scenarios and then

software market. BestMile is one of the first

a genuine

feed that into an appropriate collaboration

providers of fleet management solutions for

commitment to be


autonomous vehicles. Its open source

collaborative, and in

integration protocol means that its solutions

turn it needs trust.�

certain types of planning decisions they can

consumer demand at EPoS level and then

are compatible with vehicles manufactured


by various automakers, and its software with


Have ways of best integrating these types of

any type of hardware. It delivers on-demand

comments that the

systems with other solutions developed to

and fixed route planning services through a

continuing focus on

any notable degree over the past year or

B2B2C Cloud platform that enables the real-

‘new’ planning

two? Castellina believes that the

time automated dispatch of vehicles, route

processes such as

development debate really depends on the

optimisation, and energy management. The






December 2017

#" % "! "# %" "# ! %$ " % $ $ " " %

Demand Forecasting/Planning/S&OP

seem to be creating a lot of interest at the moment within the marketplace. “How much of this is long term and how much is

Special Technology Report

Expanding the time horizon

Payne considers that, in terms of algorithmic supply

due to them being the current ‘in

Reiner anticipates more ongoing

chain planning, we

vogue/trendy’ areas within the Supply

developments regarding solutions that can

will see more

Chain market will be determined over time,�

help companies to better understand their

predictive and

he said.

operations; not only today in real-time but


also in terms of better understanding what

analytics. He also

Garsmeur adds that, longer term, IoT and

will likely occur tomorrow, next week, next

believes we will see

smart things will interact to make decisions

month and next year. “So, it’s about

a lot more machine

within certain parameters of acceptance. “If

expanding the time horizon and the

learning, neural

there are standard deviations of exception,

solutions that support this need,� he says.

networks and deep

then you’ll want human intervention, but if

For example, he makes the point that if I am

learning. “This will

there’s not, then these things can just

a service organisation and I am providing

help with

interact and essentially run it for you,� he

services to a number of companies and a

digitalisation and with degrees of

says. “Ultimately, it’s about how we

company asks if I can service a new fleet

automation,� he says. “A lot of end-user

leverage these different and better data

they have, or all these stores that they have,

companies today are worried about the

sets to improve forecasts, to better

as a service organisation I need to be clear

productivity of their planners. Many of the

understand our forecasting and how

about whether I have the capacity to handle

planners are doing lots of manual tasks

demand and supply interact.�

this request. It shouldn’t take me three

and slipping in and out of spreadsheets,

months to answer the question; it should be

and as companies embrace new business

! $ % ! $ ! % ! ! $ #$ # $ ! #" "$# %$ $ %

Hall believes Cloud-based systems and the

a very quick response because otherwise I

models and look at digital products and

continued proliferation of Cloud migration

am likely to lose the business to somebody

services and new markets they are

will no doubt have a large effect on

else. So, I need to think about visibility in

increasingly realising they can’t go on like

planning-related software solutions in the

terms of longer term capacity – whether it’s

this; they can’t have this low level of

future, and indeed in some cases are

the capacity of my own workforce or the

planner productivity where they are nurse-

already starting to do so. He adds that

capacity of my supply chain; because third-

maiding the technology a lot of the time.

there are several reasons for this; including

party logistics companies have limits – they

That all needs to be done at a higher level

ease of communication and ability to pull

are asked to do all sorts of things that can

of productivity. The planners can then do

down your business’s scheduling data at a

affect the margins of the organisations they

more value-added things such as looking

moment’s notice to any device.

are supplying services to. “At some point,

at the different trade-offs and scenarios or

the supply chain can start to fail, so there

developing their relationships with other

Hall also comments that planning and

needs to be a long-term view of what your

key stakeholders within the company.�

scheduling software is a constantly shifting

demand will likely be and you need to be

and changing landscape. “It can be hard

able to give organisations within your supply

Payne adds that there is also an issue

for manufacturers to know which system

chain a view of what they need to plan for,�

regarding talent; having the right people

can align most closely with their business

he says. “They have limited capacity and

for planning. “If you have more machine

needs,� he says. “Because of this, systems

need to plan in advance. If the supply chain

learning and you are encoding more of the

that can be responsive and demonstrate

starts to break down it can have a knock-on

knowledge of your senior planners, then

flexibility and agility will always be sought

effect sometimes involving liability and

you are less likely to lose that knowledge

after and in high demand.�

health & safety issues from a workforce

when they retire or move on. Another issue

management perspective. This is largely

is planner turnover. It can be hard to keep

Castellina anticipates more connected

why long-term planning is so important.� So,

younger planners in the role – many don’t

planning; connecting the individual aspects

with regard to technology, Reiner explains

want to stay with one company, they want

of planning to each other. He also foresees

that companies want a very quick and

to move on to something else. So,

the continuing development of Cloud

simple way of communicating between all

encoding more of that best practice

solutions from a planning perspective, and

the parties involved in the supply chain.

knowledge into the algorithms means

believes agility in planning and forecasting

“This need will probably result in more

companies can hold onto that knowledge

will develop further – “being able to make

application development, more information

more effectively, and this helps them to

changes on the fly to ensure that you are

being available to the people who execute

retrain and be far more value adding that

doing things related to realistic business

work orders, and more information being

they often are today.�


available to people who supply services to you.�



December 2017





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