Manufacturing & Logistics IT - December 2019

Page 40

MLIT Dec'19 Special Report p40-45.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 28/11/2019 14:07 Page 40

Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice-directed picking

Boxing clever Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about current and possible future trends and areas of development within the world of warehouse management systems and voice-directed picking solutions – including those related to automation, augmented reality and the digitisation of warehouse processes.


any warehouse or distribution

assistants to drone inspections. She adds that

through efficient order

centres today need to be more

the software-based management systems have

processing, increasing

agile than ever before. This is in

also seen a fair amount of improvements with

productivity of

no small part due to the

cloud being the major driver for change. “Cloud-

employees, reducing

continuing rise of omnichannel,

based WMSs have allowed retailers and other

management time and

balancing online orders – often single orders to

supply chain owners to overcome the barriers of

lowering customer

ship to single consumers – with bulk orders to

legacy systems and connect to any ERPs, CRMs

support burden

store. In order to make their daily routines as

and marketplaces,” says Vidyasekar. “In today's

(returns etc) through

efficient as possible many solutions vendors are

omnichannel scenario, the ability to talk to other

cloud-based systems

rising to the challenge to meet these more

systems is extremely important. For instance,

or new tech such as

dynamic picking and replenishment

imagine a scenario where a customer orders

voice picking is

requirements. In this report we will look at the

online but chooses to pick up from the store but


current state of play regarding warehouse

then decides to return it and opts for ‘collect from

management systems as well as other

home’. This means a logistics company will have

Robert Hood, principal, Capgemini, comments

complementary solutions that can all contribute

to pick up the product from the customers home.

that hands-free devices for order picking are

to greater time, cost and accuracy in the

This type of fulfilment involves three disparate

becoming increasingly important due to the

warehouse or DC. One of the most important

systems (online marketplace, store and the

increasing requirements for each-picking to

areas of technology in this regard is voice-

logistics company) and without the cloud APIs

support direct-to-consumer fulfilment.

directed picking systems. We also consider what

enabling real-time communication, it would be

“Distribution centres that historically may have

might be on its way to

time consuming to co-ordinate the job orders

been required to fulfil in pallets, layers or cases

the mainstream in the

between all three.”

are now being required to support each picking

Robert Hood, principal,

and parcel shipping as consumer demand is

near future.

driving CPG companies to begin accepting

Archana Vidyasekar, research director, Visionary Innovation Group,



So, to begin, Archana


direct-to-consumer orders,” he says. “Voice

Vidyasekar, research

Vidyasekar maintains that the omnichannel, fast-

picking solutions are superior to the use of

director – Visionary

paced nature of the business is the biggest

handheld devices as they provide a truly hands-

Innovation, Frost &

incentive for change. “Legacy systems simply

free operation. The continued trends toward

Sullivan, makes the

cannot keep up,” she comments. “The cost of

increased automation in distribution centres is

point that warehouses

order fulfilment can be anywhere between 60% -

driving emphasis on integrated warehouse

have seen a lot of

70% of the total cost and if a product is returned

control that provide the ability to coordinate

innovation over the

owing to wrong picking or flaky consumers, the

activities among traditional handheld and voice

past decade, from

additional returns costs will squeeze any

picking and varying types of automated material

robots picking

margins. Therefore, lowering operational costs

handling equipment including goods-to-person,



December 2019

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.