October 22, 2017 admin

Playing Catch-Up With the Warehouse of Tomorrow? Fast Track With Low-Code Integration

With the rise of ecommerce, traditional brick-and-mortar retail and distribution organizations have been challenged to adapt to new fulfillment methods. They need to leverage their existing assets and retail footprint to create true omnichannel customer experience.

The involvement of large online shopping giants moving aggressively into local Australian markets has helped kick-start mature markets into thinking differently about how they are able to fulfill their customer orders.

Making Your Legacy Warehouse Systems Work Better

Many warehouses today are stuck with legacy systems. These are creating a drag on operations, workflows and the bottom-line. Such inefficiencies from old, cumbersome and expensive to maintain software applications are multiplied throughout the entire warehouse.

A standard warehouse will use many of the following systems to run specific aspects of their business:

  • Warehouse Management Systems (WMS): Control inventory and locations within the warehouse and provide tracking of movements
  • Warehouse Control Systems (WCS): Provide machine-level control for material handling equipment (MHE) such as forklifts, conveyor systems and other specialized warehouse equipment
  • Labor Management Systems (LMS): Provide productivity and performance management of labor within the warehouse
  • Warehouse Execution Systems (WES): Provide tracking and control of warehouse processes which help to organize, sequence and synchronize operations

Traditionally, the “silo approach” dictated that having best-of-breed software to run specific functions within your warehouse was necessary to ensure the best results from each. However, these systems tend to be hard to interface with one another, leaving the organization longing for true real-time connectivity.

As we know now, cross-functional visibility is a core requirement of successful organizations. An integrated warehouse management system (WMS) can help an organization build a backbone to their warehousing, inventory and logistics function.

Such a system can then be plugged into an enterprise system in an effort to create a true end-to-end, real-time fulfillment system. Such integrated, orchestrated and automated systems power agile organizations that exceed customer expectations.

Using Integration to Modernize Your Warehouse

Many organizations, however, do not have the resources or the capacity to implement completely new systems. Such a massive overhaul of two, three or more systems would be supremely demanding of resources, take enormous time, and introduce a substantial risk of disruption to your enterprise.

That’s where a cloud-native, low-code integration platform can rewrite the rules of how you manage your warehouse and its core management software.

With an integration platform as a service (iPaaS), you can build your future architecture by quickly and easily connecting various systems. The unified Boomi platform is an example of an iPaaS which provides a complete portfolio of tools you’ll need to address all aspects of building an integrated, modern warehouse. With the right iPaaS, you can:

  • Integrate your various applications
  • Create master data to prevent dirt/redundant data
  • Run your trading network EDIs with hyper-efficiency
  • Manage your growing collection of APIs
  • Automate workflows between employees and applications

A fully integrated warehouse system will provide immediate benefits from real-time data sharing and reporting. And with a cloud-native platform such as the one offered by Boomi, it’s easy to start fast and start small, focusing on one pilot project to test out how much value rapid integration provides your organization.

With a unified warehouse integration platform, you can integrate traditionally isolated systems and applications.

Seamless, two-way connections among your key applications and databases are critical. You can get information and data to where it’s needed, whether your interactions are within your organization or between your partners, suppliers and customers.

This level of integration, coupled with the right managed services, can also facilitate the exchange of EDI documents and manage trading partner relationships with very high accuracy. It eliminates the need to install and maintain third-party software suites.

In fact, using a new generation, native-cloud, drag-and-drop EDI management platform, coupled with an agile integration platform, is foundational technology for modern warehouses. Together, this unified approach extends visibility and control of your entire supply chain within your warehouse and throughout your trading partner network.

Furthermore, by connecting traditionally isolated information silos, it will be possible for your organization to reduce manual data processing and increase the accuracy of your data with master data management.

As with integration and EDI management, progressive digital companies are moving to cloud-native, low-code master data management systems that remove many of the traditional complexities of implementing MDM to govern your warehouse and supply chain data.

With radically improved integration, EDI and MDM development and management environments, your warehouse will have far more accessible quality data for driving efficiencies and innovation.

Create a Agile, Hybrid Warehouse Infrastructure

With a platform such as Boomi, integrations, EDI tasks, and master data management can literally be done in hours or days, compared to weeks, months or even years using traditional approaches.

The benefits of a unified iPaas such as Boomi, include:

  • Cost savings in platform administration and maintenance
  • “Economies of skill” from managing all supply chain connections in one development environment (via application integration, EDI communications, master data and API management)
  • Automation of time-consuming and complex cross-platform business transactions
  • Scalability to your business through the automation of manual processes to support rapid growth and change
  • Streamlined migration to future systems and applications
  • Increased visibility across your systems for responsiveness
  • Reduced dirty data and redundant information across the enterprise
  • Increased accuracy of your business processes and analytics

The future of warehousing is rapidly moving towards automated systems both in materials handling mechanization, as well as process automation. It is also essential that a steady stream of real-time, up-to-date and accurate information is available to all the decision makers within your organization.

Native-cloud, low-code integration answers the need for digital transformation. Through modern, rapid integration, you can create a warehouse capable of moving with far greater efficiency and visibility.

In an increasingly saturated and competitive industry, integration is your competitive advantage. True integration is the key to success and the longer you wait, the further you fall behind your competitors.

A new wave of competitors is already setting up modern warehouses, driven by cloud services, automated workflows and agile methodologies. To keep pace, integration can help your legacy systems move faster.

About the Author Jeffrey Triantafilo is an executive with Fuzzy LogX, a design and consulting service in Australia focused on helping organizations in the warehouse and distribution center markets.

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