Warehouse software – what does it add to automation?

Warehouse Software

Investment in warehouse controls and automation is often a considerable proportion of a budget but the impact and ROI is usually positive and immediate. In which case is the additional investment for software really worth it and what should you expect to get back? In the second of our articles about warehouse software we take a quick look at the main considerations.

If you’re going to install warehouse controls and automation why is warehouse software important?

The main point and key advantage of incorporating software into your plans is that it allows you to make intelligent, informed decisions. All operational information e.g. routing decisions can be put into the software so that the operation is directed by the software and changes are made at this level which is quicker, less complicated, and take place in real time.

Secondly, advanced logging and process monitoring means the software constantly delivers real time information. Either to give year on year comparisons or real time analytics showing what is happening there and then.

What about my other IT systems – how does it integrate?

If you choose software that has a good API then you shouldn’t have a problem. This means the order information you hold can be sent into the warehouse software so it can make the decisions required to be effective. Similarly it allows information gathered from the warehouse operation to be sent to your existing IT systems and be used to generate reports.

Where does the software sit within my IT structure?

It will vary depending on its status. If you’re looking at a very simple packing process it could be your only IT system and your supplier can manage it end to end.

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However in a more complex operation it can work as a fulfilment system that is a client to other information systems and fills a gap.

How does it manage multiple sites or systems?

Where your requirements are more complex the most effective and future proof way is to look at each process separately and set it up to work independently so that it achieves its targets. (Micro services).

By taking this modular approach to the system:

  • Services are organized around capabilities, e.g., hardware control, label design, printing or carrier integration.
  • Each individual task meets its precise objectives.
  • Each of the separate processes communicates and shares data with each other so that the overall objectives are achieved.
  • If changes need to be made it only affects one element not the whole solution.

Will it still provide support as my operations grow?

A good supplier will think about potential growth paths in their design so that adding new functionality doesn’t impact on what you have. However a software suite with a scalable modular structure will let you add on what you need at the right time for your business.

How much training and testing will be needed?

Ideally testing should happen with the real hardware as early as possible. Realistically the lead times to order and install warehouse machinery makes this very difficult to do. Therefore it’s worth checking if your supplier will create emulator programmes for the hardware which allow you to test the software without the need for any specialist machinery.

 

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A licensed modular software package that is wholly owned and developed by Conveyor Networks and is in use by customers such as WH Smith, QVC, Debenhams, Gameseek and Euro Car Parts.

The benefits of our imio software product stem from our understanding of automation and its efficiency benefits and our ability to integrate automation and software. Imio users can expect

  • Faster, clearer processes with accurate tracking and reporting from software that integrates seamlessly with other management systems.
  • Improved security – imio logs all actions in its database which can be queried at any time.
  • Good usability – imio has a clear User Interface requiring very little training.

For further information about imio software visit imio software or contact the team on 01925 757543 or info@conveyornetworks.co.uk