Importance of WMS in navigating through the pandemic

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The pandemic had sparked a seismic effect on the economic and the social fabric of the globe thereby leading to disproportionate disruptions. As the public crisis reshapes our world, sunrise sectors like e-commerce witnessed unprecedented growth with the customer’s ever-increasing preference to shift away from physical platforms. With consumer behaviour undergoing significant and everlasting changes led by digital adoption, e-commerce brands are sharpening their focus on strengthening warehousing and distribution capabilities.

To meet the ever-growing fulfilment needs of both the B2B and B2C customers, businesses are re-thinking their warehouse operations, from design and staffing to system and software. The accelerated pace of digitization of warehousing and the logistic sector is resulting in a more resilient and innovative platform to convert adversities into opportunities for the e-commerce industry. As a testimony of the growth witnessed, the Indian warehousing market is expected to reach 2000 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 15%, as per the report on Warehousing market in India 2021 by Research and Markets. This rapid adoption demands digital technology to enable alignment across facilities, order management and labour that supports the complex supply chains. 

GST and Ecommerce drive operational efficiency 

Today’s competitive landscape, agile workforce, and connected economy has put the spotlight on the warehousing and logistics industry to initiate consumer-centric solutions. Additionally, with the implementation of the Good and Services Tax (GST), the warehouse and distribution sector is set to transform with the uniform tax regime across the country.  The enactment of GST laws facilitated centralized registration, unifying, and consolidating warehouses to capitalize from economies of scale.

A robust Warehouse Management Solution (WMS) is key for effective utilization of inventory, space, labour, and equipment. From tracking raw materials to delivering the final product to the end consumer, efficiency in the warehouse is now imperative to facilitate timely and accurate order fulfillment while ensuring high industry standards. A flexible fulfillment model which supports safety embedded with advanced technology is critical for business continuity, targeting customer satisfaction while achieving competitive advantage. 

Measuring maximum utilization: 

According to a report by Statista, the total warehouse area across the country was estimated to be approximately 250 million square feet in 2020, up from 200 million square feet in 2019. This showcases the growth rate of 50 million square feet of warehouse space added annually. For instance, an efficient WMS maximizes space utilization by broadening vertical racking and streamlining operations by reducing wastage. As the system takes complete control of the inventory from receipt to delivery, mitigating safety risks, fulfilling on-demand deliveries enables measuring and predicting every milestone. 

Automate to Optimize 

Inventory management plays a critical role in the health of any business. However, as the demand continues to intensify, legacy systems simply cannot keep pace with the dynamic workloads on modern warehouse management. Advanced WMS is designed to integrate disparate systems and deliver automation for managing complex networks and deliver operational excellence.  Additionally, incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities will streamline informed decisions, ease of inventory management, improved productivity and lower cost of operations.

Covid, the biggest change management 

The pandemic has influenced the future of warehouse and distribution that is driven by automation to meet the demands of the ‘new normal’ and support tomorrow’s growth. Robust planning to optimize supply chains will increase efficiency, lower errors, and improve space utilization. Warehousing and logistic sector are well poised for success by creating an omnichannel strategy to gain real-time visibility across networks for significantly improving throughput and reducing costs. With resilient organizations and a resilient country, the economy is bound to bounce back and move towards improvements at a rapid pace to ensure retailers see a good base again.

This article is authored by Bino George, Head of Business Consulting, Infor India

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