Portrait of an Automated Warehouse

David Blanchard uses this article to explain the value and importance of a highly visible, highly automated warehouse. Warehousing well requires not only best practice enforcement and optimization, but also a keen eye in each individual process, how the equipment helps or hinders order fulfillments, and the software system that supports the warehousing activities: The key, according to an Aberdeen Group study of warehousing best practices, is to adopt more efficient order fulfillment processes, particularly by improving visibility to incoming inventory status. “For manufacturers, improved visibility allows for better planning of storage for materials needed for production,” point out Pezza and Viswanathan. “Knowing the levels of available materials will allow for uninterrupted, on-schedule production, facilitating on-time delivery to downstream customers.” Technology enablers to achieve that level of visibility include warehouse management systems (WMS), warehouse control systems, business intelligence and radio frequency identification (RFID). The article then lists the elements of PACE (Pressures, Actions, Capabilities, and Enablers) as a quick bullet point list, helping clarify the importance and impact of each element.

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