The Rise of Warehouse Orchestration Through Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics

Warehouse orchestration, leveraging predictive and prescriptive analytics, emerges as a transformative approach to optimize warehouse operations.

In the complex arena of food logistics, technology is increasingly intertwined with operational strategies to drive efficiency and responsiveness. Warehouse orchestration, leveraging predictive and prescriptive analytics, emerges as a transformative approach to optimize warehouse operations.

Integrating warehouse orchestration with existing systems

Warehouse orchestration technologies are not standalone solutions but function atop existing warehouse management systems (WMS), warehouse execution systems (WES), and warehouse control systems (WCS). By drawing and consolidating data from WMS, WES, yard management systems (YMS), and even labor management systems (LMS), warehouse orchestration creates a comprehensive overview that enables real-time decisions and facility-wide optimization. This integration allows for a single interface capable of managing the four critical pillars of warehouse orchestration: labor planning, inventory management, human-robotic interactions, and space optimization.

Warehouse orchestration defined

Warehouse orchestration orchestrates logistical components using advanced analytics to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency. It combines predictive analytics, which forecasts future scenarios, with prescriptive analytics, which outlines strategic responses. By optimally planning the perfect sequence of activities within the given constraints at each site, warehouse orchestration ensures that every operation aligns with business objectives.

1. Labor planning

Efficient labor management is pivotal in logistics. According to a study by MHI, almost 90% of warehouse operators identify workforce management as a key competitive factor. Predictive analytics forecasts labor needs by analyzing historical data, seasonal peaks, and order volumes. In contrast, prescriptive analytics utilizes this data to optimize where each person spends their time as conditions change, ensuring peak productivity. Critical to success in this area is the strategic planning of personnel deployment on specific equipment or designated pick areas, which is fundamental for operational efficiency and safety. This is challenging for warehouse leadership today, as site constraints, equipment availability, and overall flow constraints require labor management by task and area to constantly be reshuffled to promote optimal inventory flow.

2. Inventory flow management

Effective inventory management is crucial for cost control and service levels. Mismanaged inventory flow can lead to a significant loss in revenue due to controllable cuts, stockouts, and overstock issues. Predictive tools analyze past trends and current planned orders to project future inventory availability, and prescriptive analytics advises on actions to align inventory with expected demand, significantly reducing carrying costs and enhancing service quality. This manifests in a system responsible for managing both inbound and outbound operations from the same labor pool with the same spatial constraints to significantly enhance controllable fill rates by integrating these flows seamlessly. This often results in activities like cross-dock at consumer goods sites and almost always veers away from the usual "if we're busy, focus on outbound" framework often employed by the tribal knowledge present at most facilities.


Read Full Article

Request a Complimentary Assessment

Download Future of Supply Chain eBook