The current state of affairs in warehousing is chaotic.
I’m going to use a simple analogy: ships at sea. I want to start by saying that it’s not my intention to be disrespectful to the hardworking men and women of this industry. This is just an analogy that I think makes for a great “light-read”. We all know how complex warehouses are, so if this simplicity bothers you please don’t read on…
Imagine you’re at sea in the middle of the ocean with lots of other ships. The captain of one of the ships is trying to get his bearings and figure out where they are, but it’s really difficult with all the other ships around. He doesn’t want anyone else knowing where he is, so he relies on dead reckoning (estimating your current position based on your course and speed). The only problem with this approach is that it requires the captain to make assumptions about the speed he’s traveling at, and his course.
He can usually get an idea of these variables by looking at nearby ships. If they’re moving slowly, he assumes he must be too (and if they’re speeding along like missiles, then it’s probably time to speed up).
I think this is the exact situation that many warehouses are in. One huge issue is that the speed of a warehouse can vary dramatically from one shift to another shift, or even for an individual worker during their shift. This means making accurate estimations based on other nearby ships (in our analogy, other warehouses) is difficult because you don’t know what their speeds are at any given moment. As a result, many warehouses rely on very rudimentary metrics like case per hour (CPH) to gauge how well they’re running.
While there are certainly ways to use this metric effectively (and I’ll get into that in some follow-up posts), it’s still an inherently flawed approach because you don’t know the speed at which other warehouses are moving.
The point of this analogy is to explain why so many warehouses have inefficient processes. Warehouses simply don’t have any other option because they lack the data necessary to truly benchmark performance. This is unfortunate because it limits their ability to make improvements and ultimately become more competitive in today’s market (which becomes ever more competitive as technology advances).
In the next few posts, I’ll get into some specific examples where our EDGE warehousing management system can help make warehouses more efficient. In the bigger picture, we want to create a revolution for warehousing enabled by data that’s never been available before at a warehouse level. We believe this will allow warehouses to become more competitive and ultimately grow their businesses – and that’s what it’s all about.
Warehouses are one of the most complex industries in business. They rely on lots of moving pieces to get their product out, which means that it’s difficult for them to measure just how well they’re performing at any given moment. The solution is simple: data!
Data helps you make better decisions for your business. This is true in warehousing as well, which is why we’re excited to help set a new standard in the industry.
You can find out more about how a WMS can help your business by clicking here.
We would be happy to discuss your specific requirements and see how we can help you reach your business goals.