The Strategic Role of Warehouse Management in the Supply Chain

The speed of commerce today means that logistics and freight companies must respond with faster throughput times while lowering costs to squeeze more from already narrow profit margins. Market trends such as value-added services growth, and increased automation are transforming the way logistics providers do business. Further, E-commerce is growing at an exponential pace and the diverse fulfillment, distribution and delivery points require integrated digital and physical inventories and transportation tracking.

Warehouse management plays a strategic role in the supply chain by enabling inventory distribution, sorting, or cross-docking processes that strive to meet the growing demand of the market. However, traditional warehouse management systems are not designed with the flexibility or technology capacities to address ongoing challenges in the industry.

  • Location: Know where your inventory is throughout the entire warehouse process flow, from receiving to storage, to reduce excess inventory and improve inventory turns
  • Accuracy: Meet the Service-Level-Agreements (SLA) and avoid any misplaced inventory to increase customer satisfaction and inventory control
  • Space Utilization: Make the most out of warehouse space to improve productivity and throughput times
  • Order Picking and Put-Away: Optimize the inventory handling operation by choosing the appropriate level of automation to reduce operating expenses

Today, many warehouse operators and logistics providers are looking for technology solutions, such as IoT, to help their business run more efficiently and deliver new services to their customers that will help them stay at the forefront of this logistics industry transformation.

At Intel, we are developing IoT-based warehouse solutions that will enhance warehouse management systems with the following considerations.

1. Process Automation
Inventory validation, registration, and booking is a critical warehouse operation, yet 91% of the time this is performed manually. By leveraging Intel sensor technology and edge infrastructure, warehouse systems can obtain actionable insights from their operations to drive near real-time decision making.

2. Inventory Traceability
Whether it is spares or equipment moving through a workflow, the importance of knowing where the inventory is at any given time could be the solution to either spending the next few hours (or days) looking for a “lost” unit or ordering a new one. Intel is developing location tracking and wireless sensor network technologies that provide utmost traceability within a warehouse or factory environment.

3.  Efficient Technologies
Greater demands for consumer convenience necessitate faster response times across multiple sales and distribution channels. Traditionally logistics was an overhead, the last step towards value realization, but most recently logistics has emerged to be a major differentiator. One aspect of this transformation has been the drive to optimize warehouse solution’s cost and architecture. As the #5 Gartner ranked Supply Chain in 2018, Intel is able to iterate and optimize its IoT technology to make better products and deliver an increased consumer experience.