Bringing Decision Intelligence to Warehouse Execution
July 2, 2020
How transforming raw data into predictive insights empowers and elevates warehouse execution
Machine-learning algorithms, advanced data-driven optimization techniques and artificial intelligence (AI) are not the stuff of science fiction but indeed are data science techniques available today to distribution center (DC) operators and managers. Combining these techniques with sophisticated warehouse execution system (WES) software results in real-time dynamic insights into the interplay between automation systems.
We call that decision intelligence. With it, you can orchestrate the most optimal execution strategies and achieve maximum business results in today’s complex fulfillment environments.
Data transformation: from predictions to operational enhancements
Inside a modern DC, machine controls, sensors, automation systems and fulfillment processes generate as many as 1,000 data points a second. From every DC corner, there’s a continuous flow. For years, there’s been a lot of talk about this big data. It’s time to focus on the big opportunities this data represents for e-commerce retailers.
Decision intelligence enables you to gain real-time visibility into DC operations and enhance your automated decision-making process to achieve optimal fulfillment results.
Decision intelligence can be applied to one of the main challenges that e-retailers face: the constant distractions and disruptions in their day-to-day operations.
DC operators respond and react to changes in demand and workload imbalances, which shift their attention from one section of the warehouse to the next. Not only do these disruptions and interventions consume excessive amounts of managerial-level attention, they also lead to idle and underutilized systems and labor resources. Decision intelligence offers the potential to break this reactive cycle. You can take back control of distribution operations. Make the shift to decision intelligence to:
- Predict workload and accurately anticipate future states of warehouse automation
- Avoid bottlenecks and congestion by automating workflow and balancing workloads
- Maximize performance with optimal execution strategies produced dynamically
Real-world scenario: What does decision intelligence look like?
The fulfillment of e-commerce orders introduces unprecedented complexities into distribution environments. Delivery windows shrink. Product varieties (SKUs) multiply. Order volumes accelerate beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated DCs.
Many online retailers are transitioning to advanced automation and robotics to meet these demands. However, traditional strategies of planning fulfillment waves days (or even hours) in advance are no longer viable. Order priorities change in an instant. To succeed, DC operators need the flexibility and agility to adapt continuously to fluctuations in demand and resource availability.
That’s what decision intelligence provides.
To determine the ideal sequence of orders to be picked, decision intelligence runs a variety of possible scenarios. Then it highlights how these actions would create a cascade of effects on other systems and resources throughout the fulfillment ecosystem. With advanced decision intelligence capabilities built into WES software, the potential impacts of specific decisions or scenarios can be automatically anticipated. Transforming all the raw DC data into actionable insights requires the use of WES software.
In a connected, industrial internet of things (IIoT) infrastructure, these tools aggregate data inputs from every automation system, sensor, scanner, decision point, workstation, staff member and product flow to determine the optimum sequence of events needed to meet fulfillment targets and maintain DC workflow balance.
Expand your decision intelligence
The Momentum software suite from Honeywell Intelligrated is equipped with a powerful machine-learning engine — Decision Intelligence — that delivers the operational efficiencies required to optimize today’s e-commerce environments.
Combined with robust WES capabilities and comprehensive modular functionality, Decision Intelligence gives e-retailers the tools to accelerate their digital transformations and empower fulfillment performance execution. This agile and extensible technology architecture enables you to scale up quickly to meet current and future requirements.
With Momentum software, you can combine advanced automation, robotics, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), voice, labor management, machine control, real-time asset monitoring and a wide variety of order fulfillment technologies — all within a connected infrastructure seamlessly. And you’ll gain visibility and take control over every facet of your fulfillment operations.
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