You don’t need to wait for sensors data
With all the hype around smart warehouses (most of that hype is well deserved), you may develop a notion that in order to gain the full advantage of advanced analytics in your warehouse operations, you need to wait till your warehouse is fully automated and/or smart. Fortunately, that is not the case. There is a long list of analytical approaches that you can leverage with your current ecosystem of factory information systems. We will review some of those approaches in the post.
Warehouse information systems landscape
The illustration below shows the most common warehouse information systems landscape and how these systems interact with each other.
Note that WMS is core to the landscape and all other systems interact with it. The integration of systems like LPS, WSS, WPM and YMS is tighter than that between WMS and ERP systems.
The Process view of systems
In order to understand what type of Analytics can be leveraged within a warehouse and how, we first need to understand which aspects of a warehouse process interfaces with which system. Below is an illustration that maps the process to systems that the process interfaces (I am assuming that the readers are familiar with warehouse processes).
The Information view of Systems
The next piece of information that we need to know is what type of information/data is generated/captured during that particular interface. So we will now add another layer into our diagram that illustrates the details of information generated. The type of information/data generated will then help us determine the analytical approaches we can leverage.
Adding the Analytics view
Now that we have the insights on what type of data is being generated by each system, we will now determine what type of useful insights can be drawn from the data and what type of analytical approach can be leveraged to generate that insight.