Koploy’s quote, pulled from his 2011 Market Trends Report on Warehouse Management Systems could not be more apt. What Koploy does not point out, however, is that the warehouse is so much more.
Each company’s warehouse represents the inner workings of nearly every product-centric company, large and small. The warehouse takes in everything from raw materials to finished product, while beating out manufactured goods to destination points throughout the globe.
A warehouse may be the backbone of logistical operations, but it is the heart of most businesses. And a Warehouse Management System (WMS) is the critical supplement that keeps it beating. So what will make up this supplement in 2011?
While several factors will be in play, both from an industry and an organizational standpoint, the two biggest drivers will be common to all:
In regards to the first point on economics, this will not signify quite as severe a stomach churn as in years past.
“An improved economy is giving buyers confidence to tackle long-postponed logistics upgrades. Companies will soon have the capital to either upgrade their outdated systems or invest in Warehouse Management Systems software for the first time,” writes Koploy.
A quote Koploy posts from Phil Obal, President at IDII helps to solidify this position:
“You can only wait so long before you need to spend money on improvements.”
It’s noted that it will be the small and medium sized businesses that drive WMS purchasing. Many of these companies find themselves in the WMS buying sweet spot, as it were, working within an environment shaped by a demand for aggressive growth, a warehouse marked by soon to be floundering systems, and a corporate culture free from the weight of longer purchasing cycles.
And partly because the smaller to mid-sized businesses are driving WMS purchases, a demand for efficiency will be absolutely critical to meet.
What this means is that the WMS will be called upon to do far more, from managing labor to integrating with Transportation Management Software (TMS.)
Ultimately, the drive generated by hungrier businesses – armed with more capital – will be a good thing for our industry as a whole, as everything from cloud-based to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems will improve their offerings to meet more complex needs. And ironically, meeting more complex needs will result in more efficient, more affordable operations for warehouses.
Whether you see your warehouses as the backbone of your logistical operations, or look at the broader picture to see your warehouse as the heart of your business, I encourage you to read Koploy’s 2011 Market Trends Report on Warehouse Management Systems.
The knowledge of what’s to come will ultimately help us all do more than just see the future. Rather, this knowledge will drive the demands we make and processes we implement that will shape the future.