This leads to faster delivery times

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11/25/2021 – Category: IT

Product diversity, faster delivery times, flexible preferred locations – these are just a few of the challenges that make the e-commerce supply chain more complex than ever today. How can technology help here?

The buying process today sometimes looks like this: View in the web shop, try on in the shop, home delivery and return in the branch. This poses challenges for the supply chain. When operating different channels, one speaks of “omnichannel”. “Omni” stands for “all” or “combination”.

In retail, this means, according to Tessa Roberts from Bloomreach Inc: “A sales-oriented multichannel approach offers a seamless customer experience across all channels – regardless of whether customers shop online or in a brick-and-mortar store.” Companies need logistics that take this into account. Whether you serve sales channels from a warehouse structure or involve logistics service providers – an optimal fulfillment of requirements takes place from a holistic inventory view.

This requires companies to have networked fulfillment processes across all channels and systems. Real-time inventory management including sourcing is critical to success. In addition, there are various order and delivery types: from branch deliveries to wholesale orders to customer deliveries – up to batch sizes of one. Same-day or next-day deliveries put pressure on the supply chain.

Warehouse management system: process support through software

Process flexibility is required in omnichannel processing. Web shops and ERP systems are dependent on cross-channel real-time inventory management for optimal delivery time information. The success factor lies in the fast and reliable processing of orders at manageable costs based on the current customer order situation. Optimized warehouse processes, especially in order processing, are crucial here: bundling orders across channels, taking into account the various cut-off times, is the recipe for success. A modern warehouse management system (WMS) is designed to meet these omnichannel challenges, even in a growth environment. Cloud-based warehouse management system solutions can be flexibly integrated into the complex system landscape of the partners involved. In addition, capacities can be scaled up immediately in growth phases in order to cope with short-term load peaks. Their flexibility makes it possible to present a tailor-made and coordinated way of working across all channels and to process various types of orders that run in parallel.

More efficient processing through the use of technology

Warehouses are not just warehouses: the warehouse management system must be prepared for this. High throughput and complex processes require automation components. The integration of a warehouse control system for a holistic control of the plant with the components of the different manufacturers in the warehouse management system is essential.

Regardless of the degree of automation, autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and / or voice, i.e. voice-guided work, can accelerate the picking and returns process, for example. The robots, which work hand in hand with the employees, take on the time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks in the warehouse – for example, covering long distances or transporting heavy goods. Voice-guided work allows employees to concentrate fully on picking the goods, with both hands if necessary. This not only increases productivity, but also quality and thus reduces the return rate.

Warehouse management system
AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robots) take on time-consuming tasks so that employees can focus on more important tasks. Image: Körber

Transparency down to the last mile thanks to the warehouse management system

Even careful planning and processing cannot rule out a delay in delivery. Transparency along the entire supply chain is required so that these deviations from the planned process can be identified at an early stage. And relevant information can be distributed to all partners and appropriate measures can be taken. Transparent logistics processing therefore requires the integrated interaction of the warehouse management system with integrated shipping systems, transport management systems and also solutions for shipment tracking with corresponding proof of delivery.


E-commerce cannot do without modern technology. A warehouse management system provides the basis for optimal order processing across all order and delivery types. Appropriate technologies such as autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and / or voice systems promise further efficiency effects, also for future requirements. In order to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience, an integrated logistics solution is required that ensures transparency across the entire supply chain.

Also read: Autonomous Mobile Robots – 5 Advantages of Modern Helpers.

Warehouse Management System, Wilfried Pfuhl
Image: Körber

Wilfried Pfuhl is Chief Operating Officer Software of Körber-Supply Chain business area.

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