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Dematic rolls out formidable software framework

03 June 2019

Order fulfillment has become hugely complex. To cope, the warehouse needs to become intelligent to deliver, says Ian Abbott, head of software solutions, Dematic Northern Europe.

Consumers are ever-more demanding creating increasingly diverse and challenging service requirements. They are quick to check prices and place orders on the go, while constraints on retailers are tightening, with rising costs, escalating peaks and mounting difficulties in finding labour. 

These are complex demands that will increasingly require, not one, but a set or series of solutions working in harmony. Manual operations, perhaps with voice technology or mobile devices, may work alongside many and varied automated processes and these will need to be managed as a whole, in synchronicity, to produce optimum results. Flexibility and agility to change and re-allocate resources in real-time will be a fundamental requirement, and so success or failure will be heavily dependent upon the capabilities and intelligence of the coordinating software – the Warehouse Execution System.

WMS should be supported by a comprehensive range of analytical tools that can offer insights into the performance and running of the warehouse. With a foundation based upon smart and scalable software, manual processes and subsystems can be easily added and adjusted to constantly deliver optimum performance across the warehouse – supporting the business as it grows. 

Dematic offers the iQ software suite to achieve this. It comprises:

If retail organisations already have their own WMS for order and inventory management, Dematic’s Warehouse Execution and Control System, and iQ Optmise, can be integrated with all leading proprietary warehouse management systems.

Dematic’s iQ Optimise software has the intelligence and power to manage staff in real-time, optimising the allocation of work to smooth throughput and maximise the performance of the site. Task Interleaving and Move Logic can be cleverly deployed to dynamically direct staff to where they are most needed, switching quickly between picking and replenishment, or seizing opportunities to perform tasks as they occur. Notification of a priority order may coincide with a passing opportunity to pick that item. 

Smart software used in this way reduces the need for running batches, as picking and replenishment become far more dynamic, effectively producing a continuous, waveless process. And this logic is being used to enhance the efficiency of the Dematic Multishuttle system too. A mixed product tote retrieved and presented to a picker may well have several items picked from it at the same time, as the software maximises the opportunity for fulfilling further orders, greatly enhancing productivity. 

Fashion-specific solutions

The fashion sector predominantly requires item level picking, both for high street deliveries in totes and eCommerce orders. There are various levels of solution available, across waveless picking and Put Walls, batch picking and sortation, batch picking using pouch sorters or just item picking direct to despatch cartons. A particular highlight here is the Dematic Pouch System, which is well suited to eCommerce operations.

Dematic’s pouch sortation system is an automated hanging system for efficiently storing, buffering, preparing, and shipping multi-line orders. Importantly for the fashion industry, it can accommodate both hanging and flat goods simultaneously, and is the ideal application for apparel e-commerce.

Returns handling can also be made simpler and more efficient with the Dematic Pouch System. Returned items can be placed in the pouch system and dynamically buffered, allowing items to be quickly called for despatch as soon as a new order is received. The system saves on time and effort placing returned items back to stock and enhances availability during short seasons.

 
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