The online sales channel is getting more complex and driving the urge for manufacturing businesses to adopt warehouse management systems. ARC Advisory Group said these systems saw an 8 percent growth in 2012, occurring in both emerging and well-established markets. The expanded adoption of add-on modules, increased benefits delivered by supply chain execution platforms and increased demand from the expansion of e-commerce will continue to drive the thirst for WMS programs, the group said in a report.
"Omni-channel retailers are integrating brick and mortar and e-commerce distribution channels. Traditional warehouses are being outfitted with WMS functionality to support the individual item handling requirements of e-commerce fulfillment," stated Clint Reiser, enterprise software analyst and the author of ARC's recently released "Warehouse Management Systems Global Market Research Study."
ARC said the omni-channel retail paradigm, which entails the e-commerce industry, is driving the urge for more warehouse management systems, as retailers are now focused on stores being replenished and focused on sales. In-store management systems are also being procured to help expand order and fulfillment options, as well as improve store-level accuracy of inventory.
Industry professional Jonathan Bellwood gave a presentation at ChannelAdvisor Catalyst last year providing the top tips for warehouse management and order fulfillment for ecommerce. He stated that the fulfillment should come from one system and barcodes should be used for accuracy. A separate presentation from Bellwood's company said 50 percent more orders can be shipped with the same number of staff with warehouse management, customer loyalty can be increased with better accuracy and stock take can be finished in 10 percent of the time a company would normally do it in.
Integration, add-ons will also fuel growth
ARC said the benefits of integrated supply chains will continue to drive further sales of warehouse management systems, as companies realize that operational silos can be removed, information can be shared more easily and operational and analytic perspective can be provided by improving data collection and usage efforts. These benefits are expected to contribute to the growth of systems, as organizations will see quicker and better implementations of new software.
Add-on's will also be a big help, as warehouse analytics, labor management and slotting optimization have all seen big growth, ARC said.
"Many WMS suppliers currently offer a wide range of available WMS add-ons and many other suppliers are currently developing add-on functionality to extend their current WMS solution set," the report said. "ARC is forecasting above average growth rates for the add-ons as more suppliers extend their product lines to include additional add-on options and customers continue to adopt these solutions."
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