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Saturday, March 18, 2023

Automated Decision Making at the Warehouse

 Useful thoughts, makes much sense.

Automated Decision-Making in the Warehouse

Warehouse-within-warehouse pictured on tablet screen


March 16, 2023  Sponsored by LogistiVIEW

Though warehouse management systems (WMS) are widely employed, they are not the ultimate answer to optimized warehouse operations. Moving to the next level — using automated intelligence for real-time decision-making and task-flow optimization — is now feasible.

While advanced process optimization has been employed in many manufacturing operations for some time, the added complexities of many warehouse operations have made this impractical until now.

In a manufacturing plant, there are typically one or more assembly lines that perform a limited number of tasks. In a warehouse — particularly in those handling e-commerce or consumer goods — an assembly line has to be essentially created for each of the hundreds or thousands of items being handled in real time, with the product mix continually changing.

Today, WMS requires people at all levels in the operation to make decisions based on complex information. Its capabilities are designed to ensure that data and inventory are not lost, providing detailed input, but not a clear story, of how that information should influence the next decision. Only now has computing power advanced to the level at which AI can successfully take over where manual decision-making has typically been required in most WMS systems.

Relieving Pressures on Decision Makers

When there’s too much data for a human to process in real time, managers can be pushed to make decisions that are sometimes based on a “gut” feeling or on historical practice, in situations that seem similar to circumstances they’ve previously encountered.

In reality, a number of decisions need to be made almost simultaneously, including:

•    What product needs to be released next?

•    What path should the order take through the warehouse?

•    Who should work on the order?

•    How should a scheduling exception be handled?  .... ' 

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