Analytics: A Revolution in Warehousing
10. 03. 2023
The logistics and supply chains of the future will build their agility and resilience on digital technologies, data and talent. As warehouses and logistics processes create huge amounts of data, they can be used to your advantage with the right approaches, tools and analyses. Above all, they will help you make better and faster decisions.
Today, companies are developing in a fast, dynamic business environment. The technological solutions available are changing the way we work more than ever, shaping business strategies and dictating competitiveness. Big data, the power of data, predictive analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, business intelligence: these are merely the fragments that make up the complex area of analytics.
In our operation, business or data analytics is the area that we are most familiar with and that is most important. Using statistical methods, machine learning algorithms, computer modelling and other techniques, we can collect, process and interpret large volumes of data. All of this is aimed at gaining insights and identifying current trends and patterns, as well as obtaining other relevant information that enables us to make well-informed business decisions, understand customer preferences better, improve our production processes, etc.
Business Analytics as a Key Player in Warehouse Management
Can we use the analysis of data on the flow of goods and other information in a warehouse to help us plan and optimise the operation of the warehouse? Absolutely. Business analytics is an important part of advanced warehouse management solutions, and as such also part of the Atlas WMS solution. To ensure full traceability and the recording of each movement of goods, a large amount of qualitative data is collected in Atlas WMS. Smart use and proper analysis transform this data into information that will help you optimise and improve your operation.
A warehouse is data. Data are usually unstructured and therefore difficult to process “manually”. Atlas therefore first converts WMS data to a format suitable for processing and analysis. An appropriate tool for their visualisation and analysis is then selected for further processing. There are many such tools available on the market. One of them is Kibana, an open-source visualisation dashboard and exploration platform that is useful for processing large data flows and real-time data.
Information is pure gold. Atlas WMS connects the prepared data to Kibana, which processes them into a human-friendly format (heat maps, timelines, histograms, etc.). The visual presentation of the information makes it easier for you to identify patterns and any unwanted deviations, as well as challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed as soon as possible. When processing data, we are aware of the security risks and we manage these risks in accordance with the ISO 27001 standard.
An excellent example of the visual presentation of information is the heat map visualisation tool for thermal visualisation of the picking process in a manual high-rack warehouse. Based on data from Atlas WMS (locations, material type, picking frequency), a heat map of picks and locations is created in Kibana. On the basis of this analysis, you can then move more frequently picked items closer together and place them nearer to the output locations, thus speeding up the picking process significantly.
Image 1 - Before
Image 2 - After
Resilience to Change Will Be Crucial
Data processed and displayed in a meaningful manner represents high added value for you. Analysing the picking process enables you to look for opportunities for optimisation based on the frequency of the picking of certain goods, to identify the most productive employees according to the number of transactions performed or the lowest number of stock corrections, to predict stock replenishment needs, etc. The possibilities of using data are endless. All you need is the right question and you will get the right answer.