Modernizing warehouse management and workflow optimization

Case study

Modernizing warehouse management and workflow optimization

Speed, simplicity, and waste reduction are top priorities in the logistics industry, but warehouses across the globe are facing difficulties in meeting them. Warehouse managers undergo major challenges due to supply chain transformation and increasing customer expectations. Emerging trends in omni-channel retailing and inventory management has led to the rise of fulfillment warehouses, also called as fulfillment centers. These centers process B2B/B2C orders of ecommerce businesses. In this type of warehouse, storing inventory is expensive for the ecommerce businesses. This has created more pressure on warehouses to minimize cost, optimize warehouse resources, and reduce the order fulfillment time.

Warehouse managers adopt new strategies to maximize productivity, improve order fulfillment rate, and cut costs. They also have the additional responsibility to continuously manage warehouse storage locations efficiently, so that they can handle a higher volume of inventory. To get started in tactical time and cost savings, while strategically focusing on growth, process automation and workflow automation help in achieving the goal.

Our client has been solving logistic problems for more than a century and they deliver full-service transportation management, warehousing, and distribution services. They are also expanding rapidly in customer fulfillment services. Today, manufacturers and retailers have started selling directly to consumers via digital platforms. In this space, our client provides the physical warehouse infrastructure and operational know-how to process and fulfill the orders for manufacturers and sellers.

Requirements

As our client expanded their consumer fulfillment services, the existing B2B warehouse management system (WMS) became ill-equipped to handle the B2C logistics efficiently. Their existing desktop-based WMS application lacked the flexibility and features to handle complex warehouse operations. The operation managers at the warehouse used excel sheets to track and allocate inventory for the orders. There was no proper mechanism to track and record the activities performed at the warehouse.

To support their fulfillment process at the warehouse, our client required a scalable, web-based solution with the following features:

  • Dashboard to manage inventory details for inbound and outbound orders
  • Storage space calculator for optimal utilization of warehouse space
  • User interface to perform, assign and monitor warehouse activities
  • Reports on storage locations, outbound orders, inventory status, and warehouse activities

Solution

Imaginea designed a configurable and scalable web application, which can help in expanding client’s operations. The key functionalities of the solution are given below:

  • Warehouse storage and location management: Define the warehouse storage location and Stock Keeping Units (SKU) master list. For optimal utilization of storage space, the solution can automatically suggest storage location in the warehouse for inbound and high-volume items.
  • Inventory management: Dashboard to monitor the inventory and predicting the average consumption of items. For efficient inventory tracking and monitoring, the scanned pallet and location ID are captured and recorded in the system.
  • Warehouse activity : Rule engine facilitates auto creation of warehouse activities like inbound receiving, kitting, shipping, and assigns the most relevant tasks to the warehouse employees.
  • Outbound order processing: To fetch the outbound orders to be shipped to the end customer, the system is integrated with the BigCommerce application. To maximize orders that can be shipped per day, the picking process is optimized by auto-generation of picklists and batch picking activity.
  • Logistic labelling: Shipping labels for orders are generated by integrating the application with United Parcel Services (UPS). Pallet labels and barcodes for SKU stored inside the warehouse are generated by the system.
  • Activity dashboard: A centralized location for the operation manager of the warehouse to track, update, and monitor the activities being performed in the warehouse.

Tech stack

How Our Solution Helped

Fulfilment application modernization improved the overall workflow efficiency, reduced the time spent on tracking warehouse activities manually.

Overall approach

We adopted a microservices based architecture that uses APIs to effectively integrate, customize, and manage fulfillment operations. The backend is managed by Java on the spring boot framework to optimize fulfillment security, scalability, and performance. The entire workflow automation is shown below:

Results

  • Reduced overhead expenses due to picking error and time spent in locating or placing items
  • Increased productivity and efficiency of human resources
  • Improved the rate at which orders are fulfilled

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