“Using big data correctly helps companies allow for more flexible planning and predictive analysis in the warehouse,” explains Mark Dickinson, executive sales manager, automated systems division at SSI Schaefer, a global storage and picking solutions manufacturer with U.S. headquarters in Charlotte, NC.
Quote from Amy Roach Partridge’s recent post entitled Material Handling Meets Big Data. Below are highlights from this post.
Warehouses and distribution centers are often as high-tech as the products they store and send out to consumers. With the increase of automated materials handling systems and equipment—as well as technology solutions that manage labor, inventory, and equipment in the distribution center—warehouses now generate a wealth of information. The abundance of data these new “smart” warehouses generate is helping companies improve facility, labor, and equipment productivity; increase safety; boost throughput and inventory accuracy; and prolong the life of key equipment such as forklifts, conveyors, sorters, totes, and racks.
The type of data companies are seeking has also changed. A few years ago, most companies were focused on analyzing basic data such as the number of orders handled in a certain timeframe, and comparing the data across a network of distribution sites. This would simply help companies gauge how well each DC was faring, and whether locations were hitting their targets.
Now, companies want data that can provide real business intelligence—actionable information they can use to improve warehouse efficiency and productivity.
For industries that typically operate in a “pull” environment, collecting big data on warehouse and materials handling operations is crucial to helping make smart decisions on the fly.
Companies have moved past the stage of just wanting data for data’s sake—they now demand that their partners help them use that data to make smart decisions.
Whether it is used for labor planning, system performance benchmarking, optimizing equipment usage and maintenance, maximizing productivity, boosting safety, or creating the best inventory flow in the warehouse, big data in materials handling is helping supply chain professionals make smarter operational decisions.