- July 20, 2022
- Posted by: webpagelocanis
- Category: Site Optimizer 360°
Steve Banker Contributor, www.forbes.com
I cover logistics and supply chain management
Locanis is a warehouse software company headquartered in Germany with clients located in Europe, North America, and Asia. The Locanis solution – Site Optimizer 360 – optimizes warehouse operations in a manner different from traditional warehouse management systems (WMSs). Locanis offers a solution that doesn’t fit neatly into a predefined logistics software category.
Traditional Warehouse Management Systems
In a traditional WMS, autoID solutions – often a handheld or wrist mounted barcode reader – are used to orchestrate tasks. A warehouse worker, for example, is told to go to slot 1234 and pick four items. The slot has a barcode associated with it. The worker gets there, uses the terminal to scan the location barcode, and that proves that the worker is in the right location. The worker may also be told to scan each item – each of which has an item barcode attached – as they are picked. This verifies that the correct item, and the right number, has been picked. One of the ways WMS drives savings is by eliminating errors.
A WMS can also drive savings by optimizing tasks – grouping tasks that are in close proximity to each other to be done by a designated worker. Doing this minimizes travel times and makes the warehouse more efficient.
But at a busy warehouse, the WMS is blind in the gaps between scans – the time it takes a worker to get from one location to another. It may be in a busy warehouse; a new priority task comes up but the temporary blindness in the WMS prevents it from assigning that task to the most optimal worker.
RTLS and WMS
Site Optimizer 360 is a software solution that incorporates a real-time location system (RTLS). Locanis claims to be the only WMS built on RTLS; they are certainly the only one that Clint Reiser, an industry analyst at ARAR +8%C Advisory Group who covers warehouse technologies, knows of. The RTLS provides ongoing real-time visibility to the movement of a forklift or AGV as it moves through the warehouse. It also knows, based on the movement of the movement of the forks on the forklift paired with precise location data, when a particular pallet has been picked up. This eliminates the time it takes to scan the license plate on the pallet.
thus, the system maintains ongoing and real-time visibility into resources, capabilities, status, location, and order requirements. It then leverages this information to orchestrate and optimize warehouse activities to meet the priorities and objectives of the facility on an ongoing basis.
Warehouse Optimization Based on Omnipresent Visibility
The system receives tasks (warehouse transportation orders) and assigns the tasks based on the operation’s criteria of importance and the real-time status of the resources. For example, the system drops an order to move a load with weight of x pounds, in location y, on a Euro-pallet in a tight area. The system will match a warehouse transporter (manual forklift, AGV, etc.) with the assignment based on the transporter’s location, availability, and suitability of load capacity, load handing device, and even operator’s skill level or other interdependencies of the task. A forklift operator or AGV will then update the status to unavailable and its location will be tracked as it navigates the warehouse and even outside to the yard, if the system is set up to do so.
Intelligent, ongoing, real-time visibility into tasks, resource status, and prioritization can deliver substantial productivity improvements to complex warehouse environments. These improvements increase when the operation utilizes a heterogeneous set of lifts, mobile robots, and AGVs from multiple vendors. In short, there can be solid ROI associated with this solution.
But under certain circumstances, the ROI can be much higher. Real-time location data on mobile assets in a warehouse is even more valuable when the tasks are critical and the cutoff times associated with a critical task can move based on the inherent variability associated with warehouse operations. In some instances, losing five minutes of productivity in the warehouse can result much larger downstream costs. In a warehouse attached to a factory that runs based on lean principles, for example, lost warehouse productivity can result in costly down-time on a production line. Or in an outbound warehouse, missing carrier cut-offs can result in late delivery fines from big retail customers.
Clint Reiser is the primary author of this article. Mr. Reiser is the Director of Supply Chain Research at ARC Advisory Group.