May 2016 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Advantages of Waveless Order Fulfillment

Tags: Warehousing, Logistics, Technology , Fulfillment, Supply Chain

Jay Moris is President, Invata Intralogistics, 860-819-3200

Q: What is waveless order fulfillment?

A: It is a software-driven order fulfillment processing methodology that continuously pulls orders into a fulfillment operation based on the availability of the resources, people, and inventory needed to fulfill orders.

Q: How does waveless order fulfillment differ from wave processing?

A: In traditional wave processing, a warehouse management system (WMS) "pushes" waves of orders into a fulfillment operation based on predetermined criteria that are independent of the actual conditions in the facility. This causes the warehouse to scramble to accommodate the volume of orders at the front end of the wave, while it underutilizes resources at the tail end of the wave. Productivity in wave processing subsequently emulates a sine wave, with peaks during the initial release, and valleys as productivity slows while awaiting the completion of a few unfulfilled orders, before the transition to the next wave can be made.

In waveless operations, a warehouse execution system (WES) continuously "pulls" orders from the available pool of orders based on dynamically changing warehouse conditions as well as algorithmically evaluated opportunities. This enables the warehouse to avoid the valleys in productivity associated with wave processing, while consistently maximizing productivity by assigning orders on a real-time basis as resources and fulfillment opportunities become available.

Q: What are the benefits of waveless fulfillment?

A: Waveless fulfillment increases throughput, while diminishing labor and equipment requirements. Operations running waveless use fewer people, require less material handling equipment, and turn orders over faster and more predictably.

Q: Can my WMS or WCS provide the benefits of waveless fulfillment?

A: Only a select few WES or WMS/WCS hybrid systems are capable of waveless processing. A traditional WMS cannot operate wavelessly because it lacks automated equipment controls expertise, real-time dynamic processing capabilities, and visibility into real-time conditions. WMS platforms also tend to be one-size-fits-all applications that carry unnecessary functionality that slows processing. As a result, a WMS lacks the focused, process-driven functions, targeted logic, and sophisticated database design necessary for waveless execution.
Traditional WCS applications can tie together multiple machine level control systems, but they typically do not have the control of inventory and labor resources needed to manage waveless operations.

Q: What is needed to implement waveless fulfillment?

A: True waveless processing requires a holistic approach to systems automation that combines purpose-driven design (derived from the data sciences of analytics, modeling, simulation, and optimization) with sophisticated warehouse execution software into one comprehensive solution capable of orchestrating all the simultaneous and parallel processing associated with waveless fulfillment. As a result, only a company with experience in, and an understanding of, waveless fulfillment can give you what you need.






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