Through the lens of experts, “Tech-powered warehouse in the digital age” aimed to frame a futuristic concept of warehouse management that is anchored to the present-day basis.
“How the future may unfold, no one can say. Yet by casting a bright light on the road ahead, the seminar got to drive home a powerful message: the convergence of technologies engendered both transformative opportunities and disruptive challenges for warehouse management”, said Mr. Le Tran Bao Duy, General Director of KMS Solutions.
This way, we hope to propel businesses to rethink their warehouse systems. From a bottleneck that drags them down to a strategic asset that gives them a leg-up on the competition.
Guest speakers and partner representatives
We are delighted that the seminar welcomed more than 50 practitioners and professionals, most of whom come from leading businesses in Vietnam. This feat reflected great credits on our keynote speakers and their subtleties in picking topics that resonate deeply with the audiences.
Mr. Tri Bui set the tone for the whole seminar with his eye-opening talk “a Vision for the future of warehouse”. He started off by discussing the architecture of the future warehouse. Then he went an extra mile to sketch out a roadmap for obtaining this ideal.
Tri Bui delivering "A vision for the future of warehouse"
Ms. Wanna, demonstrating a total empathy for logistics professionals and the pain points they are enduring, brought the audiences to their feet. Given the complex reality of today's warehouse management, she spelled out how a robust, flexible WMS could be the trump card for winning customer wallet shares.
Wanna sharing her views on the standard warehouse model
The seminar then turned its spotlight on Mr. Cuong Nguyen, who leveraged his years of hands-on experience to anatomize the best-practices that leading businesses employ to modernize their warehousing frameworks.
Cuong Nguyen and his talk "Learning from the Giants"
The seminar reached its crescendo with the panel discussion moderated by Mr. Le Tran Bao Duy. He played his part as a non-partisan, “interrogating” the panelists to elicit more of their perspectives on the past, the current, and the future of warehousing technologies.
The panelists exchanging their perspectives
Throughout the seminar, our brilliant speakers spoke on a wide range of topics. Let's take a fresh look at some of the most insightful ones.
Understanding warehouse management
It seems to us all elementary that a warehouse is where goods are received, stored, and distributed. This interpretation concerns the “what” of warehousing.
However, Wanna pointed out that “this is a shallow way to think of it because it implies the warehouse is less of an asset than a cost center”.
Wanna suggested that in order to make greater strides in managing our warehouses, the starting point is to enrich our understanding of it. She put forward her definition - or as she called it - the one that concerns the “what-for” of warehouse:
“A warehouse is a tool to minimize or, if possible, remove the variance between supply and demand across nodes, time, and various stakeholders or parties in the supply chain.”
What the future holds for warehousing?
Digital transformation. The one buzzword that is tossed around in practically any conversations about technologies. Again and again. To an ad nauseam extent. Yet it has not ceased a buzzword because it still got its place.
For Tri’s part, he believed that digital transformation is the key driving force that shapes the future of supply chains as a whole. “Looking ahead, glimpsing into the future, what I see is an ecosystem of supply chains that is completely automated and could operate on its own”, Tri said. “What I meant is supply chain 4.0: a term coined by McKinsey”.
Supply chain 4.0, to simply put, is one that is augmented with the latest technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Twins, advanced analytics, and such. These innovations help to transcend the border between the physical and the digital worlds. The result is much clearer, if not excellent, visibility into every node of the supply chain network.
According to McKinsey, Supply Chain 4.0 will help businesses reduce 65 - 75% of lost sales, 15 - 30% warehousing/transportation cost, 50 - 80% administrative cost, and 50 - 80% inventory investment.
“If you could manage to achieve this ideal, the returns would be immediate. Full automation, maximum efficiency, nearly-zero waste, to name a few”, Tri continued.
The 5 levels of warehouse maturity
On the way to reaching excellence in warehouse management, businesses have to go through 5 levels of warehouse maturity. Each corresponds to the business’ level of digital maturity - i.e. how digitally savvy the business is.
Level 1: Storeroom. A storeroom is the square-one, the most primitive form of warehousing. It involves highly manual processes and little use of modern technologies. There is nothing much to write home about a storeroom.
Level 2: Rudimentary Level: While most businesses reaching this level have engaged ERP-based warehouse management, still is there a remnant of paper-based documents. And due to this limited knowledge and skill of WMS, they tend to fixate on day-to-day operations rather than long-term strategies.
Level 3: Advanced Locator: By this level, people have applied a wide range of WMS functions to manage their daily operations. Therefore, they could prioritize task execution performance to generate more values.
Level 4: Added Intelligence: A great leap forward. This is where advanced use of WMS capabilities transform warehouse management. Businesses shift their focus to optimizing productivity, throughput, and asset utilization, while operations tend to be more complex, yet more efficient, with value-added services like kitting, repacking and cross-docking.
Level 5: Automated: This level is the epitome of warehousing excellence. By now, the warehouse is highly automated because WMS is mostly used to integrate with automated equipment. Also, warehouse and automation designs are done in line with building design to support automation processes.
Be that as it may, 90% of warehouses globally are level 3 or below.