Distribution Centers are Getting Smarter. That’s Good News for Shoppers

MarketScale recently wrapped up its time at NRF 2019 in New York City and among the myriad vendors and hot-trends on hand, one unlikely, yet imperative part of the retail experience stole the spotlight. Supply chain and warehouse management remained a constant area of interest for attendees and by sheer volume of vendors present. By utilizing the cloud, artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain and more, warehouse distribution and supply chain management is moving closer towards a digitized future than ever before.

Artificial Intelligence and blockchain have been important trends in the retail industry, among others, in the last few years. One company has been using various automated digital solutions to revolutionize supply chain management for retail companies.

Highjump, a global provider of supply chain solutions, was one of several companies on-site promoting its machine learning driven solutions. One of the companies most recent projects, Highjump Now, builds on its current cloud system. This new initiative is aimed at reimagining what a modern supply chain system looks like.

According to the company, Highjump Now is a comprehensive cloud-based solution portfolio for supply chain management.

“Along with advanced data analytics and warehouse control, Highjump Now will provide a foundation for new, complex technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, IoT and machine learning in a secure cloud environment. This allows efficient management and integration of automation tools to enhance processes. Businesses benefit from lower total cost of ownership (TCO), 24/7 availability, maintenance and support, and the ability to seamlessly adjust to market demands and scale for success.”

Warehouse management also played an important role in this year’s show. Several companies have been taking advantage of AI and machine learning to make their warehouses quicker and efficient. Highjump introduced its tool for warehouse modeling and simulation, CLASS. The software uses data science and AI to identify cost efficiencies in the warehouse and as a testing platform for future operational advancements.

The system is an important tool for building processes. CLASS uses a warehouse simulator that builds an exact digital replica of a customer’s warehouse and is used to make modifications to an existing site by giving users the ability to digitally move racks and adjust space from a 3D perspective. Then, an analysis is completed to determine whether the changes improved efficiency. This allows for the optimal use of space in a warehouse without going through the costly and timely guessing game of physically changing space. CLASS can even be used for testing building designs.

Warehouse Management Systems and supply chain management are getting more digital by the day. With an expected CAGR of 14 percent over the next three years for the WMS market, these high-tech solutions will become more of a standard throughout the industry. For all these exciting innovations to be happening from one company, it only shows a small sliver of what Retail’s Big Show brought to attendees this year.

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