Manufacturing and warehouse systems join

Traditionally manufacturing and warehouses are separate with distinct management systems used to administer them. This is changing, with more firms combining their manufacturing and warehousing operations in one building.

Part of the reason for this is the growth of e-commerce. Customers who order online want items delivered quickly. By combining manufacturing and distribution warehouses next to each other, the time between manufacturing and delivery of finished products can be reduced.

Software that links warehouse management systems to manufacturing execution systems can make the combined operations more efficient. Inventory can be manufactured in quantities that vary according to order volumes. Inventory can be reduced, and this has cost benefits. In some industries, it is possible to have in-demand manufacturing where items are only manufactured when ordered.

Software developers are working on systems that combine warehouse and manufacturing processes. President of software developer viastore, Tom Coyne, summarised his company’s approach:

“We are working to optimize both the data flows and the material flows between the logistics side of an enterprise and its production side.”

Software can manage fleets of mobile robots in highly automated warehouses and manufacturing operations but can be used in situations that rely on human workers. Small to medium business that makes items in small quantities and uses manual picking trolleys and workers at packing tables in the warehouse, could benefit from bringing the production facility and the distribution warehouse closer together. This more holistic approach could be a future model for many industries.

Posted by Derek
15th August 2018

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