The Gartner concept of digital twin is often misunderstood. Digital twins are virtual replicas of a physical product, process, or system…there are many companies out there that create simulations of warehouses to test, for example, a new layout. But digital twins can be the basis of an optimization of the way minute-to-minute decisions are made. A good example is AutoScheduler. AutoScheduler is a digital twin of the warehouse…and makes optimized decisions about such things as which inbound truck to unload first and at which dock. Bob Ferrari, who doesn’t use the concept of a digital twin, uses a different term “WMS accelerator”. See his note below...
The Supply Chain Matters blog highlights the market entry of AutoScheduler.AI, a provider of WMS Accelerator technology representing a new approach for leveraging existing Warehouse Management System (WMS) technology.
In a previous market education blog, Supply Chain Matters highlighted the advent of WMS Accelerator technology, and noted that Extended WMS is morphing to a Cloud-native approach that can leverage more intelligent-based warehouse orchestration, but with a far quicker time-to-value. This approach leverages object-based data integration and management, incorporates artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology, but at the same time, can augment the capabilities and presence of existing WMS applications. A WMS Accelerator addresses needs to more proactively identify inventory and fulfillment process bottlenecks or impending surprises before they occur. The approach can provide a more flexible means to modify and enhance WMS functionality. Additionally, such technology can mitigate the risk of a customer fulfillment business process disruption by incorporating a digital-based technology boost to an already installed legacy WMS.
New Market Entrant
Last week, Austin Texas based AutoScheduler announced a pivot to be a stand-alone rebranded product designed to leverage an enhanced set of algorithms, artificial intelligence and Cloud deployment technology as an extension to existing WMS and ERP technology.
This provider’s marketing tagline is aptly noted as: Intelligent Warehouse Orchestration for Faster, Smarter WMS.
The term rebranded actually manifests itself from the fact that, for over a decade, this technology has been deployed across consumer product goods provider Procter & Gamble to orchestrate process extensions of warehouse activities to service multiple customer fulfillment channels while minimizing the overall number of transfer shipments. The technology has created multiple millions in cost savings and eliminates touches by performing activities like orchestrating shipments directly from plant production lines, and proactively cross-docking shipments to avoid unneeded put-away. The technology further provides the data to proactively determine what orders will be affected if an inbound shipment does not arrive on-time, or a production line goes down. Additionally, in a multi-building campus, AutoScheduler deploys inventory strategically to eliminate wasteful transfer shipments.
The genesis of this technology provider stems from long-time WMS and logistics technology executive Thomas A. Moore who founded Transportation-Warehouse Optimization (T/WO). For over 25 years, that company has helped numerous Fortune 500companies develop customized logistics technology. That included names such as BP, Duracell, Unilever, Nestle, as well as P&G.
Moore himself had a previous 10- year career in industry running fleets and supply-chain operations. A brief consulting stint with P & G turned into a longer-term technology partnership helping to solve complex logistics challenges. As we pointed out in our prior commentary, with WMS considered mostly mature or legacy technology, Moore indicated to this Editor that he was often called in to help solve numerous process challenges while also being asked to leverage the existing WMS or ERPsystems. The notion was to avoid rather expensive or elongated development cycles as well as the risk of an operations disruption.
As Moore describes, the creation of this new venture was to provide the existing market a more proactive vs. reactive technology in their warehouse; one which could leverage the latest in embedded advanced technology and also Cloud-based deployment.
Today, his son, information technology expert Keith Moore serves as the Chief Product Officer for AutoScheduler. Keith has four different patents to his name in areas such as automated model building, neural network modeling, genetic algorithms and simulation model building, and before signing-on to AutoScheduler had contributed to a number of advanced technology and AI enabled development efforts for other organizations.
Today, with the ongoing disruptive supply chain effects or opportunities presented by COVID-19, and the prospects of likely continued uncertainties in the post-virus normal, WMS Accelerator technology will indeed become more attractive as a means to assure more timely time-to-benefit while mitigating a risk to broader systems disruption.
Readers desiring additional information can visit the AutoScheduler web site. Bob Ferrari