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Intralogistics and the corona crisis

Warehouse automation can help companies remain responsive and flexible during the corona crisis.
Warehouse automation can help companies remain responsive and flexible during the corona crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the corona crisis as “the greatest challenge since the second World War”. Not surprisingly for the logistics industry, this crisis highlights how important a functioning supply chain is for our society and economy. Warehouse management systems (WMS) that allow companies to react quickly, flexibly and in a controlled manner are essential for reliable logistics.

Daniel Wöhr from CIM’s press and marketing department sees two areas in which warehouse management systems are key to the supply chain in the current corona crisis: "Interaction between the user and the system has become even more important, as has the design of the system itself." With many people currently working from home, it’s important to have secure access to the software to keep track of what’s happening in the warehouse. PROLAG®World, CIM’s warehouse management software, is fully browser-based. This means that data can be accessed any time, any place, even when working from home.

Another aspect is the increasing use of artificial intelligence in intralogistics software, meaning that operation remains smooth despite reduced numbers of staff. In PROLAG®World, for example, intelligent order analysis ensures a significant reduction in workload. The order analysis process examines and organises delivery orders according to defined criteria so that orders can be picked together and packed very quickly. Intelligent and automated WMS capabilities such as these make it possible for companies to remain responsive during situations in which staff is working at reduced capacity.

The design of the warehouse management software can also be central to success: PROLAG®World is characterised by a high degree of standardisation and has a modular structure. Individual functions can be added or removed at any time during operation. In the event of changes in market conditions, such as we’re currently experiencing, customers can react quickly and flexibly and add new functions to their system.

As an example, Daniel Wöhr mentions the function for changing the shipping type of shipments that have already been packed and labelled. This may be necessary if parcels cannot be transported by the planned delivery service since they have reached their full capacity. Other functions, such as priority mode, allow the priority and importance of individual deliveries to be defined in the system. Food can automatically be given higher priority and delivered faster, for instance.

Warehouse management systems can also be of assistance in organising the warehouse itself. By defining different storage areas and using the traffic light function, individual areas can be cordoned off in PROLAG®World and access to them restricted so that there are never too many people in one area. And route optimisation means that journeys in the warehouse can be organised so that the current hygiene recommendations are always observed.

It’s clear that logistics and supply chain functionalities will remain central to an intact society and economy in post-crisis times. This means that companies need to rely on experienced providers for warehouse management software offering solutions that can react flexibly to rapidly changing market conditions.