“No matter how many times you save the world; it manages to get in jeopardy again…” Mr. Incredible, The Incredibles.

This is roughly the story of supply chain and logistics that just scrambled through the paralyzing pandemic effects only to be back on its foot again, to lock horns with the unrelenting explosion of e-commerce followed by an onslaught of labor shortages, high costs, disruptions, bottlenecks, out-of-stock horror stories, cyberattacks, natural disasters, out-of-sight inventory, staggering last mile expenses, reverse logistics and more.

Standing at the brink of the transformative Gen AI era, 77% organizations that have been slapped awake with these adversities, have revealed their dedicated intentions towards the implementation of end-to-end warehouse automation for smooth, error-free, quick, effective and data driven process management.

The supply chain and logistics market which is expected to touch $72.1billion by 2032 growing at 10.9% CAGR is thus, gaining velocity through these committed players in this domain; mostly leaders that are pulling up their socks early 2024, not only to firewall potential disruptions but to maintain strict competitive lead as well.

‘And when everyone’s super, no one will be…’ Syndrome, The Incredibles.

So, while warehouse automation is the key survival blueprint in the current supply chain landscape 2024; and with everyone playing the same cards as their root strategy; it is necessary to know that real competitive advantage can only be won with unique feature differentiators that can proactively track and neutralize potential issues predicted for the year and beyond.
Not all WMS are built alike. Therefore, it is important to be painstakingly selective with your armory of WMS features that catalyze upscaling your warehousing endeavor to competitive invincibility, literally effortlessly.


10 Key WMS Feature Differentiators To Make Your Warehousing Incredibly Invincible

“Luck favors the prepared…” Edna Mode, The Incredibles

2024 urges supply chain and logistics players to be aware about the looming disruptions and be prepared to fight them with the right features in their warehouse management systems, 10 of which are listed as follows –

1. Predictive Analytics for Demand Forecasting - 

The power of predictive analytics helps you anticipate demand trends accurately. By analyzing historical data, market trends, and external factors, warehouses can optimize inventory levels, eliminate possibilities of stock-outs, and ensure timely fulfillment.


2. Integration of Autonomous Vehicles for Material Handling - 

Incorporation of autonomous vehicles such as drones, self-driving forklifts, AGVs, automated picking systems etc. makes the material handling processes smooth, streamlined, damage- resistant and error free. Enhancement of speed, accuracy and safety through the usage of autonomous vehicles goes a long way in reducing operational costs and increasing productivity and efficiency.  

Quality WMS comes with inbuilt autonomous vehicle integration features that allow these vehicles to be easily tracked, controlled and monitored at real time so that nothing is ever out of sight.


3. Integration with Order Picking Robotics - 

Did you know, about 4 million warehouse robots will be installed in over fifty thousand warehouses by 2025. 

Deployment of advanced robotics for order picking tasks, like Collaborative Robots (cobots) that can work alongside human staff, can help in increasing order fulfillment speed and accuracy. This results in more efficient and cost-effective warehouse operations. Quality WMS with easy integration features with warehouse robotics can help in one-click monitoring, tracking, data storage and data retrieval to add speed and efficiency to the process.


4. Real-time Location Services (RTLS) - 

WMS for 2024 is incomplete without RTLS technologies, including RFID and GPS, to track the real-time location of inventory, equipment, and personnel within the warehouse. Visibility being cited as one of the key concerns of this year, this feature can be a one-click solution to enhancing visibility, reducing search times and allowing proactive decision-making.


5. Blockchain for Supply Chain Transparency - 

Blockchain is that one missing link that has transformed age-old inventory replenishment method from reactive to proactive. Blockchain technology enhances transparency and traceability not just in warehousing but the entirety of the supply chain superstructure. Even though it is at an embryonic stage, the application has seen outstanding outcomes in terms of enhancing security, accountability and accessibility within warehouse perimeters. 


6. Internet-of-Things (IoT) - 

From tracking condition of inventory and equipment efficiency to adjusting storage locations dynamically based on access frequency, automated
inventory replenishment and integrating smart lighting, heating, and cooling systems for greener warehousing; there’s no end to the scope of IoT in warehouse optimization. Industry leaders that have prioritized IoT have witnessed significant reduction of wastage, positive environmental impact and most importantly, reduction in operational costs for amplified profit maximization.


7. Voice-Directed Task Management - 

Voice-activated systems enable hands-free operations, allowing greater levels of efficiency to workers. Mostly applicable in task assignments and picking, voice recognition systems makes it possible for workers to communicate their actions verbally, which is then processed and recorded into the system, in real time. Voice directed task management has proven its effectiveness in fast-paced and high-volume warehouses where accuracy and efficiency are non- negotiable.


8. Tailored And Flexible Interface - 

Every business is unique in its own way and has its very own growth trajectory. Therefore, it is only expected that the warehouse management systems are flexible enough to scale in tune with individual business objectives. Customizable WMS allows businesses to include and pay only for required features
while leaving ample room to integrate with more features as and when required in the future.
Customizable and scalable WMS prevents the hassle of frequent migrations to different software systems as businesses grow / transform through the years; thereby minimizing downtimes and keeping efficiency intact through the process.


9. Cloud Based WMS - 

As on premise solutions are marching their way to irrelevance, cloud-based WMS is gaining prominence for all the right reasons. Some of the key benefits of could-based WMS over on premise solutions include emancipation from complex hardware infrastructure and maintenance, easy access of data anytime and
anywhere over the internet, remote warehouse operations, significant cost reduction and auto-updates to latest versions of the software for unhindered performance.


10. Mobile Integration - 

You know you are successful in your business if you can carry your warehouse in your pocket; and therein lies the relevance of mobile WMS. Mobile
accessibility of WMS takes flexibility and real time connectivity to yet another level as collaboration, communication and critical information storage and sharing can happen on the go.


Final Thoughts

Did you know, as per market predictions, global warehouse automation market will surpass $30billion by 2026. 

And, the layout will be promising with innovative out-of-the-box features that can not only help warehouses keep up with the industry's rapid evolution but also position organizations as true profit makers and competitive differentiators. Being the first among the leaders to embrace these technologies as they make their way into the warehouse management center stage, there’s very little that can stop your operations from thriving in this over-competitive arena,
whether you are a large, midsized or small venture.