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6 Ways to Optimize Your WMS Investment

Many shippers are only scratching the surface of their warehouse management system capabilities. Here are six ways to buck the trend and start eking out more value from this critical software investment.

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The warehouse floor has changed a lot in the last 10 years, with the last 12 months to 14 months introducing some significant changes to this vital link in the global supply chain. Today’s warehouse operators are moving a much higher volume of smaller orders faster than ever, continuously seeking ways to automate their processes, and searching for tools that will help them best utilize both labor and physical space.

These operations are also relying on more technology, with the warehouse management system (WMS) remaining a pinnacle investment for any fast-paced fulfillment center. Of course, as with any technology investments, WMS is only as good as you make it. In other words, you can either tap into the “low-hanging fruit” functionalities—shipment, inventory, order, and fulfillment management—or you can take your WMS investment to the next level by optimizing some of its lesser-known capabilities.

“Logistics managers are asking themselves why they’re not using the most advanced WMS capabilities available, figuring out what else is available to them, and then adding new functionalities that can drive additional business value,” Dwight Klappich, research vice president at Gartner, points out.

Some of those often-overlooked features include labor management, slotting, yard management, and wave planning. “We’ve seen increased interest in slotting and labor management options from vendors like Optricity, Blue Yonder, and Manhattan, plus best-of-breed vendors like Easy Metrics,” Klappich continues, “all of which offer functions that can be ‘layered in’ at a fairly reasonable cost in exchange for an appreciable business value.”

Getting more

As warehouses and distribution centers (DCs) continue to evolve, the continued uptick in e-commerce sales has sped up processes within their four walls.

Already busy pre-COVID, these operations had to ramp up significantly in 2020 when the global pandemic emerged. Now, as they move into recovery, these operations are looking for new ways to work smarter, better and faster in this “new normal” business environment.

“Shippers have to be able to respond to growing demand for e-commerce fulfillment—something that’s been around for a while, and that’s growing consistently,” says Howard Turner, director of supply chain systems at St. Onge Company. “E-commerce fulfillment became even more pertinent over the last year or so, with shippers dealing with unexpected demand levels while also ensuring good customer service levels.”

Achieving that balance requires systems that can support processes like goods-to-person picking, plus the software solutions that support those activities. “WMS plays a key role there,” says Turner, who sees definite opportunity for companies to dive deeper into their WMS systems and dig out additional benefits that may be lurking below the “surface.”

Bill Brooks, vice president, NA transportation portfolio at Capgemini, concurs, and says it’s not unusual for a company to use only the most obvious WMS capabilities without realizing how much more their software could be doing for them. In some cases, these companies are simply unaware of those additional capabilities. In other situations, the WMS itself may have never been fully implemented.

Brooks says some companies aren’t being creative enough with their WMS, and that they don’t challenge their solutions to be more predictive, thoroughly review historical data, and then use those insights to create more effective fulfillment models. The list of possibilities doesn’t end there either. Here are six more ways companies can optimize their WMS and get more out of these investments.

1.) Create a center of enablement (COE). 

This is a good starting point for any company that doesn’t feel like it’s getting enough out of its WMS, or any other piece of supply chain management (SCM) software. According to Brooks, COEs take on different shapes, but in the case of WMS, it requires a hard look at whether an operation is truly getting the best benefit out of that software investment.

“It’s about making sure everything is in place, up and running, and fully implemented,” says Brooks. User feedback is also important and can be leveraged to improve or enhance the system. “By factoring in both the technical/usage side and the actual user interface,” Brooks says, “you can find ways to eke a little more out of your WMS, and make it even more user-friendly for employees.”

2.) Explore advanced options.

If your WMS has been in place for 10 years and never really tweaked, adjusted or upgraded during that time, then you’re probably missing out on some advanced capabilities. “Vendors have been improving their platforms and adding more bells and whistles,” says Brooks. Some of the newer technologies being deployed include 5G (for faster connectivity), the Cloud (for anytime/anywhere accessibility), edge computing (to improve response times and save bandwidth), and artificial intelligence (AI).

3.) Leverage constraints-based planning. 

According to Gartner, more than 80% of supply chain professionals feel that they could be making better decisions in response to disruptive events. Klappich says WMS is well positioned to help logistics managers utilize some of the same costraints-based planning strategies that manufacturers have been using for decades. Defined as “limits that are strategically applied on decision-making inputs,” constraints-based planning factors in the rules, constraints, and disruptions that an operation is working through and then, using AI or another advanced technology, helps fulfillment centers plan more effectively.

“Warehousing has been decades behind manufacturing and adopting constraints-based planning techniques,” says Klappich, who points to Manhattan’s Order Streaming technology as one example of how vendors are infusing more constraints-based planning features into their SCM platforms.

Using the technology, logistics managers can readily identify constraints (e.g., lack of labor, equipment that’s offline, unpredictable demand, etc.) and then use WMS to come up with an effective plan of attack. “Warehouses no longer have 10 days to 14 days to fulfill an order, which means they don’t have time on their sides to be able to manage higher demand and increased constraints,” says Klappich. “This is becoming a bigger opportunity for companies to squeeze out some more business benefits from their WMS.”

4.) Blur the lines with warehouse execution. 

Knowing that e-commerce orders have a different profile than most any other order type, Turner says WMS vendors have adjusted their systems to be able to handle more and smaller parcel shipments. “These aren’t multi-pallet orders being shipped via less-than-truckload (LTL), says Turner, “and are often just one- or two-line orders.”

To support the picking of a higher volume of smaller orders, and to provide better connections to automated equipment, WMS vendors are folding warehouse execution system (WES) functionalities into their solutions. “Some are making WES part of their core products,” says Turner, “and offering capabilities that provide direct control of automated equipment.”

5.) Automate parcel manifesting.

With e-commerce growing by 44% in 2020, and with no end in immediate sight to the online ordering frenzy, companies are turning to technology to help them better manage processes like parcel manifesting and wave processing. Turner says WMS can help with both.

“We’ve seen shippers take advantage of WMS that provide robust, parcel-manifesting engines,” says Turner. Those engines not only help companies identify the best possible transportation costs, but they also provide guidance on shipment packaging.

“Companies can use their WMS for cartonization-type functionality, with the software factoring in the size and dimensions of these items being picked,” says Turner, “and then finding the ideal parcel size.”

6.) Improved wave processing. 

With more automation making its way onto the warehouse floor, and labor not easy to come by (or retain) right now, companies are increasingly turning to technology to help them keep up with the demands of e-commerce fulfillment. Turner says WMS can play a key role in this effort, with wave processing being yet another capability that the software can manage effectively, when given a chance to do so.

“WMS can identify and group e-commerce orders in a wave, and then release them to the floor for special picking, handling and processing,” says Turner. “This leverages batch-picking functionality, which many companies don’t use even though the model has been around for a while and is both proven and effective.”

Squeezing the sponge

Just because WMS has been around for roughly four decades, doesn’t mean these systems can be put in place and left to fend for themselves as the business world around them changes and morphs at the speed of light. To be most effective in today’s fast-paced fulfillment environment, these specialized business applications should be regulatory reviewed, updated, and optimized in a way that aligns with the business’ current needs.

“For most of the WMS’ 40 years in existence, it did the same thing—manage receiving, put away, storage, counting, picking, packing and shipping,” says Klappich. “The question now is: What’s next and how can your company get to the next level?”

For many companies, Klappich says the answer has been to keep “squeezing the sponge” in an attempt to get more value out of an aging system that’s been in place for years. Going forward, he expects more companies to layer new capabilities into those systems (versus just trying to do more with existing capabilities).

“Leading-edge companies are starting to look at what are the more advanced capabilities that they layer onto their WMS,” Klappich adds, “in order to get additional business value out of their investments.”

Source: https://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/6_ways_to_optimize_your_wms_investment

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Chinese Banks Received $1t in Forex Deposits in May

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According to the People’s Bank of China’s announcement, foreign exchange deposits in China have crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time. Economists believe that this will give the Chinese government a lot more freedom to allow the outflow of capital from the country.

A major reason for this increase in foreign exchange flowing into China is a rise in demand for certain Chinese products during the pandemic-related restrictions. Chinese exporters have performed exceedingly well in the past few months and have gathered a large foreign currency store.

Chinese Banks Received $1t in Forex Deposits in May

The rising trend in the Chinese market is also attracting more investors. Many foreign investors exchange dollar currency for the Chinese Yuan to purchase shares in the Chinese stock market. But now China is facing a different problem. It does not have many avenues to invest its foreign currency. Experts believe that the Chinese government needs to urgently introduce some policy reforms in the country so that Chinese investors can spend more of their foreign currency in overseas markets.

At present Chinese banks and lenders are using most of their foreign exchange deposits to fund loans in the country as well as overseas. The heavy inflow of dollars into China, but a relatively lower outflow rate, is now pushing down dollar value in China very fast. So banks are now buying Yuan instead of the dollar currency. This is strengthening the Chinese Yuan. But investors fear that if the Yuan becomes too strong, hot money will flow into the country, and the Chinese import business will face a devastating situation.

Chinese Banks Received $1t in Forex Deposits in May

To curb the issue, China is already trying to control the liquidity of the dollar. The ceiling for investing overseas has been increased to record levels. It has also put in place investment schemes for capital outflow that will allow Chinese investors to invest more than ever before in overseas markets.

George Magnus of Oxford University’s China Center, speaking about the Chinese situation, has said that foreign exchange inflow surges can benefit an economy. Still, these surges are usually temporary and can reverse at any time leading to dire consequences for the economy. It now remains to see how well China can utilize its Forex inflow to prepare itself against potential future reversals.

Source: https://www.cryptonewsz.com/chinese-banks-received-1t-in-forex-deposits-in-may/

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In Times of Volatility: You Should Choose a Stable Exchange

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On June 21st, the negative news from China pulled a turbulent decline in Bitcoin once again. The price of Bitcoin once collapsed to $28,000,  beating May’s price bottom.

Since the start of Q2, Bitcoin’s price fluctuations have been continuing. The correction of the bull market, contradictory statements of KOLs, and the tighter regulations from different countries have made the cryptocurrency market more sensitive and volatile.

In Times of Volatility: You Should Choose a Stable Exchange

The roller-coaster price swings reveal that the cryptocurrency market is far more fragile and unstable than traders expected. Yet, compared with market volatility, the more catastrophic thing is that traders cannot respond in time to the rapid changes in real-time price.

On May 19th, along with the slump in the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Coinbase, the so-called largest digital cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, crashed as well. Coinbase later said in a statement that they had found some problems in Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, and they would provide an update as soon as possible.

In Times of Volatility: You Should Choose a Stable Exchange

Facing the collapse of Coinbase’s website and App, some users expressed complaints on social networks because when the price of digital cryptocurrencies was plummeting, they wanted to take the opportunity to buy the dip but did not succeed, thus suffering huge losses. Affected by this, Coinbase’s stock price fell 10% that day.

Confronted with system outages, server overloads, and unexpected crashes that occur from time to time, users often can do nothing but be exposed to forced liquidation or miss the best time to buy the dip and escape the top.

In a time of volatility, the market fluctuates greatly, and it is easy to suffer great losses if you fail to time the market. According to incomplete statistics, more than 15 system crashes(large or small) of Binance’s servers each year. It means that there will be one collapse of Binance’s servers every month on average. Each system crash could make at least millions of users unable to take action. Therefore, traders need to choose a stable and safe exchange. Bitwells will be the option for you.

Bitwells is a futures trading platform focusing on the Bitcoin market, providing futures leveraged trading of mainstream digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, etc. The company is registered in the UK and is jointly developed by Internet experts, cryptocurrency traders, and financial professionals, trusted by more than 200,000 traders in over 200 countries/regions worldwide. No KYC, no deposit fees, App and PC available, traders can get the most attentive services, including 24/7 customer support on Bitwells.

Bitwells Platform Interface
Bitwells Platform Interface

Why Choose Bitwells?

Simplicity And Security

Bitwells runs a professional technology team and financial operation to provide you with an experience of simplicity and security. The lightning-speed execution ensures speedy and highly efficient trading on your smartphones, tablets, and computers, which largely avoids overload problems. Even in a period of great volatility, you don’t need to worry about being unable to log in due to a system crash.

Accurate Quote

Over 15 market makers guarantee the market liquidity and immediate transaction, which provides users with an accurate price. The Price index on Bitwells is based on calculating the weighted data from 5 major exchanges in the world – Binance, Poloniex, Bitfinex, Huobi, and Coinbase. Suppose any exchange fails to provide quotes due to its service performance or any problems. In that case, Bitwells reserves the right to apply a new Price Index based on the weighted average of the remaining working exchanges immediately.

Transaction Security

Amazon’s super transaction engine and strong basic support ensure that users’ every transaction is accurate, fast, and safe. Bitwells takes security measures similar to banks to ensure that the security of customer assets stored in trading exchanges reaches the highest standards. Several layers of protection have been implemented, such as multi-signature withdrawals and two-factor authentication (2FA).

Low Service Fee

Bitwells does not require deposit fees from users. According to this report, it charges 0.0005 BTC per BTC-withdrawal, which is below the global industry average (being 0.00059 BTC per BTC-withdrawal according to this report).

Demo Account With 10 BTC

Once registered, users on Bitwells will be offered a real trading account and a demo account with 10 BTC. The simulation pattern is user-friendly, which prevents beginners from losing money without knowing the rules. Users can use the demo account to get familiar with the trading process and test trading strategies to improve accuracy.

100X Leverage

Bitwells offers users trading with 100X Leverage. With 100X Leverage, traders can make 100 times of profits from both directions( long or short).

100 Deposit Bonus

Bitwells now offers a 100% deposit bonus as a thank-you gift for every user. When you deposit into Bitwells, the same amount of Bitcoin will be accredited to your account (max. 10 BTC each deposit). If you deposit 1 BTC, you will get 2 BTC, which you can use for transactions and earn more profits.

Explore and Get 100% Bonus at Bitwells
Explore and Get 100% Bonus at Bitwells

During periods of high volatility, a stable and professional exchange will allow you to hedge losses and make profits for yourself. Bitwells is committed to bringing a good trading experience to every user.

Sign up on Bitwells and maximize profits out of your Bitcoin.

Source: https://www.cryptonewsz.com/in-times-of-volatility-you-should-choose-a-stable-exchange/

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Ethereum’s much-awaited EIP-1559 gets deployed on Ropsen testnet

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As announced by Ethereum (ETH) core developer Tim Beiko, the London hardfork upgrade was successfully activated on the Ropsten test network.

Following the last Berlin upgrade, Ethereum’s London hardfork is anticipated to solve the network’s congestion and high transaction fee issues, which raised concerns and criticism regarding its scalability and performance.

We have a block!

“We have a block! Took a bit longer than expected, but London is live on Ropsten,” said Beiko, adding he is “pretty stoked to have sent the first 1559-style transaction included on a public Ethereum network *ever*.”

Beiko noted that blocks were a bit slow at first, due to the lack of miners upgrading: 

“Because mining is altruistic on Ropsten (block rewards are worthless), it can be hard to get folks to upgrade in a timely fashion.”

Following Ropsten, on June 30, the update will be implemented on the Goerli test network and finally Rinkeby will upgrade on July 7.

Controversial EIP-1559

London hardfork is one of the latest network upgrades proceeding the migration of Ethereum (ETH) towards Ethereum 2.0 and implements the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1559:

“The proposal in this EIP is to start with a base fee amount which is adjusted up and down by the protocol based on how congested the network is. When the network exceeds the target per-block gas usage, the base fee increases slightly and when capacity is below the target, it decreases slightly. Because these base fee changes are constrained, the maximum difference in base fee from block to block is predictable.”

Historically, Ethereum priced transaction fees using the ‘first price auction’ model and in order to tackle major inefficiencies, the controversial improvement initiates a dynamic fee structure and periodical fee burnings.

The new fee system means the miners only get to keep the priority fee, with the base fee always being burned (destroyed by the protocol), while ensuring only ETH is used to pay for transactions on Ethereum, cementing its economic value within the platform.

This will largely reduce miner extractable value risks and counterbalance Ethereum inflation.

A major day for Ethereum, as it takes another big leap from its Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. 

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Source: https://cryptoslate.com/ethereums-much-awaited-eip-1559-gets-deployed-on-ropsen-testnet/

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