Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Softeon builds lab to test warehouse management

Steve Rogerson
August 21, 2018



Supply chain software provider Softeon has built a laboratory at its Reston, Virginia, headquarters to test warehouse management systems (WMS).
 
Softeon has been involved in WMS and overall supply chain execution systems since its inception nearly two decades ago. It has also continued to invest in innovation specifically in its WMS.
 
Creating the Warehouse of the Future Lab follows in the past year the release its OFS order fulfilment system in which its WMS directly controls picking sub-systems such as voice, pick carts, put walls and pick-to-light without the need for additional third-party control software.
 
This provides benefits to distribution operations, such as lowering hardware costs for the picking sub-systems and devices, eliminating the need for integration between the WMS and the picking system control software, and enabling enhanced optimisation of the end-to-end picking process through complete control with one system.
 
More recently, the company added to OFS – available as part of the WMS or standalone – a similar direct integration with and optimisation of the increasingly popular mobile robots being used in distribution.
 
The success of these and other initiatives drove Softeon to formalise its efforts with the creation of the lab. The lab is a physical centre, with dedicated space necessary to develop integrations with all types of DC automation, including distribution robotics.
 
But though important as the research and development on the WMS integration and optimisation with a wide variety of equipment and robotic systems, the lab is also the centre for software engineers to continue to push the envelope in terms of general WMS enhancements.
 
Current research includes such areas as capturing and using demand signals from IoT devices, use of next-generation real-time location systems in the distribution centre, and leveraging machine learning techniques in the WMS.
 
“The Softeon Warehouse of the Future Lab is demonstrating the many ways WMS can continue to be enhanced and deliver new levels of productivity and value to shippers,” said Dan Gilmore, CMO at Softeon. “The lab has already led to breakthrough capabilities in use today at our customers’ facilities, with an exciting pipeline of other innovations on the way.”