It’s Changing – And So Are We…
We came across an article about the warehouse control system (WCS) the other day that was relevant to where our thoughts are at the moment. Ian Hobkirk wrote the article for SupplyChain247.com and you find it here:
The article is a great overview of the decisions facing distribution center (DC) operators. Many are finding that their Warehouse Management System (WMS) is struggling to keep up with the changes that are happening in their operations.
Here is a brief excerpt from the article:
WCS systems have largely been developed by material handling manufactures or systems integrators. Some are little more than development platforms, with each installation differing vastly from the others. Some providers, however, have developed WCS systems that are true applications, with a common underlying source-code from one deployment to the next and regular enhancements and upgrades.
However, some of today’s WCS systems are exceeding their original mandates of communicating with material handling systems, and, like voice systems, are being deployed to achieve functionality that is too challenging or risky to develop in the company’s WMS. Some of the newer WCS systems have also been developed with flexible architecture, and can be used to fill gaps without the resource drain and risk of a wholesale platform replacement.
Having developed middleware for a variety of DC operations, as well as having developed the equivalent of a WCS for a variety of process industry clients, we find ourselves in agreement that adaptations of the WCS might be your best choice in upgrading your systems, for the simple reasons that it will most likely be much easier to execute and the most cost-effective choice.
So here’s the real news. Pendant is in the development stages of a “true WCS application” that will make life easier for you. Watch this space for another post comparing an HMI-based system to a full-fledged warehouse control system and when you should opt for the one over the other. In the meantime, we will keep you posted on our progress with the Pendant Automation Warehouse Control System, coming soon.