Continued adoption of advanced warehouse management systems (WMS) in Asia capable of integrated data collection and sharing capabilities is expected to help the global supply chain improve efficiencies in manufacturing and distribution. According to research conducted by the ARC Advisory Group, the Asian WMS market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 13.5 percent during the five-year forecast period, with strong growth in the electronics, transportation and logistics industries, as well as penetration into new industries such as pharmaceuticals and machinery.
"Asia is an emerging WMS market with annual revenues estimated at 16 percent of North America revenues," report co-author Neelam Singh said. "This region has experienced above average growth of 25 percent and is expected to continue growing at a fast pace."
The function of a WMS is to manage a warehouse's resources, including space, labor, equipment, tasks and material flows. ARC defined a WMS as a real-time solution that utilizes voice recognition, barcodes and other types of real-time location systems.
As emerging markets in parts of Asia and other regions mature and higher labor costs become more of an issue, suppliers throughout the world are turning to data collection systems and analytical tools to streamline processes and make informed, up-to-the-minute management decisions based on the latest supply chain information.
In the hyper-competitive global marketplace, suppliers in emerging markets seeking to retain and improve existing cost advantages will continue to adopt WMS solutions to achieve operational efficiencies. One of the ways the report anticipated this occurring is through the use of add-on modules such as labor management and warehouse analytics. Another emerging trend in WMS productivity and supply managemen is the expansion of e-commerce and multi-channel retail to generate demand for WMS functionality that supports e-commerce fulfillment.
On-premise WMS solutions will be the dominating data collection system for years to come, though there may come a day in the future when flexible, web-based data sharing features become the most commonly-used tool among global manufacturers and distributors to share and analyze data. Other future advancements in WMS may come in the form of predictive analytics tools that takes information from not only a particular supplier's processes, but also those from the entire supply chain to generate complex data sets and accurately anticipate future outcomes based on past and present information.