February 20, 2023
An Indian Warehouse is a tough place. They are usually located in remote area (Mankoli, Vadape, Neelamangla, Dharuhera, Atibele.....sounds exciting?), with creaky roads, electricity and modicum of facilities. Unlikely to figure in "best places to work" list.
But warehousing is HOT. Despite Covid-19, Indian warehousing sector is likely to grow at 15-25% over next 5 years to reach 375 mn SQFT as per this report from JLL.
This very paradox- super high growth sector where no millennial wants to work- is the driver for Software as a Service revolution in Warehouse Management System. Let us understand why so:
Size of country: India is a large, densely populated place. To reach your customer- you must have point of presence "near to the market". Suppose you supply Solar Electrical equipment. In case of any malfunction at Solar Plant site, the spare unit needs to reach the plant in shortest time. To ensure minimum downtime of a remote area plant- your need to maintain a network of small warehouses across India.
After GST, it was assumed that warehouses will consolidate. But growth of e-commerce has in fact required that you must store at more locations- may be served by a set of large central hub warehouses.
When you have multiple warehouses- you need to access inventory from ANY WHERE and ANY TIME on ANY DEVICE. SaaS WMS perfectly fits the bill.
Size of warehouse: We see impressive videos on YouTube of massive warehouses of Amazon, Flipkart and others. While size of warehouses in India is surely increasing- but most warehouses are tiny compared to ones in developed nations. As a result, the scope for hardware automation- robots, drones, put to light systems- etc. is limited to very few facilities.
Thus, what warehouse operators need is a practical technology solution that is easy on capex but helps automate processes. Again, SaaS WMS is a winner in such scenarios.
Brains need Starbucks: Supply Chain is all about data and how you munch it. The millennial crowd that understand data needs Starbucks next to their office. All they need is access to data and not physical presence inside a warehouse.
SaaS WMS provides massive data from multiple warehouses, customers, devices, sensors - all on Cloud. The Brains can analyse the data and come up with better inventory strategies.
Most warehouse are run by a 3PL and their customers again are based at a corporate office. They too need access to real time data across warehouse. Why on earth then we need servers inside every warehouse? That is so 20th century !!
4G is better than leased lines: For years, the above mentioned areas were simply out of reach for most telecom infrastructure. Only way to connect was a Satellite dish or Radio tower- both expensive and with limited bandwidth. But with 4G revolution in India- you get 20 Mbps bandwidth per SIM card.
Thus, SaaS WMS works on Mobile First basis and connects to cloud directly on 4G network. They work on Android based hand held terminals that get pick tickets and put away instructions from a central Control Center and execute the job on ground.
While warehouse space will grow- the need to access data from a remote place will grow even faster. With Cloud based SaaS WMS solutions, customers can combine best of operations with brightest supply chain minds- separated by distance but united by data.