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Supply Chain News: Inching Closer to the Autonomous Warehouse


German Software Firm Arvato Announces AI-Powered WMS for Autonomous Operations

June 5, 2024

German software company Arvato this week announced an AI-based Warehouse Management System (WMS) in conjunction with the European version of the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium being held in June in Barcelona.

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Is the smart warehouse of the future on the cusp of reality? Expect more similar announcements soon.

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Microsoft was announced as a partner in the development of the system.

Talk of so-called “smart warehouse” solutions, or alternatively “autonomous” warehouses or warehouse systems, is growing, driven of course in large part by use of Artificial Intelligence in WMS.

Arvato’s project “Moonshot” aims to implement self-improving processes within the warehouse environment by leveraging generative AI, robotics, and cloud computing, the company says.

“We launched the Moonshot project with Microsoft in March, aiming for the ambitious goal of creating an autonomous warehouse," says Paul Brolly, Vice President of Global Business Development at Arvato.

He added that "Our approach involves examining various warehouse processes to automate and enhance them through robotics, digitalization, and AI. The focus isn't solely on individual processes. In the future, AI could handle the initial overall warehouse layout for new orders based on customer requirements, which we would then refine with our expertise. This approach saves time and effort.”
Microsoft, as Arvato's technology partner, is very involved in this initiative.

"Microsoft's expertise in data platforms, compute capacities, Gen AI forecasting, computer vision, augmented reality, and cognitive services like speech recognition and text analysis is vital in realizing our vision of a self-managed warehouse," Brolly added.

What can AI really do for warehouse operations? Arvato says one use case involves optimizing picking routes using AI to reorganize task orders through rapid data analysis, enhancing navigation for pickers.


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Another use case involves AI-controlled interpretation of carrier responses in transport, with the system interpreting these responses and independently triggering appropriate actions in the claim management systems, freeing up resources by reducing manual complaint processing to just 3-4% of claims.

Is the smart warehouse of the future on the cusp of reality? Expect more similar announcements soon.

Any thoughts on the autonomous WMS? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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