5. Can a WMS replicate the Amazon fulfilment model?
Well, let’s be honest and say that an entire replication is not likely to happen. If you reduce Amazon’s fulfilment down to its core processes, however, eCommerce businesses can definitely start to meet the challenge.
For example, Amazon employees are ‘guided and monitored by software’ to items within an order. Well, any warehouse management system that wants to live up to its name should be able to do that. A WMS that is designed for eCommerce should be able to replicate this Amazon-style process by navigating your pickers along the fastest route for an order.
Another feature of Amazon’s fulfilment is the apparent disorder of the SKUs (stock keeping units) - ‘An HDMI cable lies near to five copies of Harry Potter sheet music. A brand of baby’s bottle is across the aisle from a drain water diverter.’ We call these dynamic warehouse locations and the reasoning for doing so is simple - it’s much easier to pick the right item among random SKUs than it is to pick from like SKUs. Replicating this Amazon technique is not going to be too challenging, we think.