e now live in a multichannel, Changing Needs, WMS are not equipped to handle as they
consumer-driven world where tend to focus on managing inventory
change is constant. Recent ﬁgures from New Technology within rather than beyond the four walls of
Mintel (Internet Quarterly report, June 2006) a warehouse.
have revealed that Internet and home WMS has long been used in distribution Similarly, many WMS systems are
shopping sales rose by 51% last year centres to ensure minimum handling and also not designed to handle some of
compared with 2004, with sales across turn-around times for in and outbound the complex processes associated with
Europe expected to triple by 2010. The inventory. However, gone are the days customer returns. Growing in importance
pull effect from consumers has never when warehouse management was as a consequence of multichannel retail
been stronger and it is exerting enormous simply about marshalling stock; these requirements, reverse logistics present
pressure on businesses to adapt to days, an efﬁciently run warehouse can a signiﬁcant opportunity to improve
changing consumer demands or risk make a valuable contribution towards efﬁciencies and reduce costs, but many
being left behind. achieving greater customer satisfaction businesses do not fully recognize the value
Changing demands on retailers and, ultimately, increasing your of goods being subsumed back into
have a profound knock-on effect for company’s bottom line. The modern the supply chain or have the necessary
manufacturers, logistics providers warehouse is now about real-time processes in place to fully exploit this.
and others involved in the supply of operational ﬂexibility, providing enhanced
goods. Companies must re-evaluate the inventory and order visibility throughout
effectiveness of their business processes the entire enterprise. This creates real ABOUT THE AUTHOR
and systems in enabling more timely added value and, for many organizations,
response to customer requirements. these are no longer ‘nice to haves’ but
Innovative organizations are now seeking a competitive imperative. Why? Simply
to address any functionality blind-spots because the complexity associated with
in the extended supply chain that may the modern supply network demands it.
be holding them back from achieving The driving force of the WMS
real, proﬁtable growth and developing revolution has undoubtedly been the
appropriate IT procurement strategies. increasing convergence between retail
The biggest battleground for IT and consumer product supply chains. The
procurement has most recently been the recent explosion in multichannel retailing David is Retail/CPG Marketing Manager
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) has created enormous challenges for at Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc.
market, which has grown in signiﬁcance European businesses to ensure they have subsidiary and one of the world’s largest
as supply chain operations have become the appropriate capabilities to manage providers of multi-enterprise collaboration
more complex, globalized and distributed, complex customer requirements. As software and services. David joined
as warehouses grow and evolve to cope customer demand for a broader range of Sterling Commerce in 2006 and is
with the challenges and complexities purchasing and fulﬁllment options and responsible for supporting Retail/CPG
of fulﬁlling demand in a multichannel up-to-date information about the status initiatives in Europe, Middle East and
retailing environment. of their orders have increased, this has Africa. He has extensive understanding
Traditionally, European organizations forced businesses to address internal and and experience of the global retail industry,
have procured WMS on a short term, external inventory visibility problems and having spent his entire career buying
return-on-investment basis. However, reassess the effectiveness of their existing and selling retail solutions. He worked for
in today’s globalized business WMS capabilities. ASDA, Woolworths and Eatons before
economy, more and more companies The growing trend in ‘drop-ship’ transitioning to software sales roles. He
are reassessing their WMS needs in fulﬁllment, for example, requires an has held senior positions with vendors
line with long-term strategic goals. unprecedented level of stock visibility including Kewill Systems, and prior to
Many are realizing that to meet the and collaboration with trading partners joining Sterling Commerce at Transora
new requirements brought about by to immediately establish the availability (1Sync), where he was the Director of
the general increase in supply chain of stock held by a supplier and enable Business Development for Europe.
complexity, they need to select WMS retailers to order goods to be delivered David has presented at many seminars
that not only cope with existing business directly to the customer or to their throughout Europe and Asia Paciﬁc.
needs but which offer the necessary preferred store. This effectively means He currently sits on the GDS adoption
scalability, support and ﬂexibility to adapt establishing real-time inventory visibility Committee of GS1UK and is involved in the
to the inevitable changes of the future. across multiple stores, warehouses and Global Upstream Supply Initiative. More
distribution centres along the whole information on Sterling Commerce can
supply network, including those of your be found at
trading partners — something traditional www.sterlingcommerce.com/emea.
Launch 2007 Supply Chain Digital
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