Supply chain managers need real-time data to effectively manage operations. While supply chain software companies offer solutions that come with analytic solutions, the data used for the analytics is usually archived data. Archived data is not real-time. There is a new technology that can provide real-time visibility. But getting it implemented means overcoming the objections of the IT department.

Longbow Advantage Has a Real-time Visibility Solution

Longbow Advantage had their first user conference in Nashville, Tennessee this week. Longbow Advantage’s main business has been doing warehouse management system (WMS) implementations. But this conference was focused on a near real-time analytics solution they developed called Rebus. Here “near real-time” is defined as a refresh of key metrics every five minutes. They believe that within the next year or so they can get the refresh down to a one-minute refresh.

A few years ago, Longbow’s customers started to ask them to fix a problem they were having with their warehouse management systems. WMS generates massive quantities of data. According to Alex Wakefield, the CEO at Longbow, 3 months of warehouse data, including the real-time data, that is generated across several warehouse sites for just ONE customer over the course of just three months is nearly half the size of ALL the data collected by one very large public cloud supplier of transportation management systems across ALL their customers!

A WMS system uses RF guns to make scans of picking locations, to verify that the picker is in the right location. Product bar codes may also be scanned to verify the right number of products were selected. This improves the quality of the work. But all these scans across all the pick locations and picked products generates truly massive data. 

Trying to access near real-time analytics, so that warehouse managers can more effectively run their warehouses, was not possible. This is because a WMS has a production database as well as archived data. The archived data, used for analytics, is not real-time. Yet, hitting the production database would lead to poor performance for floor level workers who are getting directions on what work they need to do next. 

 

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