Home > Manhattan Associates seeks to level playing field in warehouse and retail

Manhattan Associates seeks to level playing field in warehouse and retail

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Suppy chain commerce provider, Manhattan Associates, is looking to level the playing field between online shopping and brick-and-mortar retail locations with their Omni-Channel Store solutions, delivering the increased personalisation, convenience and agility that retailers need to meet the evolving needs of today’s shoppers.

At CeMAT earlier this month, Manhattan associates had on display their Mobile Distribution Management application, which helps warehouse managers access a wealth of information that allows them to better manage labour, optimise slotting an much more from any device, including mobile devices.

Ferret sat down with Manhattan Associates CEO Raghav SIbal and discussed their warehouse management solutions.

  • How important is it for Manhattan to go to a conference like CeMAT and showcase their product?

It’s very important for Manhattan Associates to take part in events like CeMAT because we are a major player in the warehouse space from a WMS perspective. As CeMAT is focused on all solutions that can be used within the four walls of a warehouse, it is vital that we are on hand to show attendees what a WMS can offer their business.

CeMAT is also a great opportunity for Manhattan Associates to showcase the many innovations we are currently bringing to the global and Australian market. Manhattan’s heritage revolves around WMS solutions for warehouse environments and it remains a major focus for us, particularly in leading innovations in omni-channel, eCommerce and channel solutions.

  • What are some of the trends in warehouse management? Have there been any major changes in technology?

Manhattan Associates offers warehouses very robust WMS solutions. More recently we have concentrated on what else we can do to make warehouses more efficient and productive. As part of this our key focus has been on building mobility into our solutions. With access to mobile apps on a tablet or smartphone, warehouse supervisors are able to manage their operations directly from the warehouse floor or remotely when they are offsite. Mobility that interacts seamlessly with our WMS and offers ease of use has been a very important area of innovation for Manhattan.

  • How has it changed over the past year?

Over the past year Manhattan’s innovations have emphasised the increasing challenges retailers are facing as the omni-channel and eCommerce areas of their businesses expand rapidly. Retail operations are under more pressure than ever to fulfil single orders in shrinking timeframes. Manhattan has built applications specifically catering to the needs of eCommerce to help retailers better meet the demand.

Manhattan has also witnessed a changing warehouse workforce, with many university students and graduates taking short-term contracts, often during peak periods where retailers have increased orders to fulfil. These shorter term millennial workers often take contracts during which they use their own mobile device at work. Manhattan’s eCommerce app can be easily downloaded and used by these workers to fulfil online orders. For retailers that are today facing much higher turnover in their workforce, it is vital that their workers are able to have access to apps that are intuitive and easy to train on. A younger workforce also demands more advanced technology, which today means apps on mobile devices.

  • How does Manhattan Associates differentiate itself from the competition?

Manhattan Associate’s single biggest differentiator is our strong focus on innovation. We are the largest investor in research and development compared to other companies working in the WMS space. At Manhattan we have a clear strategy of innovation that has helped us develop solutions that have flexible functionalities and capabilities that can evolve with technology advancements into the future. This flexibility in solutions is possible because Manhattan’s strategy is to innovate rather than acquire a range of new technologies that may not be designed to work together seamlessly.

Manhattan views the supply chain as a whole, rather than different sections of it in isolation. This ensures our WMS solutions can perform as an end-to-end supply chain platform from eCommerce and the shopfront right through to the warehouse and transport and logistics. We believe that businesses have a lot of advantages to gain from having a holistic view of their entire operations. This level of visibility means that retailers can be much more dynamic, for instance in deciding whether based on transport costs and workforce capability it is best to pick an eCommerce order from a store or warehouse.

  • Where does Manhattan sees the future of warehouse management heading?

Manhattan Associates strongly believes businesses now and into the future need flexibility. This includes flexibility for changing volumes such as fluctuations during promotions or lean periods. Flexibility best places businesses to cater to all flows of products from one warehouse – fulfilling orders to their stores, as well as online orders. The big challenge for businesses is bringing in flexibility whilst also ensuring efficiency and productivity levels are optimised. This is when a higher level of system flexibility offers the best results, for example by being able to manage different workflows and volumes by fulfilling online orders from either the warehouse or store.

Full visibility also allows businesses to be leaner in their operations and to immediately identify any issues that may impact on the productivity or accuracy of workers.

From a technology perspective, businesses are increasingly switching to a centralised cloud-based WMS solution, that offers visibility of their operations at a smaller upfront cost. For smaller businesses in particular, cloud solutions also offer the flexibility for them to scale up as the business grows and ensure the system is current with constant updates and upgrades.

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