I interviewed Christianto Widjaja who discussed Supply Chain Solutions and Optimization.
Today we're speaking with Christianto Widjaja, and we're going to talk about supply chain solutions and optimization. Christianto, can you first provide us with a background of yourself?
Sure. I have been in the supply chain industry for 16 years, originally part of the Manhattan Associates Professional Services team, and later being one of the initial team members at LogFire, just acquired by Oracle a couple of months back. Building on those experiences, my current partners and I decided to create a supply chain company that helped provide the latest automation solutions within the warehouse itself. Soon thereafter, VCO Systems was born, and now we have a supply chain optimization solution that e-commerce companies have been leveraging for awhile.
Can you talk about warehouse automation for ecommerce?
Amazon has obviously changed the supply chain industry, anunprecedented complex Supply Chain efficiency supported by state of the art Supply Chain end to end solutions to provide a better e-commerce experience for both their sellers and customers alike. They pioneered the two-day shipping standard which everybody is now trying to beat.
Considering the latest technology, we could provide a cost-effective ecommerce fulfillment optimization solution to help ecommerce retailers better compete. The latest technology provides very powerful hardware at an affordable cost. When we started to really peel back what was happening with two-day shipping, to make that happen, the need is to fulfill and ship out the order within the same day. Looking at the trend of optimization within the warehouse, the cost-effective technology that can be used by any type of e-commerce warehouses — either tier one, tier two, or tier three — are light solutions. We recognized this could be a form of automation that could be implemented in a very short time, and with a quick return on investment.
So, we set out to develop a light solution — which is not a new concept itself — that would be mobile in such a way that it could be powered by battery, and available on carts where it can be easily re-positioned or re-allocated anywhere in the warehouse on the fly. We utilize the latest technology to allow complex intelligence with a quick development time. As far as the infrastructure cost itself, it's very low because our app is working off of mobile hardware such as the Android operating system or iOS.
The whole concept of the light sortation that we came up with is designed to expedite order packing. With high-volume e-commerce retailers, there is a need to batch pick these multi-line orders. Then, with our light sortation, such as a putwall or putwall on cart, these items will be sorted back into individual orders and eventually packed and shipped. The results have been significant; increasing efficiency by 49%, with packing accuracy of 99.9%. All in a solution that can be implemented within six weeks.
There are certainly other options for optimization, for example, using a conveyor system, or possibly robotics. However, the cost and length of implementation is well beyond a light sortation system.
How is this done effectively in practice?
One of our clients is the leading children's apparel brand in the U.S., who came to us for help managing throughput of 50,000 units/day during seasonal peak. We discussed the effectiveness of batch picking and utilizing our putwall to sort items into these orders. We then came up with a very slim solution, a putwall with light that also works as a button, utilizing a booted scanner connected to a mobile iPod that cost them far less than an RF scanner. We came up with eight walls, four of them actually permanent, with the other four mobile, to meet their 50,000 unit throughput requirement.
Do you have any final recommendations regarding supply chain solutions and optimization?
From what we're seeing in the industry today, the trend has been focused on intelligence and automation. For the latter, I just described a light sortation solution. For the former, there's also what's called a warehouse execution system (WES), which provides automation on top of a warehouse management system, a labor management system (LMS), mechanical handling (MHE) and business intelligence. We provide a combined decade of experience implementing these warehouse execution systems for enterprise clients from retailers & eCommerce. WES allows our clients to operate warehouses with automation, limited system interaction & health dashboards.
Thank you for sharing today, Christianto.
My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.
About Christianto Widjaja
Managing Partner at VCO Systems