Net-WMS - Towards a New Generation of Networked Warehouse Management Systemsby Bruno Le Dantec
Net-WMS is a new project managed by ERCIM with the objective to integrate virtual reality and optimisation techniques in a new generation of networked businesses in Warehouse Management Systems under constraints. The project has been set up in the frame of the ERCIM Working Group 'Constraints'.
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are evolving from controlling goods movement and storage to light manufacturing, transportation and order management. Demands from end users are asking for WMS solutions with decision-making applications and networked environment.
The Net-WMS project proposes a software solution enabling the expected new generation of networked businesses WMS. Net-WMS will handle networked communication and co-operation processes through the integration of decision-making technologies, generic 3D placement primitives, virtual reality for 3D visualisation, interactivity to design packing models, knowledge modelling. The added value and competitiveness increase of the Net-WMS solution will be characterised by shared expertise, easy deployment and maintenance, flexibility, interoperability, better resource handling and access to remote services.
The Net-WMS achieved prototype applications for processes in a networked WMS will include:
- a packing modeller of items based on virtual reality and optimisation techniques
- a palletiser tool using optimisation techniques
- a dispatcher with the virtualisation of a truckload
- a set of interfaces will enable Net-WMS communication between several planning components across a network.
Net-WMS-generated knowledge will be shared in networked warehouses, thanks to its interoperability and user friendly interface designed for plant level technician users. Net-WMS optimisation developments will also be made available for the whole community through the enhancement of the Choco open-source system. The achieved optimisation technologies will enable 20% saving for packaging costs. The project gathers nine European organisations having a recognised expertise in logistical and packing problems as well as software development in supply chain optimisation. Net-WMS complementary and multidisciplinary consortium includes 3 SMEs, 2 large manufacturers and 4 academics and research centres.
Net-WMS began in September and has a duration of three years. The project is partly funded by the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission. The project consortium is composed of nine partners from research and industry, including the ERCIM members SICS and INRIA.
Bruno Le Dantec, ERCIM office