Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Virtual Warehouse Management System (VWMS)

VWMS does not exist in reality yet , it is an idea which may have a paradigm shift in how we develop and design Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). Usually WMS systems are browser based (IE , Chrome , Firefox ) applications. These applications are having just a user interface to collect whatever the input from the user and execute business logic based on the given inputs. For the user he or she would not see the real time representation of the Warehouse that is being managed using the system. In fact for user to have a glimpse of how much room is occupied in warehouse he or she would have to get a report from the system or physically visit the warehouse and see. This is the typical way of developing any web based application today.

But what if user gets to see a model of existing warehouse as it is in a virtual world where user could do movements just by using mouse gestures such as drag , drop , click , select , double click etc. ?. This is where the concept of VWMS comes in to the picture. VWMS is a three dimensional model of the real warehouse and user will see the warehouse as it is at any given time. All the movements of different types of goods can be done by the user just by doing drag , drop , select actions. When the actions are performed on a virtual object in the virtual model those will be recorded in a database for later usage. This is exactly similar to what we see today's virtual games.

VWMS will definitely improve the efficiency of operations as well as improve the ability to receive exact state of the warehouse. In addition to that when reports are needed user could just get it done with the data that is recorded when movements are performed in the virtual model. Below are list of the scenarios that may come across,

1. User selects a shelf and the system will provide information about the shelf , such as the type of the goods stored , size of the shelf , approximate weight , available volume etc

2. Use could drag good from one shelf and drop to another shelf

3. ....

Also at a later stage one can couple this virtual model with the real world model in such a way that a movement done in the real warehouse by an individual will be updated in the model real time. This would be the ultimate challenge in implementing a VWMS.

With the latest technologies such as HTML5 3D rendering , AJAX , a framework which supports state-full user interfaces would help in implementing this.

Care must be taken in the areas such as performance , how to scale the system etc.

Note: VWMS is completely hypothetical concept where implementation is not promised, but with the technologies mentioned above an attempt can be made