Intelligent agent based framework to augment warehouse management systems for dynamic demand environments
Keywords:Warehouse management systems, Distributed intelligence, Software agents, Decision support
Warehouses are being impacted by increasing e-commerce and omni-channel commerce. The design of current WMSs (Warehouse Management Systems) may not be suitable to this mode of operation. The golden rule of material handling is smooth product flow, but there are day-to-day operational issues that occur in the warehouse that can impact this and order fulfilment, resulting in disruptions. Standard operational process is paramount to warehouse operational control but may preclude a dynamic response to real-time operational constraints. The growth of IoT (Internet of Things) sensor and data analytics technology provide new opportunities for designing warehouse management systems that detect and reorganise around real-time constraints to mitigate the impact of day-to-day warehouse operational issues. This paper presents the design and development stage of a design science methodology of an intelligent agent framework for basic warehouse management systems. This framework is distributed, is structured around operational constraints and includes the human operator at operational and decision support levels. An agent based simulation was built to demonstrate the viability of the framework.
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