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Körber Supply Chain Highlights Major Innovations, Success Stories & Strategies

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Körber Supply Chain is now amongst the top 3 software vendors in the global WMS market as per SPARK Matrix analysis by Quadrant Knowledge Solutions. The journey and the progress from the HighJump Software to Körber Supply Chain is truly inspiring. The company continues to take major strides driven by the technology innovations and product evolution. The virtual event – Elevate Americas 2022, organized by Körber Supply Chain, emphasized on this successful journey and the future growth strategies for supply chain software and automation solutions. Quadrant Knowledge Solutions attended the event for the fifth time in a row.

In the three-day virtual event Elevate Americas 2022, Chad Collins, CEO, Körber Supply Chain, kick-started the session presenting the company plans to help its customers overcome the supply chain challenges and complexities. Sean Elliott, EVP & CTO, Körber, stressed upon the company’s continued commitment to innovate digital solutions that will effectively address the supply chain challenges, a topic which in recent years has moved from being a mere perception to an imperative to be acted upon.

Körber Supply Chain – achievements & perspectives

Chad Collins, in his presentation ‘Riding the Wave of Opportunity,’ spoke about some of the company’s major achievements, expanding business, and success stories in the year 2021. The company’s key differentiators are its ability to provide full portfolio of digital supply chain & warehouse solutions and integration services. The Körber’s portfolio of offerings includes warehouse management systems (WMS), cloud services, robotics & voice solutions, automation, & simulation and the same is expanding with new initiatives. He made special mention about the acquisition of more than 170 new customers last year and popularity of the company’s cloud offerings. Some of the perspectives of Körber Supply Chain that will influence its supply chain offerings in the coming years include the following:

  • – Digitization and Process Optimization
  • – End customer expectations
  • – Labor challenges
  • – Supply chain agility and resilience
  • – Facility optimization
  • – Environment, social, and governance issues

Chad Collins also made reference to the acquisition of minority stake in Körber’s supply chain software business by KKR, a software investment specialist & leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management and capital markets and insurance solutions. This strategic partnership is expected to enable Körber Supply Chain to consolidate its position as a global leader with enhanced end-to-end solutions for its customers worldwide.

Körber’s press release, quoting Chad Collins, says: “The strategic partnership with KKR is a great opportunity for us and we look forward to working with them and to drawing on their vast experience and track record of investing in and scaling software businesses globally. This will allow us to significantly accelerate our growth plan to build a global champion in supply chain software.’ The press release goes on to say that ‘KKR will work with Körber’s supply chain software business to pursue organic and inorganic growth strategies to expand the company’s geographic footprint, accelerate the transition to Software as a Service (SaaS), automation and robotics, as well as to develop innovative digital solutions to support customers amid increasing warehouse automation and supply chain localization”.

What was delivered in 2021 & what to expect in 2022

Sean Elliott, in his presentation ‘Rising Tides of Innovation: A Unified Platform Approach,’ highlighted the three areas that the company focused and delivered in 2021 – unified platform, simulation software, and gamification. Unified platform helps build and integrate end-to-end suite of supply chain execution applications. It is cloud-native with microservices architecture. Simulation software is used to test new warehouse designs, for achieving operational improvements at an existing site, and for identifying performance efficiencies in the warehouse. It will enable warehouse operators and customers, to simulate warehouse operations. Gamification is a means to help the workforce, on one hand, to get the immersive experience of actual working and, on the other, to assess workforce efficiency.

Sean Elliott laid out the company’s primary initiatives for year 2022 as: 
– Digital supply chain solutions as a SaaS offering as part of Körber One platform strategy. Körber believes that through its cloud and SaaS offering it can address issues relating efficiency, reliability, resilience, green practices, and cybersecurity of supply chain solutions

  • – New product, Universal Control System (UCS), will optimize and manage humans, robots, material handling equipment, and warehouse management systems via a single unified software layer
  • Warehouse modelling for operations will help visualize the ideal warehouse with all the appropriate equipment in place, from robots to packing machines and forklift trucks. With its help one  can test and evaluate new warehouse layout configurations and operational process changes

Other speakers from Körber Supply Chain presented their thoughts on various topics, such as improving the productivity and satisfaction of the workforce with Voice solutions, benefits of cloud solutions, strategies for optimizing the capacity and productivity of warehouses through warehouse modelling, improving picking efficiency in warehouses with the use of smart cards, the advantages of warehouse automation with the help of autonomous mobile robots, etc.

According to Rajabahadur V Arcot, Senior Advisor at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions, “Kӧrber Supply Chain, with continued investments in cloud-based Kӧrber One platform strategy, with integrated supply chain software and automation solutions within it, is focusing on accelerating innovations and addressing the supply chain complexities for small to large-sized businesses. The company is focusing on enhancing supply chain visibility, warehouse modelling and simulation, and series of add-ons for data analytics and insights”.

“Körber, with the introduction of its Unified Control System (UCS), is expected to lead the warehouse automation revolution for optimizing supply chain operational efficiencies. With UCS, the company is looking at unifying the orchestration and management of AMR operations, voice solutions, and fixed automation systems within the warehouse environment,” according to Piyush Dewangan, Director & Principal Analyst at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions. “The company has wide partner network with leading AMR vendors and has significantly invested in building a strong service organization for end-to-end consulting, implementation, and support services for AMR solution. The company’s AMR solution offers strong synergies and integration with warehouse execution systems, including WMS, WES, WCS, TMS, and order management systems”, Piyush adds.

Case Studies

Some of the case studies that were also presented at the Elevate Americas virtual event are

  • – SanMar spoke about its successful WMS implementation journey at its new distribution center despite the numerous challenges it faced in shifting from its old to its new warehouse facility
  • – Lineage Logistics highlighted on how Körber’s WMS enabled the company to set and achieve efficient and sustainable supply chain operations
  • – Big Rock Sports shared the best implementation practices it successfully adopted in its WMS project
  • – ISN, through the deployment of AMRs, significantly improved its warehouse and workers productivity. The company, in its presentation ‘Adapting to change and enabling growth with mobile robotics,’ shared its thoughts and experiences
  • – Kenco Logistics Services spoke about the roll-out of AMRs at its Jeffersonville site – insights gained, project results, and lessons learned
  • – Nassau Provisions, in its presentation ‘Responding to rapid growth with Warehouse Edge and voice-directed work,’ highlighted how it digitized its warehouse operations that resulted in the company’s rapid growth despite the challenges of the COVID 19
  • – Biagi Bros deployed cloud-enabled WMS across its distribution center network. In its presentation ‘How cloud helped us drive business agility, growth and innovation’ shared how the project had fueled business agility and growth 

The Elevate Americas 2022 event achieved its purpose of showcasing Körber Supply Chain as a global provider of best-in-class digital supply chain solutions.  – -The company’s presentations provided a glimpse of what to expect from the company in the times to come. The case studies gave the impression that the Korber is indeed successfully meeting the customer expectations.

Authors

Rajabahadur V. Arcot

Senior Advisor, Quadrant Knowledge Solutions

Piyush Dewangan

Director & Principal Analyst – Research & User Consulting at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions