Traditional linear supply chains with sequential processes are evolving into complex global ecosystems that are highly responsive to customer requirements. These demand-driven environments - which work in conjunction with traditional push strategies - are known as adaptive supply chain networks.
An adaptive supply chain network allows all the stakeholders in the supply chain - both internal and external to the enterprise - to share knowledge, make collaborative decisions and immediately respond to changing conditions. Trading partners can avoid costly supply chain problems. Moreover, firms can enhance their financial position and improve their supply chain economics.
Without an adaptive supply chain network, the potential for growth is limited to improving linear processes and merely optimizing points throughout the network. These single optimizations rarely, if ever, affect the ecosystem as a whole.
Today, most companies work in a "plan then execute" paradigm. This has natural limitations because there is a fundamental mismatch between planning an ideal scenario and executing those plans in a real-life situation. An adaptive supply chain network can monitor changes in the real world so firms can profitably respond with timely and intelligent solutions to problems.
A warehouse management system (WMS) is one of the key technologies required to create a successful adaptive supply chain network. This system enables the extended warehouse to sense and respond to a variety of business requirements and meet complex and changing customer needs. To this end, warehouse management - and the technology that supports it - has moved to the forefront of the CEO's agenda.