Story originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 22, 2020, produced in partnership with WSJ Custom Content. Excerpts from the story below. To see the full story visit

Today’s business reality: an impossibly fast marketplace, increasing disruptions and customers demanding faster deliveries with shorter order-to-ship cycles. With COVID-19 accelerating e-commerce and omnichannel expectations, shippers and logistics service providers (LSPs) are casting a careful eye towards digitizing their distribution networks. For many warehouse operations, problems to solve are not just frequent but also nonstop changes in staffing levels, inventory positioning, equipment and work, to avoid delays in days or even hours.

The need to address higher fluctuations in demand and cater to more varieties of fulfillment and direct-to-customer orders compel strategies that coalesce new levels of prioritization, resource orchestration and automation. In a Gartner guide on warehouse technologies,1 32% of respondents said they considered their existing warehouse management systems (WMS) obsolete, and 67% are using or plan to use advanced automation.