System integration is a vital part of any software implementation. Although integration can be complex, the Lucas standards-based system interfaces makes the process quick and effective.
The Lucas software is designed to easily integrate to virtually any on-premise, hosted, or cloud-based IT or automation system: ERP, order management, and warehouse management packages (SAP, Oracle, BlueYonder, Manhattan, Infor, Microsoft, etc.); custom-developed host systems; warehouse control systems; and other automation and IT systems used in the DC.
Regardless of the warehouse management system or other systems you rely on today, Lucas standard-based system interfaces ensure that our warehouse optimization software can work with it, adding to its capabilities and deferring to its strengths, where applicable. Lucas supports multiple integration technologies and approaches, ranging from direct, real-time interfaces to host or WMS systems to batch file transfers. In many cases, multiple integration and data transfer techniques may be used. In the end, the choice is always yours, based on what is the best approach to meet your operational needs.
WMS Integration Options
Depending on the capability of your existing systems, we can offer two unique solutions for WMS integration
If your WMS includes built-in voice interfaces and functionality, Lucas mobile applications can connect directly to it. This direct approach provides rapid deployment for basic voice capabilities. In some cases, however, DCs will need to configure or customize the standard WMS voice interface and functionality to address specific process and operational needs. A good first step to determine if a direct WMS solution is right for you is to define an optimal voice process flow for your operation and to use this as the basis for a gap analysis of your WMS voice capabilities.
Server-Based WMS Integration
Companies that need to add work optimization, reporting and management capabilities will utilize Jennifer™ – the brain, voice and orchestration engine of the system – in a direct interface to their WMS. Similar to direct mobile interfaces, most WMS packages offer standard application programming interfaces (APIs or Material Handling Interfaces) that can be utilized with Lucas warehouse optimization solutions. In this multi-tier architecture, Jennifer™ will communicate with your host, WMS, WCS and other systems, and manages mobile work in direct, real-time communication with Lucas mobile applications. A key advantage is that Lucas software – which may be hosted in the cloud or on-site in a DC – provides greater flexibility to implement an optimal work process (or processes) in your DC without the time, cost and risk of customizing or replacing your back-end systems.
Key WMS Integration Considerations
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what is possible or practical when it comes to improving hands-on work processes by adding voice and other mobile technologies alongside existing WMS and host systems. In addition to the questions and answers below, we invite you to read about how other companies have integrated mobile technologies in their DCs.
Do I need a Tier 1 WMS to use voice?
While many companies using voice-picking solutions today also are running a WMS from RedPrairie, Manhattan Associates and other leading providers, most companies using voice do not have a Tier 1 WMS. Since Lucas first began providing voice-directed warehouse optimization solutions in 1998, most of the companies that have installed our software have not had a Tier 1 WMS. Many have had ERP systems, in-house inventory systems, or legacy WM packages.
Whatever warehouse management software and systems you have in place, we’ll work with you to ensure that our optimization solutions enhance the processes that are working for you and improve the ones that aren’t. In many cases, this means providing mobile applications that your current system won’t support on its own. Because of our flexible integration options, no matter what systems you have in place, Lucas can help.
Should I look at voice and other mobile technologies before or after upgrading my WMS?
Ultimately, the decision of whether to implement voice or a new WMS first is going to depend on your warehouse: how it’s run, how it should be run, and what your goals are for the upgrade. Many companies choose to implement voice-directed solutions before upgrading or replacing their WMS, as voice can be deployed in a fraction of the time of a new WMS, while driving immediate operational improvements. This approach has the added benefit of easing your transition to a new WMS in the future, as hourly associates will face no change in their work processes even as back-end systems change.
We’d love to talk through those issues with you to help you determine which approach would work best for your situation. In the meantime, use this link to learn how one of our customers tackled this question.
What types of warehouse management systems work with Lucas?
Is my WMS certified for Lucas software? In a word – yes! With Lucas you can add Lucas mobile apps to any system, no matter how old or new, basic or robust, cloud-based or hosted on site. Lucas has implemented our mobile applications using the standard pre-built interfaces provided with newer WMS packages, and Lucas’s standard-based interfaces reduces the time and costs of connecting to other systems using proven, industry-standard technologies.
In addition to Tier 1 WMS packages, our applications are working today with scores of older WMS and ERP systems, custom-developed inventory management systems running on a variety of host platforms, and a wide range of warehouse control systems, labor management packages, and other software and automation solutions used in a DC.