How to Unify Your Warehouse Operations Data Stack

Posted on: May 11, 2023

The path to merging multiple distribution center data sets into one unified view

Managing the KPIs of a network of facilities – or even one distribution center – is challenging because of the number of disparate data sets that exist in a modern warehouse. Some of those datasets might live in the cloud, while others might be hard-coded and on-premise. And yet, having the data at your fingertips is essential to driving operational efficiencies. Not only do operations leaders need data, they need it to be unified in one place to make smart decisions. Connecting your entire warehouse data stack, even across multiple facilities, is the way to fulfill that need.   

Step 1: Take a complete inventory of your data sources

Together with your IT team, inventory all the transactional data you are tracking in your distribution center(s). For operational excellence and driving efficiencies, the most essential data sources are 

  1. Time clocks
  2. WMS
  3. Job codes

Step 2: Send the event streams to a centralized database

Gathering your data into one centralized storage/compute layer is an essential step. Think of it like a holding tank to collect all your data sources.

Easy Metrics simplifies this step by doing it for you. We take in your exported data from multiple disparate data sources, even across multiple facilities, and centralize it into one database.

Step 3: Transform your data

All your data needs to be normalized during this step. For example, two facilities in your network use two different terms or codes for picking: “PKG” in Facility A, and “Picking” in Facility B. Easy Metrics takes these two data sets and combines them under a common “Picking” process category in the data structure, and then normalizes the data using our Logic Writer tool. With the dataset unified, you can start making apples-to-apples comparisons.

Easy Metrics maps, merges, and transforms your data, forming a complete unified data model all in one place. 

Step 4: Visualize your data with reports and dashboards

During this step, you can either utilize the built-in reporting tools within Easy Metrics, or we can provide you with a private data mart. With your own data mart, you can utilize your favorite BI tool, or merge that data with other systems in your business.

Caution: If your BI tool and data mart are on different networks you may encounter performance limitations and challenges. API calls from a BI Tool to a data mart may have row limits that force the user to make a larger number of calls to get the whole data set. We often see row limits of 10,000, which is insufficient for the significantly larger data sets that are the norm. Fortunately, Easy Metrics’ dashboards, reports, and analytics – which are available within Easy Metrics itself – letting you visualize the data within the same toolset, on the same network, without any other BI tool required.

Download the PDF: Normalizing Process Data

Step 5: Manage your distribution centers to operational excellence

Leverage your powerful, unified data to link all your operations business investments to business value. Manage your cost and performance of your workforce, processes, automation investments, and equipment. Understanding what it costs to do everything in your operations, with reliable data, will give you the confidence to cut waste, drive efficiency gains, and create an engaged culture.  

Unifying your data stack will transform the way you operate. Easy Metrics can handle this entire process for you, giving your operation a major competitive advantage without worrying about juggling several alternative solutions. If you’d like to learn more, download our Normalizing Data solutions brief or schedule a call with one of our operations analytics experts.

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