Fixing all that hidden inefficiency
WareBee wants to create a buzz with warehouse managers
Today we’re taking a look at the (surprisingly pretty, it turns out) world of warehouse simulation. This is software that can help your online shopping order arrive faster while making the supply chain more efficient and profitable. Scroll down to read all about WareBee.
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Warebee wants to fix your warehouse’s hidden inefficiencies
There’s potentially a lot of money to be made in the supply chain efficiency market. Startups looking to make procurement, fulfilment, and logistics run more smoothly cross my radar regularly. Today, let’s look at one such startup.
WareBee has built a platform that creates digital twins of warehouses to help operators work more efficiently, and boost sustainability, resilience and ease of regulation compliance. They’re not the first to do this, but with 20 years of experience in the logistics tech space, co-founder Simon Fishgang believes they’ve got a compelling offering.
The Cambridge-based startup has built a SaaS platform that allows users to quickly recreate the physical layout of a warehouse and import data about its operations from their warehouse management software.
WareBee then measures the warehouse’s performance against common industry key performance indicators (KPIs) such as cost-to-serve, and flags up potential performance and compliance issues as they arise.
Most importantly, WareBee then recommends how to solve any issues, for example by relocating stock. Co-founder Simon Fishgang says the recommendations show the financial impact of the changes it recommends, so warehouse operators can clearly see how much they could save.
“The warehousing industry [has] a lot of different elements interacting with each other constantly… [and] people who are managing these processes and companies have their limitations as human beings,” says Fishgang. “We are using the big data available to them already and we will show them how to make their process more efficient and better, and make better future decisions as well.”
Fishgang says Warebee offers best value to warehouses that stock a lot of different kinds of items, such as ecommerce fulfilment centres. It’s worth noting that Warebee doesn’t provide real-time analytics yet, but Fishgang says that’s on the roadmap. For detail on how the platform squares off against its competitors, see the end of this article.
Fishgang has a long history of working in the tech side of the logistics industry in Israel and Europe. With 20 years of experience in the space, he spotted the need for Warebee to highlight specific inefficiencies and recommend solutions.
“Even all these technologies in the warehousing industry today; robotics and automation… none of these systems can tell you ‘well actually, here is your inefficiency. Here is what you're spending too much time on and if you do that you actually will be much better in total’.”
Knowing that much of the data needed to make these recommendations existed inside the systems warehouse operators already used, Fishgang co-founded Warebee with his brother Anatoli, who has previously co-founded several companies in Israel’s fertile startup scene. Simon is based in the UK, while Anatoli works from Israel.
The startup began as a back-of-a-napkin idea in January 2021, evolving into a proof-of-concept experiment in spring 2021, before full development began in May 2021. They brought it to market in February this year, but quickly shifted their target market.
Simon Fishgang [I spoke to both brothers for this article, but I only quote Simon, so let’s go back to ‘Fishgang’ for consistency from here on!] says their initial assumption was that they were building a tool for SMEs that hadn’t yet invested in business intelligence tools. But after demoing their product at a two-day trade show in Coventry earlier this year, they realised that larger companies were far more interested in trying the software.
Fishgang says WareBee now has two paying customers operating the software across a total of eight warehouses, plus “lots” of pilot programmes in operation with various UK and European logistics companies, retailers, and even a pharmaceutical company, covering hundreds of warehouses in total.
As a demonstration of WareBee’s value, Fishgang says one of the paying customers initially used the software to build a business case for warehouse automation.
“What is the ROI on investing in robots? If you ask the vendor of the robots he will tell you it's good, but if you really want an objective and independent view of whether it's a good business case or not…we can actually simulate the working process and see what will happen if we will change this working process, using automation for example.”
The competition, investment plans, and the big vision
WareBee is up against established competition in both human and software form.