With the last eighteen months have been unique in regards to how often the supply chain and logistics industries were featured in mainstream news, RFID technology continued to quietly inject itself into more and more corners of the industry – and beyond. While we have all been busy keeping up with the basics of our old supply chain, new versions of it continued to evolve even more rapidly.
We’ve all justifiably spent a lot of time over the last year focusing on the issues our industry is facing in keeping supply chains intact and running smoothly in the face of unprecedented demand and disruptions stemming from the pandemic. Amid all the shortages, delays and price changes, and like an exclamation point on a very memorable year, we also had a global shortage of containers due to the blockage of the Suez canal.
Last month the world briefly experienced a unique drama that involved no natural disasters, lost lives or homes or pile-ups of cars on the freeways. What got the world's attention like it never did before was a giant container ship stuck in a canal!
While the sight of a large, fully-loaded ship sitting stationary in a canal for week did not have the "drama" of other disasters, it was a disaster in its own way - just a very slow-building one. While no property was destroyed nor lives lost, there was a significant cost to what was really a "Supply Chain Chokepoint" on a global scale.
How much did it cost? Numbers are still being crunched, but some early data points illustrate the monumental impact it had on global trade.
Where are the chokepoints in YOUR supply chain?
Topics: Supply Chain
The pandemic-induced spike in eCommerce has been credited with accelerating technology adoption in the supply chain at least five years ahead of what forecasters expected to see by now. But despite the rush to modernize, upgrade, automate and refresh hardware, software, and processes, many facilities are still missing some of their best opportunities to improve productivity with RFID.
There is probably a higher level of public awareness about how the logistics industry works and its technology than ever before. Who hasn’t had at least a passing interest in how a nation plans to get over 300 million doses of a vaccine distributed in a manner of a few months?
How do you measure success in your warehouse? Every business has their own “dashboard” of KPIs (at least we ASSUME they do by now). Your KPIs could be as granular – and basic - as “Picks Per Hour”, “Receiving Wait Time”, “Packages Shipped” or “Fulfillment Rate”. Or they could be at a more macro level to measure “Inventory Turnover”, “Average Order Value” (or “Average Items per Order”) and “Forecast Accuracy” (along with basic tracking forecast elements).
The extreme climate event that kept Texas in the news for over a week put the spotlight on a lot of challenges that are growing due to climate change and extreme weather events. Putting aside the issue of Texas’ 80-year process of distancing their energy economy from the rest of the country, the tragic lack of preparation that appears to almost be intentional not only crippled the entire state, resulted in unnecessary deaths that were entirely preventable.
This year Zebra Technologies is introducing a new concept to drive decision-making in your planning and investment strategies for new devices and equipment in distribution centers and other warehouses. Referred to as the “Warehouse Maturity Model”, it provides a structured roadmap for modernization for your facilities.
One side-effect of 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic has been a heightened awareness of “safety” in the realm of hygiene, especially food and groceries. Early last year we were treated to videos of how to handle your groceries after you bring them home and generated such a high volume of prepared food delivery that we developed “contactless” delivery where someone in a mask rushes up to your door and leaves a non-descript package in front of it before texting you to get you to open the door (yes, how things have changed!).
‘Twas the week before Christmas,
And in the warehouse,
EVERYTHING was moving, it was a madhouse.
The entire year itself, was off the rails,
No one saw it coming, but one day they’ll tell the tale,
Of “The Year that Wasn’t”, or “The Year That Never Ends.”
A year after which the world will need much to mend.