Many Changes are Here to Stay
If there is one thing that last two months have demonstrated, it is both the resilience that has sustained many supply chains during an unprecedented health and economic crisis, AND the reality that we will never be going back to doing things the same way again. Industries that were deemed “essential” like food distribution, healthcare and other logistics-heavy operations have in many cases had to deal with unprecedented velocity and strain on capacities, all while trying to prevent losing capacity to illness and fatigue.
How Do You Create The "Touchless Warehouse"?
One of the mainstay principles of good process design in the distribution center has always been to "minimize touches". It's a very basic concept that drives home the point that items should get from A to B with as few touches as possible, preferably just ONE. But the upheaval stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic is ironically putting intense pressure on the distribution and logistics side of many industries while other areas of the business may be scaling back (i.e. the storefront). The Food & Beverage industry, in particular, is an "essential" business and if the shelves of your local supermarket are any indication, the velocity of materials flying through that supply chain must be well above norms even for a pre-holiday shopping week. But the increased pressure on the supply chain comes not only from the high demand, but also from the fear of losing employees to extended sick leave because of the spread of the virus. How can a distribution center and other areas of the supply chain fulfill their mission while not just preserving, but INCREASING employee safety beyond your standard solutions? This is the question we asked ourselves while conceptualizing what we are now calling the "Touchless Warehouse". It's no longer just about "minimizing touches" but now it's about "minimizing TOUCHING" altogether.
Note 1 from AMG: This post was originally published by Zebra Technologies on 9 March 2020 and is re-published here with their permission.
Note 2 from AMG: References and links to most of the guidelines below will take you off-site to Zebra.com. However, most of the guidance here will apply to your devices regardless of the manufacturer.
Given the rapidly evolving situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus, we are receiving a high volume of questions about how our products should be cleaned in order to best protect the front-line workers using them in hospitals, warehouses, stores, routes, and more. These inquiries span across the entire portfolio of mobile computers, scanners and printers that we offer … and come from every industry we service today.
As the stream of emails from exhibitors you’ve seen this week indicate, MODEX 2020 finally starts on Monday, March 9th. Advanced Mobile Group will be there of course, and in addition to our booth (#8087) our own Jim Donahue will be presenting on an innovative way to use Voice Technology to halve the time spent on the loading dock. We’ll share a sneak preview of his presentation today and provide everything else you need to know about AMG’s presence next week in Atlanta.
What is the quickest way for a dock manager to load two trucks from one bay, each with twelve pallets, loaded equally with three different products and intended for delivery at two different stops? This can be done faster with Voice Technology. But how?
Ask a facility manager to list the biggest challenges they face, and they almost unanimously include “space” in their top three, if not number one. This is often a symptom of growth outpacing the ability to expand into more space, but is most often the result of space being used ineffectively. In a perfect world, your facility is full of robots, modular racking that adapts to changes quickly, and A WMS with an AI feature that automatically places everything in its optimal space, ensuring every inch is utilized and every unused inch is known and tracked.
As we continue our series of “challenges” that we started four weeks ago and will continue leading up to MODEX, we’re going to keep drilling down and spend a second week on the Eight Forms of Waste as they relate to Inventory. Last week we delved into the three areas of “Talent (Underutilized Resources)”, “Waiting Time” and “Extra Motion” (See “Eight Forms of Waste – Inventory, Part I”). This week we’ll look at four more forms of waste and how they impact your Inventory processes:
- Extra Processing
- Over Production
The Advanced Mobile Group team just finished attending and exhibiting this week at Zebra’s annual SKO in Reno, Nevada and wanted to share our early impressions of what we saw will be a focus in the coming year and how it may impact your priorities.
Last week we continued our drill-down into the common challenges facing manufacturers and distribution businesses by focusing on Inventory (See “Four Inventory Management Challenges for 2020”). This week we’re going to dig down another level within the Inventory space by looking at it through the lens of the Six Sigma’s “Eight Forms of Waste”. Since we like to keep things to a short read of 5-7 minutes, we’ll focus on three of them today specifically in how they relate to the challenges of Inventory management.