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.
With the onset of winter in the midst of an Ecommerce boom and the public hearing news about vaccines requiring a super-cold environment as low as -80 degrees Fahrenheit, many facilities are learning for the first time the importance of temperature in the printing, application, and storage of labels.
If your products will get cold or be exposed to extreme temperatures, it’s vital that you choose the right label materials, adhesives, and printing processes for your situation. Not planning properly in this regard can lead to label failure and damage to your brand's reputation.
2020, for all its faults, is the year that almost every company and business “decided” to finally jump into Ecommerce. This includes not only selling online directly to end users, but the various means of getting the product into their hands including in-store fulfillment. While Retailers’ online sites in 2018 totaled sales over $400 billion, they will far exceed that in 2020 and are expected to grow to over $700 billion in 2020, with some of the fastest growth coming in food and beverage (23.4% - 58.5%) and health and beauty increasing from 16.6% to 32.4%. (source: eMarketer.com). That pace along with the expected drop in total brick-and-mortar sales means Ecommerce will make up over 14% of total retail sales in 2020.
While the term “social distancing” is the common parlance we all use and hear every day during the pandemic, the CDC also uses “physical distancing” with the same definition – “keeping a safe space – currently defined as at least 6 feet – between individuals from different households.” Given our focus is always on the workplace, we’ve been using “physical distancing” and will continue to do so. But how do you enforce it at the workplace? If there has been one thing that the recent spikes and the difficulty of the last seven months have proved is that the discipline required to eliminate workplace disruptions has been difficult to maintain on a voluntary basis.