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.