Honeywell Helps Distribution Centers Meet New Social Distancing and Communications Challenges  

During the current health crisis, distribution centers (DCs) and warehouses are keeping the supply chain vibrant and moving for retailers, manufacturers and end users. DCs are experiencing challenges that are requiring them to innovate, adapt and improve operations. Among the many challenges DCs face include:

  • Increased e-commerce traffic. DCs are working near or exceeding peak capacity levels of e-commerce orders. They are focused on how to process more packages with the same size (or smaller) workforce.
  • Rethinking the DC floor and operations. DCs will be modifying workflows and workstations to make sure they align with new safety protocols and enhance employee safety. They need to keep in mind how to make these changes yet still maintain operational focuses on accuracy, speed and productivity. There is a restructuring of how employees move in the DC to adhere to social distancing norms such as reduced seating in break areas/cafeterias and pattern flows into a building’s common areas. Social distancing protocols are being enforced in traditional warehouse workflows such as inventory counting, order picking and cold storage environments.
  • Fewer workers per shift. Because of the new focus on safety protocols, DCs have transitioned to staggered or split shifts. Work team sizes have been reduced to comply with social distancing. With fewer staff on-site, team members need to be cross-trained in DC workflows.
  • Improved cleaning procedures. To comply with safety protocols and governmental guidance, DCs are implementing new procedures that call for cleaning during and between shifts with increased focuses on workstations, handrails, desks, equipment, lifts and anything that is frequently touched by workers. Special attention is given to make areas safer and contact-less, such as break rooms, restrooms and anywhere where workers gather. Some DCs are implementing single use assignment of mobile devices and lift equipment to specific users per shift or per day to minimize the spread of infection.

These changes are opportunities for DCs to re-evaluate internal processes and procedures and develop steps that will enable them to sustain growth and create safer and healthier workplaces. They will require very specific solutions that address cleaning procedures and device chain of custody to maintain their operations and increase productivity.

Honeywell Distribution Center Solutions

Honeywell understands the shifts occurring due to DC operational demands. In response, we have launched a comprehensive effort to quickly develop solutions that address our customers’ needs with device and software innovation, applying technological advances in new ways and leveraging our global partner network.

Honeywell has been working closely with our customers around the globe to understand their specific needs for:

  • Adhering to new safety and health protocols
  • Protecting workers when performing workflow responsibilities
  • Bridging technological gaps needed for safer work environments

These efforts represent more than half a billion workers in industries such as retail, health care, warehouse/DCs, and transportation and logistics.

Honeywell is committed to helping people return to their traditional work environments by delivering solutions that address their most current challenges. These solutions will help to address social distancing and new cleaning procedures, while maintaining a focus on employees’ productivity — without compromising accuracy and speed. Our commitment is to work with you and your DC to help you operate within the ‘new normal’. These solutions include:

Software to Address Worker Health and Safety. Honeywell has expanded the feature set of our Operational Intelligence technology to include the ability to support the needs of a mobile workforce.

Operational Intelligence software is a remote asset management platform that helps DCs keep their mobile-equipped employees productive, while helping them respond to local site health and safety compliance requirements. New health crisis response features give employees control to act quickly, increasing productivity and decreasing device downtime, while reducing the frequency of contacts or touches. Its features include the following:

  • Social Distancing Proximity Detection allows organizations to prioritize and monitor social distancing practices. The feature monitors the proximity between Honeywell devices and logs alerts, allowing frontline workers to promote social distancing and adhere to safety guidelines.
  • Check-out/in assigns unique devices or assets to a specific user, creating a chain of custody that provides managers device tracing data. This will give real-time visibility to each device’s location throughout the DC, thereby eliminating the additional costs and hassles of ‘devices that go missing’.
  • Device Cleaning Management gives you the ability to set up configurable cleaning protocols for each asset. Configurations can be per employee on an hourly, daily or in-between shift basis. Each cleaning event will be logged with the user, time and date for reporting. In addition, the feature can send alerts instructing workers to clean other assets and areas of the worksite.
  • Remote Control and Remote Wipe give IT administrators the ability to quickly take control of a device in any location to investigate and fix issues remotely and digitally wipe devices to original factory settings, allowing them to maintain social distances.

Honeywell Smart Talk for DC Communications. Honeywell Smart Talk is a true voice-enabled unified workforce communications application for the DC environment that addresses the problem of fragmented communications. You receive enterprise-grade security for voice calling, text and media messaging, and user presence. Smart Talk can be added to Honeywell CT40, CT60 or CK65 mobile computers or to many types of mobile devices which workers already carry. Device-enabled employees are always connected, eliminating the need for team or huddle meetings, thus helping to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

With Smart Talk, operators can enable smarter communications for their entire team from just a single mobile device.

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