Thrive - Not Just Survive - With 9 Operational Best Practices

Thrive - Not Just Survive - With 9 Operational Best Practices

Omnichannel distribution and fulfillment (D&F) centers have been forced to make major adjustments. From the explosion of e-commerce to implementing new workplace safety measures, most DCs have had their operations upended.

Some retailers, however, did more than just survive the last 18 months. Some of them, have better positioned themselves to handle uncertainty. By adopting some of these operational best practices for modern fulfillment operations, your company can likewise improve its ability to not just survive but thrive.

1. Support technicians with remote resources.

In today’s high-demand, fast-paced environments, any material handling equipment (MHE) downtime can significantly impair overall DC performance. Yet it’s not always possible to bring in outside technicians to resolve issues. Consider remote video-enablement solutions like Honeywell Intelligrated’s TechSight to allow your team real-time collaboration with experienced support experts who will provide step-by-step instructions for fast issue resolution.

2. Keep staff properly trained.

Just because in-person training may be on hold temporarily doesn’t mean your maintenance and operations (M&O) teams must stop building their essential skills. Flexible distance-learning systems can be tailored for various skill levels and allow courses to be completed at a preferred pace.

3. Optimize workforce productivity.

With today’s increased competition for labor, resourcing issues are even more acute. Meanwhile, many companies are locked in a perpetual state of peak productivity to meet demand, typically requiring as much as 20% overstaffing. Labor management software (LMS), such as Honeywell Intelligrated’s Momentum Labor drives labor productivity and cost optimization through tools that incentivize employee engagement, lower attrition rates, shorten fulfillment times, reduce labor spend, and enable predictive planning.

4. Empower your workforce with mobility tools.

Voice-directed technologies can not only enhance the safety of your workforce, but also increase employee productivity and accuracy. In omnichannel e-fulfillment, voice-directed workflows can help retailers establish a seamless experience for customers. Combined with analytics software, voice technology provides advanced data collection, automated documentation and workplace insights to help optimize workforce productivity.

5. Reduce reliance on manual labor.

As it is becoming harder to fill warehouse jobs, retailers are looking to robotics as DC throughput and productivity needs outpace the limitations of manual labor. Honeywell Intelligrated’s robotic solutions can augment an existing workforce and meet a variety of fulfillment demands, such as automated palletizing/depalletizing, articulated arm picking, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

6. Shorten the fulfillment distance to customers.

To improve delivery time frames and shorten the distance between DCs and customers, micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) can improve delivery logistics. Highly automated and higher-density, small-footprint MFCs can be deployed to augment traditional DC operations, used in dark stores or warehouses, or leveraged in retail stores.

7. Streamline automation with robust, unified software.

The software supporting warehouse equipment historically has served very limited functions and created disconnected islands of automation with challenging upgrade and obsolescence cycles. Modern software, such as Honeywell Intelligrated’s Momentum warehouse execution system (WES), provides a single, unified platform that enables real-time advanced automation in complex DC environments.

8. Limit downtime with predictive maintenance.

DCs equipped with connected, internet of things (IoT) infrastructures can leverage the power of operational data to drive performance and transition to predictive maintenance (PM) programs. With Enterprise Performance Management software-as-a-service (SaaS) from Honeywell Forge supporting a connected infrastructure, potential system failures can be detected before they occur.

9. Validate prior to making changes with simulation.

D&F operators leveraging the predictive powers of virtual simulation and emulation can run and compare countless “what-if” scenarios in-house to achieve higher productivity goals, decrease installation costs, and meet the challenges of the future. eSim, a unique offering within Momentum WES, creates a digital replica of existing equipment and software for validating changes, assessing variable inventory and throughput volumes, and determining the impact of changes to routing and staffing, equipment breakdowns, and more.

To help you lay a foundation for future success, we’ve developed a white paper that further explores your operational options. Connect with Honeywell Intelligrated to create a workplace where your employees thrive, your operations meet ever-increasing productivity targets, and your company adapts to an unpredictable future.

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