Digitally Transform Warehouse Operations

Warehouse pain points, trends and the solutions needed for positive change

Outdated maintenance techniques and the supply chain crunch that warehouse and distribution center’s have been facing over the past couple of years have led to a desperate need for technology solutions that can help operations within all four walls of a warehouse.  In order to digitally transform warehouse operations, leaders need to reinvent the way they operate and utilize software solutions that can help optimize throughput by targeting the most common pain points they face and keeping up with the latest trends today.

Common Pain Points Effecting Warehouses

The number one most common pain point that operations managers face today is unplanned downtime in their warehouse and distribution centers. Post-COVID, the high demand on eCommerce retailers was unexpected and supply chains are struggling to keep up. Because of this, many distribution centers are running much faster with longer shifts, leaving scheduled maintenance on systems incomplete or forgotten about. As a result, equipment parts are failing as they are difficult to maintain and now, more difficult to procure, which is leading to longer critical downtime that can cost thousands of dollars in loss and maintenance repair.

Another common pain point operations managers are facing is the use of too many outdated legacy processes. Managers can spend hours collecting data and entering data manually into spreadsheets and systems, which is time consuming and can lead to user error. With the high demand in today’s day and age, automating these processes can save tremendously on critical managerial time.

Additionally, trying to optimize the cost of shipping and maintaining the case throughput throughout the warehouse with incredibly high demand is challenging without digital advances and automation. Without operating optimally, operations managers are coming across definitive issues such as not having read rate continuously monitored, repetitive jams in various different areas of the building or not finding the root cause to some of these major issues – all causing cost issues and slower productivity.

How Industry Trends are Impacting Operations

COVID-19 has changed the way the industry has reacted from a trends perspective. The pandemic has caused tremendous growth, alongside other current problems happening today such as climate change and supply chain issues. In terms of sector growth, grocery and micro-warehouses are becoming more local to the buyer which will continue to trend upwards due to demand of the buyer for same day shipping and perishables with high volume household items. This fulfillment landscape will continuously grow towards cities and urban environments to help keep up with the high demand buyers are requesting and now expecting.

And, as the current labor force is starting to retire, distribution centers are having a difficult time finding, hiring and retaining labor talent which is obliging workers to be more technology savvy. The labor scarcity is forcing employees to change their mindset and use a bunch of variables and assistive devices to keep up with demand. On top of that, millennials are replacing a lot of the more experienced operations and maintenance manager roles because of their tech savvy experience. They will enter into distribution with the expectation to utilize software to help run operations efficiently.

“Our warehouse customers are going to be more open to embrace automation, robotics, warehouse management systems, variable technologies, blockchain, IoT, the new technologies.” – Honeywell Connected Warehouse

Technology Solutions that Deliver

Due to the supply chain crunch we have been facing over the past couple of years, distribution centers are being forced to squeeze more out of what they currently have. Hardware vendors that are supplying these distribution centers have longer supply chain lead times which is forcing these centers to squeeze more out of their legacy products. There is also a current lack of standardized product on how these organizations maintain and run their operations. There is not an accurate system of record to a lot of the operational data and operations managers are typically using Excel spreadsheets or sending emails to leadership to inform them about various metrics around packages that were shipped, deadlines and throughput goals. By adopting more and better technology, this issue can be greatly mitigated.

With Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse, the SaaS (Software as a Service) solution helps create a system of record for operations from the operational perspective. The platform offers near-real-time collaboration across operations and maintenance teams and consolidates metrics, actionable alerting and recommendations to help distribution center leaders optimize throughput. By being able to draw insights from decisions made in the past, operational leaders can then see how these decisions are going to impact their future.      

Honeywell has taken their expertise around various operations and combined IT and OT data from various disparate systems to help provide warehouse leaders with intelligent data-driven insights and recommendations to best optimize machines, labor and inventory. Leaders are able to meet their entire warehouse goals, ultimately gaining warehouse control tower vision.

“We know warehouse, we know warehouse automation, we know warehouse operations. And that is what we have done with our latest SaaS based connected warehouse control tower solution.” – Honeywell Connected Warehouse

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