St. Onge Company’s Norm Saenz and Howard Turner were quoted in a recent Logistics Management article about the 2023 Technology Roundtable. They discussed the current state of automation adoption, technology trends, lessons from the pandemic, and the benefits of successful software implementations. Use the link below to read the full article!
Adoption of automation has strong momentum and is where many are turning to deal with the labor market concerns. The battle is with the rising cost of automation and lead times for realizing change. What management should also consider is the wide-range of productivity improvements within a conventional design.
Either during the lead time, or the initial evaluation of automation, management should evaluate: the labor productivity gains from improved processes; WMS functionality; order/wave management; product slotting; layout/material flow; equipment changes/maintenance; labor management; and training.
Ideally, there could be more than a 30% reduction in your labor requirements with no-cost/low-cost solutions that can be implemented within a few months.
When you look inside a typical distribution center, you still predominately see infrastructure that’s ill prepared to pivot to a customer-service-centric, e-commerce model. Broadly speaking, warehouses and DCs were not designed for customer service—they were designed for fulfilling stores. Stores were designed for customer service.
What does a customer-service-centric model mean in terms of warehouse operations? Well customers want real-rime visibility of available inventory. They want clear expectations set for delivery. They want one-day and two-day delivery. They want real-time updates throughout the fulfillment process.
Fulfilling these orders require systems capable of efficiently processing and planning large volumes of smaller orders. You need automation to augment warehouse labor to effectively fulfill these orders, and you need properly defined and integrated systems to collect and disseminate the data needed to support visibility and customer service requirements.
Companies generally know what needs to be done. Determining and executing a strategy to make this pivot
are the primary challenges.
Click here to read the article on the Logistics Management site!