While COVID-19 brought many businesses to a halt earlier this year, distribution and fulfillment operations have continued to work around the clock to help meet customer needs throughout the pandemic. In a busy warehouse environment, it can be challenging to practice safe social distancing without impacting productivity or efficiency. A recent study by Honeywell Intelligrated found that more than half of U.S. companies are planning to invest in warehouse automation like robotics to help deliver on customer demands and ensure the health and safety of their workers in light of the coronavirus crisis.
In addition to automation, many companies are now exploring solutions that utilize data to help keep their facilities and employees safe without impacting operations. Here are three ways warehouses can leverage data to operate safely and effectively amid the pandemic:
- Real-Time Location Tracking: Real-time locating system (RTLS) technology can provide accurate tracking of people and assets within a warehouse. A small wearable device can automatically alert the user if they get too close to another individual and can also track interactions to allow contact tracing if needed. RTLS technology also has applications outside of COVID-19, including identifying situations that can increase or decrease productivity.
- Automated Checklists and Task Management Tools: Mobile applications such as SentryCheck utilize automated tools to ensure all facilities comply with their company’s COVID-19 procedures. The easily configurable app can prompt users to perform time-sensitive tasks, record critical inputs, automatically send corrective action alerts and more. It also offers complete data transparency with cloud reporting and dashboards, allowing compliance teams to monitor all facilities from a single view.
- Virtual Warehouse Assessments: If warehouses are having trouble keeping up with customer demands and on-site visits are not an option, a virtual assessment can help companies optimize operations while protecting their people. Utilizing video cameras, software and other tools and tactics, Tompkins consultants can remotely collect the data needed to help companies increase capacity and efficiency without sacrificing safety.
In addition to the solutions above, Tompkins International also offers free digital resources to help businesses overcome operational challenges and meet customer needs during the pandemic and beyond. The COVID-19 Resources hub includes educational and thought leadership content that focuses on the impacts of COVID-19, successful supply chain reinvention strategies and other related topics to help companies flourish in these uncertain times. It also features the handbook “Operating Through COVID-19,” which provides a look at how businesses across a wide variety of industries are responding to the outbreak as well as recommended guidelines for distribution and fulfillment operations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.