2015 was a growth year for many, but while growth is up, prices remain flat. So, volumes are up, acquisitions are up and mix is up. The question is – How do you get or keep your margins up amidst all these changes?
In 2015, Heartland saw a few real answers to the challenges we’re facing in warehouse and distribution. If you haven’t deployed some of these strategies or solutions, consider them as part of your 2016 approach to get performance to the next level:
- Voice Picking Solutions Driving a 6-month Break Even – In 2010 or 2011, voice was an innovation. Today, companies like Vocollect are driving hard benefits, even for the “well run” facilities. As a quick example, consider the major food distributor who improved forklift productivity by 24%, reduced training time by 66% and reduced clerical and support staff by 37%.
- Simple Software Changes Driving 14% Productivity – Making the transition from old style terminal emulation isn’t worth the expense of all the software upgrades and all new equipment, right? Well… not exactly. Zebra’s new All-Touch Terminal Emulation is driving measurable productivity increases of 10% to 14% at a fraction of more expensive approaches. No coding required, and benefits begin to accrue in 3 months or less.
- Wi-Fi in Warehouse is Still Killing Productivity – Despite all the best intentions, IT departments struggle to keep pace with the changing configuration and unique challenges of highly mobile workers and spaces filled with shifting, sometimes, dense or heavy floor to ceiling materials. Add to that refrigerated environments, and you’ve got a recipe for connectivity problems and up to 10% dips in productivity. In one mid-sized warehouse, we found that 12 workers lost an average of 4-8 hours of productivity every week due to signal drops and working around warehouse and yard dead zones. That’s a full work week!
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be highlighting some interesting approaches that have led to real benefits… even for market leaders. Let’s roll up our sleeves, get busy leveraging lessons learned in 2015 and drive higher profits AND higher service levels in 2016.