Distribution centres – at the heart of everything

Bar Coding

Distribution centres – at the heart of everything

Consumers get cold feet

It is probably too early to definitively state how the events of 2020 have changed consumer behaviour, and whether these changes will be permanent. However, it’s already clear that shoppers are eschewing visiting stores, and rather shopping online (whether from ecommerce sites, or by ordering goods from the online versions of brick and mortar retailers).

Due to lockdown restrictions, many more people are working from home, and also avoiding restaurants, even where these are open. That means the vast majority of meals are now eaten at home – spend on eating out has been moved over to grocery shopping.

The impact on supply chains

This has put additional strain on the supply chain for essential goods, and especially fresh food. Additional cold storage capacity has been required, and this form of storage presents unique operational challenges.

At the same time, all distribution centre operators have had to adjust to new ways of working – in particular, the introduction and enforcement of social distancing rules. The combination of very low temperatures and the need to reduce the number of people working in any given space has placed an increased emphasis on efficiency: fewer employees achieving more, in less time.

Life in the freezer

Cold storage conditions can impact on the productivity of workers, and exert extra demands on their equipment. In developing the new CK65 Cold Storage Model, Honeywell has taken all these factors into account.

This mobile computer is designed for tough conditions: it has no moving parts (reducing the maintenance burden) and is ergonomically designed for ease of use by workers wearing gloves and other PPE. It can even withstand a 3m drop onto a concrete floor, further boosting its suitability for use in challenging environments.

Distances matter

The ability to scan bar codes at distances of over 9m has the potential to make a radical difference to cold storage distribution centre operations. Using the Honeywell CK65 Cold Storage Model, a single team member can scan multiple items from a single location, and without venturing too far into the cold storage unit.

This offers improvements in operator productivity and comfort – as well as safety, given that now fewer people are needed to accomplish the same tasks.

Productivity enhancements support social distancing

In the post-coronavirus world, business operations are all about staying in touch (with suppliers and consumers) whilst reducing physical contact with both other people and objects that could potentially transmit the virus.

Honeywell’s own research indicates their CK65 mobile computer enables more effective order-picking, while its one-charge, three-shift battery capacity means fewer charging occasions – so the mobile computer will pass through fewer hands (and potentially need sterilising less often).

Rugged devices, software

Of course, hardware is only half the story – and it is the system that the CK65 runs on that really makes the difference. Honeywell’s Mobility Edge OS excels in terms of connectivity, making captured data much easier to share instantly and securely.

Again, this saves time by ensuring that all operators have access to the most up to date information, no matter where they are in the logistics lifecycle. Timeous information sharing of course enables more effective decision making, cost-savings and seamless supply chains.

As mentioned, it is impossible to know yet how the pandemic will run its course, but we can already see that effective supply chain management – driven by modern technology – will be a key component of how economic systems respond.

To learn more about Honeywell mobile computers, bar coding and Auto ID solutions, please visit https://kemtek.co.za/prod_brand/honeywell/ , contact Hendrik Booysens at hendrikb@kemtek.co.za or on +27 (0)83 415 1445.