The Power of Music in Supply Chain

Conventional wisdom dictates that a picture is worth a thousand words and stories are worth a thousand pictures. I believe that…and I use stories in my presentation regularly. Of course, picking the right story is critical to making the biggest impact. Sometimes, though, I have an audience that speaks a completely different language. How do you communicate to inspire then? I think the answer is music. My daughter has been singing since she was five,…

Image Enable Your Supply Chain, Block Chain Enable Your Images

Block chain has great potential to solve problems and address supply chain problems. Personally, the area that excites me most is track and trace—especially when you consider the possibility of taking these capabilities to the next level. Let us take a step back and look at the current supply chain processes and their evolution. Packing slip, paper ASN Advance Shipment Notices (ASNs) are sent in advance to let the receiver know what products or deliveries…

Consumerization May Put Wearables in the Warehouse

(Image Courtesy: Honeywell) For some supply chain and logistics functions, rugged wearable computers can be a real boon. At the same time, the cost of managing these devices can be daunting. Too often, rugged wearable computers cost 5x to 10x the cost of consumer electronic devices with one-third features. Are you looking to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) on these rugged devices? If yes, you are not alone. What is a rugged wearable…

Drones in Distribution Centers: Has the Time Arrived?

While there are many companies working on drone deliveries, it might be relatively easier to deploy drones in the distribution centers and get some real return on investment (ROI). Although drone delivery seems very interesting, we are pretty far from that becoming a reality. Before delivery drones fill the skies, safety concerns need to be addressed. First, everyone needs to feel comfortable with the concept of an autonomous flying machine flying in the near vicinity….

Drones in Distribution: Counting Inventory

We can all imagine drones moving boxes in the distribution center. However, there are a couple of reasons that make it difficult to move boxes today. That being said, another scenario offers even a more compelling advantage: inventory control. Of course, a few technological hurdles need to be overcome for this idea to be really feasible. Today, the payload for a drone is limited. To increase the payload, the drones need more motors and propellers,…

Top 5 Supply Chain Headaches Created by Retail

I still remember the very first time I saw this thing called the Internet. It was July 1997 and I got an after-hours glimpse at the German multinational company where I worked. To the music of a vacuum cleaner wielded by cleaning staff, I clicked on the new-fangled Netscape Browser, typed a request into something called altavista.com and saw my first website: Mercedes Benz. My dream was to buy a Mercedes Benz E220D someday—and I wanted to…

Tracking the Evolution of Distribution Center Tech

In the distribution center (DC), technology has taken over many manually intensive, paper-based processes. That progression is fascinating.  Technology is being leveraged to create superior processes and connect workers seamlessly throughout the distribution center. Early in 2000, I visited a Detroit-area DC that based its efficiency on highly disciplined paper-based processes, ruled by the iron fist of the DC manager. This tough woman had more than 30 years of experience in the organization, which had…

Simulation Tools Optimize Processes & Take Surprises Out of WMS Deployments

I learned a few things when I spent one winter in a distribution center in Canada.  I learned what it was like to arrive for work in the dark and leave in the dark. I learned about the extra connector in Canadian cars that would allow the car to be plugged in to heat the engine block so the car would still start in sub-zero weather. I learned about how these winter warriors would get…

Voice Evolves the Efficiency of the Warehouse

The first time I was confronted with the idea of voice picking, I was intrigued. This was quite a long time ago, but when I saw the design spec I sat down with the consultant who was designing the system to learn more. I asked him, “Why the heck would a user want to talk to the computer.” His response: “Because functions executed using voice are much more efficient.” Clearly, technology evolves, and that’s a good…

Data Collection Technology Evolves for Distribution Centers

In the warehouse, excellent data collection processes are critical to accurate inventory counts in real time. By knowing what’s in the warehouse, organizations can fulfil orders quickly, avoid shortages, reduce mispicks, and deliver the highest levels of customer service. In the beginning, pen and paper was the only method for data collection. Distribution center (DC) managers created processes, trained personnel, and handed them pads of paper to collect warehouse data. Most of the picking was…