Achieving Actionable Insights in the Distribution Centre

The problem is that information overload can block companies from efficiently and effectively finding the right data, and then turning that information into useable, ‘actionable insights’ – information points which can be acted upon – and that drive their businesses to success. With terabytes of data being generated by companies – and with traditional infrastructures incapable of processing and mining that data in an effective manner – attempting to get answers to specific questions can be frustrating at best.

Big Data seems to be a relatively recent term in the supply chain context, however for some time large amounts of data have existed within the systems of record in the supply chain: ERP, WMS, TMS and more. Having access to this data in a way that supports real-time visibility in actionable formats, has posed a challenge for many supply chain operators. However, through the combination of supply chain software systems with AIDC technologies, supply chain operators have been able to achieve better use of this data in real time to provide enhanced levels of visibility.

Due to the availability of data in real time, supply chain managers can now answer important questions such as:

  • is peak performance being achieved and maintained?
  • what challenges are slowing operators down?
  • what are the causes of inefficiency?

These insights are allowing supply chain managers to take pre-emptive actions to optimise their operations. Companies that aren’t using the wealth of data available to them are not taking full advantage of their investments, and are failing to achieve faster delivery for their customers and reduced operational costs for their business.

Operational Acuity™

Not all data is created equal. Being able to identify the data that will provide actionable insights is imperative to unlocking greater business potential. The good news is that companies that are drowning in information and scrambling to keep up with demand, have a powerful tool at their disposal.

Honeywell’s Operational Acuity™ Solution helps distribution centres (DCs) capture and further analyse operational data to identify opportunities that improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and increase safety compliance. The solution is a new suite of software designed to identify and mine veins of data, and to provide actionable recommendations to help supply chain managers achieve new levels of performance and system value. Operational Acuity™ drives optimised performance using data aggregation and modelling techniques, and empowers management with intuitive actionable analytic capabilities.

For their picking operations, for instance, DC managers are often tasked with reducing employee travel time as much as possible. This is particularly relevant in the omni-channel distribution environment where an operator who has to cover extra ground to get to a particular SKU – only to find that it’s out of stock – could mean the difference between an on-time order and a late shipment. Not only is the distance travelled unsatisfactory, but the inventory system is also incorrect. Using Operational Acuity™, companies can identify exactly what those operational inefficiencies are costing them, and make intelligent decisions to mitigate the problems. Armed with better insight, supply chain operators can make far more informed decisions about their operation, ultimately leading to a leaner and more cost-effective business.

How does Operational Acuity™ work with Voice technology?

Operational Acuity™ allows DCs to take advantage of the huge amount of data Honeywell Vocollect™ voice solutions are capable of collecting. Information is first collected by the Voice technology, sent via a supply chain operator’s back-end system of record, then processed by an analytics engine, before being made available on the Operational Acuity™ portal. Supply chain managers can then process and analyse what the insights mean, and how they can be actioned to improve processes within the warehouse.

Operational Acuity™ leverages Honeywell Vocollect™ voice technology and uses data collection, aggregation and predictive modelling techniques to produce recommendations that supply chain and logistics leaders can use to achieve new levels of performance and value.

For example, when workers go to the wrong location to perform a task, it causes a “ripple effect” across the supply chain. Not only is this inefficient, but it is a huge contributor to many operator-based errors. Operational Acuity’s™ location error analysis provides real data that helps managers better understand which workers are having location accuracy issues, as well as quantifying potential time savings. This provides management and supervisors with a better way to correct location errors, and provide voice-based dialogue training for workers who need to improve their performance.

Additionally, an operator who has been using a voice solution for six months, for example, may be identified as needing more training to avoid recognised inefficient behaviour such as downtime, confusion, and staring at the screen – all of which can hamper productivity. Through benchmarking and understanding the points at which operators are less familiar with the company’s systems, DC managers can identify and mitigate potential productivity problems before they become real issues.

The business case for Operational Acuity™

By analysing data and worker performance, supply chains are now in a position to deliver process improvements that have a direct impact on the bottom line. It also helps them reduce their total cost of ownership by finding new ways to leverage their existing technology investments.

For more information about Operational Acuity™ please contact Dematic today.


Subscribe

Stay up-to-date with case studies, technology, and business news by subscribing to our Email newsletter, What’s New in Logistics.

Subscribe to the Dematic newsletter