2022 – A Year To Get Lean And Agile

Every January there’s a gym spike where people pledge to lose weight and get fitter. As resolutions go, they’re good ones, which could equally be applied to business operations. Indeed, Industry 4.0 is going to rely, in no small part, on leaner, more agile operating models.

Earlier this year, McKinsey* released a report on Operations Practice in which it outlined three objectives one of which was ‘delivering the impact’. It claimed business leaders shouldn’t be choosing between lean management or being agile. It argued the right answer may be both as they complement each other and share similar foundational objectives like delivering value efficiently for customers, and discovering better ways of working.

If world events like Covid-19, climate change, gas prices, worker shortages and supply chain interruptions have taught us anything it’s that we need to digitise operations to help keep businesses going even in volatile conditions.

So, how ‘fit’ is your operation, does it need to get leaner and more agile in 2022?

Over three-quarters (77%†) of organisations recognise they need to modernise their warehouse operations but admit to being slow in implementing new devices and technology. We understand the reticence of change when there’s much at stake but taking a phased approach to increasing operational visibility enables you to migrate, upgrade or innovate in your own time rather than risk upending operations.

Zebra advocates (1) a 5-phase framework to:

Phase 1: gain basic control of business operations

Phase 2: optimise use of mobility

Phase 3: target use of real-time visibility

Phase 4: orchestrate widespread use of real-time visibility

Phase 5: achieve predictive and adaptive operations

A recent report(2) claims 38% of UK respondents have no supply chain visibility solutions to support such processes as yard management. And yet the technology is there, with solutions like Zebra’s MotionWorksâ Yard able to automate most trailer moves, increase throughput without increasing space and reduce switcher expenses. It orchestrates and communicates the right dock moves in conjunction with warehouse activities.

There’s no aspect of supply chain operations that wouldn’t benefit from an incremental approach to modernisation. We’re just heading into the busiest season on the retail calendar, Christmas, which’ll be closely followed by ‘Take back Tuesday’ when unwanted gifts are returned!

Targeted use of RFID could really digitise your returns process and give you full visibility of useable returns to fulfil more orders. Mobile printers can be used to print barcode labels and encode RFID tags while handhelds could locate the items long before they reach the shelf thus expediting fulfilment.

Extended range scanners enable forklift truck drivers to scan more per shift from a distance. It sounds like a small thing but it makes you more productive and reduces inefficiencies that cost you money. Getting off their forklift 40 times a day might keep drivers fit and eliminate need for a gym membership but it’s doing nothing for your ‘waste’ line so make 2022 a year to get lean and agile in your warehouse.

As usual, we shall be providing support throughout Christmas and I’d just like to pay tribute to all those manufacturers, logistics operators and retailers who have worked so hard in yet another very challenging year and wish everyone season’s greetings.

Explore Zebra Warehousing Solutions

Renovotec is the UK’s fastest growing provider of rugged mobile hardware; as well as delivering end to end managed & consultancy services, robotic solutions wireless networking, enterprise mobility, mobile data capture, printing and hardware rentals solutions. With over 25 years of industry experience, Renovotec supports customers across multiple industry verticals – including warehousing, transport & logistics, manufacturing and field mobility.

*Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/business%20functions/operations/our%20insights/digital%20service%20excellence/digital-service-excellence–scaling-the-next-generation-operating-model.pdf

† Source: Zebra Warehousing Vision Study

1 Source: Zebra Ease Your Modernization Journey

2 Source: State of the European Supply Chain, Reuters Events and FourKites

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