Without a doubt, 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for warehouse managers. When major disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic occur, companies often struggle to keep up – and this year, many businesses faced feast or famine on the inbound and/or outbound operations. Some had to adjust their supply chains because of raw material shortages, while others, such as those that serve restaurant chains, ended up with extra product and fewer customers to take it off their hands.
Luckily, many supply chains are on the rebound, but the pandemic’s first takeaway is clear: supply chain managers must put a plan in place to survive through trying times. Our most recent Körber Master Class addressed how supply chain professionals, already trying to navigate day-to-day supply chain complexity, can mitigate unexpected disasters through best practices and innovative thinking.
A brief recap of each Master Class session follows, but if you’d like to dive into the webinars – or even revisit them – all five 30-minute sessions are available on the Disruption Mitigation homepage.
Session #1 – Building a resilient supply chain
According to Geraint John, VP Analyst at Gartner, most supply chain leaders recognize that building resiliency is crucial in today’s current environment. However, extensive measures such as alternative factories, dual sourcing and additional safety stock are in stark contrast to the philosophy of lean supply chain operations followed by many businesses.
By building a more resilient supply chain, organizations are better equipped to meet consumer expectations, manage compliance and drive greater efficiency – which in turn minimizes risk. Strategies for building a resilient supply chain include multi-sourcing, nearshoring, diversifying manufacturing networks and creating ecosystem partnerships.
Session #2 – Post-COVID supply chains: lessons learned
The COVID-19 pandemic showed companies that constructing a supply chain that only meets day-to-day demand is dangerous. Disruptions will occur, and having a strategy in place to pivot and adapt to the situation is critical to business continuity. Take, for example, specialty coffee roaster and retailer Peet’s Coffee. As the pandemic began, the business went from offering one-pound bags of coffee to five-pound bags of coffee. It realized shoppers didn’t want to go to the grocery store as often and, to meet those concerns, it had shelves stocked with larger bags of its coffee.
Peet’s Coffee demonstrated the benefits of understanding how the factors causing your supply chain disruption are also impacting your customers – and finding a way to meet their needs while solving your own complexities. Adaptability is the key to success.
Session #3 – Augmenting the workforce with AMR
Today’s supply chain professionals are looking for technologies that help their employees become quicker and more efficient at their jobs. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are rising to the challenge.
AMRs enhance worker performance through:
- Efficiency by improving operational throughput to drive operational excellence;
- Improved labor management by reducing reliance on aisle pickers and decreasing wasted movements;
- Scalability, flexibility and adaptability by increasing capacity and/or supporting new locations in the warehouse with the same system; and
- Increased quality by reducing errors and improving worker accuracy.
Session #4 – Post-COVID safety measures for employees
The combination of warehouse technology and COVID-19 prevention measures – such as face masks, social distancing and continual sanitization of equipment and high-traffic areas – will make warehouses much safer places to work.
For instance, AMRs minimize worker interaction by allowing users to stay in one picking area and have the bots come to them. And because voice technology provides hands-free data validation and collection, product handling is minimized and potential Coronavirus spread caused by side conversations is less likely.
Warehouses must promote a culture of safety and cleanliness that includes signage reminding people to wash hands, use hand sanitizer and stay home when they aren’t feeling well.
Disruption Mitigation is the sixth installment of our Master Class Series – and you can revisit any session you’ve missed. Check them out at the links below; collateral downloads for each session can be found by selecting the “Watch on Demand” button.