(Industrial Sage video interview summary)
Mark Wheeler, Director of Supply Chain Solutions at Zebra Technologies, was interviewed by Industrial Sage from the floor at Modex about how warehouse operations are connecting the physical and digital worlds to speed fulfillment. Here are some highlights of what they discussed.
Labor challenges, demand fluctuations, supply shortages and ongoing uncertainty put immense pressure on all stakeholders in the supply chain. At the same time, consumers’ appetite for online shopping continues to grow, and their expectations for the right product at the right price, delivered right now, remain high. In the once-humble warehouse, market realities are compounded by the growing role these operations are now expected to play in the customer experience, driving urgency around the need for more flexible, agile and productive operations. Meeting those needs requires the right combination of people and technology so that, from the dock to the shelf to the shipping area, the accurate and speedy movement of goods is possible.
Zebra’s integrated fulfillment solution dynamically optimizes the picking process and coordinates tasks between people and autonomous mobile robots (AMR) so they can work together to complete orders quickly and accurately. The solution overcomes the inherent variability in the warehouse by integrating real-time information on product location. People are guided to the item and slot location by an LED light on the robot.
With Zebra, warehouse workers spend:
- 10% of their time travelling to the location of the item (down from 50% of their time)
- 0% of their time searching for the item (down from 20% of their time)
- 90% of their time picking the item (up from 15% of their time)
Fixing picking productivity gets consumers what they want, when they want it, lowers costs and improves working conditions for warehouse workers.