Commentary on Black Friday from Darrel Williams, Regional Director Northern Europe & South Africa, Honeywell Sensing & Productivity Solutions.
“Our recent distribution centre survey found that UK retailers face an average bill of £260,000 per site per year just as a result of picking errors in the warehouse. The total cost of such mistakes is likely to be amplified at peak times like Black Friday and through the ongoing period of peak demand leading up to Christmas, as increased footfall and web traffic puts additional pressure on backroom processes and scrutiny on retailers is at its most intense. The reputational impact of getting it wrong at this time of year can be especially severe – particularly if, as happened to some retailers in 2014, deliveries fail to make it to customers before Christmas at all.”
“Retailers are increasingly looking to technology to help them cope with demand more accurately and efficiently. Industrial voice technology, for instance – using wireless headsets to direct workers around the warehouse and guide them through picking and packing tasks – can increase productivity by up to 30 per cent and enable picking accuracy rates of up to 99.99 per cent.”
“The impact of productivity-boosting technologies like this will be especially keenly felt in the build-up to Christmas, when retailers have to quickly bring seasonal workers up to speed on their processes. Multilingual software can also boost productivity in a workplace where as many as a quarter of workers are not native English speakers, according to our data.”
“Another factor that is particularly important for retailers on Black Friday is the ability to move inventory and reassign warehouse staff to different functions on-the-fly as demand dictates, without disrupting processes and overall efficiency. Voice-directed work makes implementing this kind of flexibility much more straightforward.”
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