Plug the gaps with fast onboarding of supply chain staff and processes
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a dramatic shift in the way all industries work, including warehouses within the supply chain. With each minute wasted equating to a loss of revenue that many companies simply can’t afford in the current climate, productivity must be optimised. On top of this, businesses are mitigating the possibilities of staff becoming unwell and having to find last minute replacements – while facing increased demand as online shopping continues to peak. Therefore, the need for fast onboarding of new or temporary warehouse workers and processes has never been greater. Training new starters can take hours or even days, which is no longer a viable option for many businesses.
The foundation of a warehouse environment is its handheld mobile devices, such as barcode scanners. When combined with visually intuitive mobile applications and an optimised order management system (OMS), these devices are employees’ bread and butter. When implemented effectively, these systems and technologies enable retailers to fulfil orders quickly and correctly, each and every time. For example, by utilising the interaction of connected mobile devices with an OMS, retailers can ensure that products are scanned and recorded at multiple touchpoints while in transit from the warehouse to the customer. By providing enhanced visibility, this enables retailers to spot and resolve any issues (such as a wrong item being shipped or a missed order) before it escalates. Most importantly, connecting all supply chain processes with an OMS equips retailers with reliable and up-to-date stock levels for their websites, and so stops customers purchasing items that aren’t available. However, these devices require a certain amount of training, that can prove a barrier to fast and simple onboarding.
Fortunately, logistics and supply chain companies can take steps to optimise their devices to maximise user experience and minimise training time. With Ivanti Velocity, businesses can migrate away from ruggedized Windows operating systems to a modern, touchscreen Android user experience. Not only will this move make existing workers more productive, but it will enhance onboarding as these devices better emulate the consumer mobile phones and tablets that new joiners will already be used to. Supply chain businesses can also use Ivanti Velocity to personalise the display of their handheld devices so pickers only have access to those buttons they need to do their jobs, removing options that aren’t applicable and minimising confusion. This also includes reformatting the device to accelerate task-screen navigation and enable the workforce to enter data more quickly and accurately, such as by automatically opening the numerical keyboard when it’s required to enter a password or quantity to avoid delays in picking.
Easier said than done
Businesses can further upgrade their productivity with voice-enabled picking technology, such as Ivanti Speakeasy. Voice picking technology can be a hugely valuable tool as pickers can work hands free, meaning they don’t need to constantly stop to consult their devices and errors are minimised – they are simply told how many of which items to pick, and alerted if they make an error. What’s more, there is no need to train Ivanti Speakeasy to recognise unique accents or dialects – users can simply pick up their existing device and get to work with minimal onboarding time. Dorman Products, a supplier of automotive replacement parts, was able to reduce training time from several hours to only 15 minutes with the introduction of Ivanti Speakeasy.
The supply chain industry is set to face a challenging time during the rest of this year and beyond. As consumer confidence increases and consumers return to work, they will have more disposable income and demand will increase. Supply chain businesses must therefore be prepared to onboard new employees quickly and efficiency, and have the tools in place for these employees to be as productive as possible from day one.