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Not a Fan of Fulfillment Surprises? Connect Your Assets

Not a Fan of Fulfillment Surprises? Connect Your Assets

   William Leet

Not a Fan of Fulfillment Surprises? Connect Your Assets

Businesses are facing an unprecedented change in the demands and challenges of today’s e-commerce explosion. Growth trends, business channels, and market competitors are considerably different than 5 years ago and will only continue to change. More than half of our customers reported that demands have intensified dramatically during the past 24 months and have concerns about their ability to respond to these intensifying challenges. 

Retail distribution and order fulfillment operations are faced with a need to move quickly in all directions, no matter their size – agility at scale. To do this, businesses need to leverage next-generation technologies effectively. This digital transformation can be incredibly daunting to undertake, and includes many aspects, from manual to automated operations, analog to digital processes, and limited visibility to real-time insights. It can be overwhelming where to even get started. Some businesses will fail to successfully adopt technologies compared to their more innovative peers, while other businesses will set themselves up for failure in a rush to deploy an underdeveloped technology.

A low-risk, first-step in your Digital Transformation journey is investing in the power of industrial internet of things (IIoT) technologies to connect all facility assets. Asset management and predictive maintenance can easily and quickly be deployed on a small scale and deliver real business results. A heightened state of connectivity yields both immediate and long-term benefits: increased uptime; boosted productivity and throughput; minimized equipment breakdowns; lower handling costs; better asset management; greater flexibility and resilience; and more.  

At Honeywell Intelligrated, our goal is to guide operations managers along the path to digital transformation to avoid risk and improve productivity. We do this by connecting facility assets — from machine-level sensors, system controls and smart devices to workers, automation systems, robotics and the cloud — the platform aggregates single data points to deliver critical information about overall facility performance in real-time. Using live dashboards, mobile apps and analytics, DC managers attain full visibility throughout their operations, enabling them to make informed decisions and respond quickly to changes. Finally, we stand by our customers through their Digital Transformation journey providing consulting on technology adoption, change management, and implementation. That's why we engineered The Connected Distribution Center an asset management and predictive maintenance IIoT service.  

Connected Assets for outbound sortation 

Having trouble envisioning how you can digitally transform conveyor operations? Consider connecting with us for a demo of our Connected Assets offering, designed to address one of the most critical steps in fulfillment, outbound sortation. With Connected Assets; sorters, scanners, merge and transportation conveyors are connected to the cloud for advanced analytics and visualization, creating a virtual control room. Within this dashboard, DC operators have access to detailed performance metrics from those systems, trending graphs for visualization, and fault alerts delivered via mobile devices. 

Further, by adding machine-level sensors to key equipment, data that better informs equipment health creates uptime improvements and more accurate predictive maintenance schedules. Monitoring parameters can include scanner read rates, motor & gearbox vibration, control panel power, temperature, current draw, as well as flow balance at merges. 

The platform aggregates data from all outbound sortation systems and sub-systems to identify asset health and performance trends. Insights can include sortation scanner misreads, gapping errors that overload recirculation conveyors, excessive conveyor line motor vibration, and manual operation of merge lanes.  

Higher equipment reliability, improved labor utilization, and a lower risk are just a few of the outcomes of starting small with analyzing an outbound sortation process operation through data generated by its functional components. 

Find more details on how to embark on your own digital transformation journey in this On The Move article.  
 

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