B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 1 week ago

Reimagining the supply chain with Honeywell’s latest solutions


With the challenges that today’s warehouses face come opportunities.  

Businesses are dealing with unprecedented supply chain issues and a severe labor shortage, but new innovations for the distribution center are cutting downtime and optimizing worker performance and satisfaction.  

Shelby Skrhak and Mark Dessommes, scanner sales manager at Honeywell, explore the latest technology that makes warehouse processes faster, safer and more accurate.  

Increasing operational visibility and communication

Reimagining the supply chain with wearable tech

How rugged high-performance warehouse products help attract and retain workers 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or tune in on our website. 

You're listening to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's Imagine Next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next dot ingram micro dot com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. I'm your host Shelby skirt Hawk, and our guest today is Mark the Song, Product marketing manager, distribution center and warehouse with Honeywell. Mark, Welcome, thank you Well. Today we are talking about the challenges that warehouse and distribution center operators are facing it and really the solutions that Honeywell offers. But first, Mark tell us a little bit about Honeywell and it's Safety and Productivity Solutions business unit. Okay, So big honey Well, of which Safety and Proto Resolutions falls under, makes technologies that help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains and workers become more connected and efficient, which ideally makes the world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. Now, Honeywell Safety, Productivity and Solutions provide solutions that improved productivity, workplace safety, and asset performance. And what that basically means is we're building stuff like mobile data collection devices, software to drive those devices and squeeze more information out of them, cloud technology, automation solutions, personal protective equipment, gas detected technology. I can keep going, customer engineered sensors, switches and controls, lots of stuff in the productivity and safety space. Well, So we had a Honeywell on the podcast at the very beginning of two and the conversation was really about the state of the United States. Is uh supply chain is said? So I thought it was really interesting how much Honeywall was doing to solve some of these problems and working with the premium carriers directly to get parts moving forward the channel. So turning our supply chain focus to the warehouse part of things, what are the common challenges that are facing today's distribution centers? Well, Shelby, I um give you a little bit of infel about myself. I grew up in the restaurant business. My dad owned restaurants in the Southeast and we used to ask him, you know, what are the what are the three toughest things about owning a restaurant, and he would always answer his entire life the same answer, labor, labor, and labor. And you're starting to hear that more so in the warehouse and DC space you think about it. I read recently that there's going to be a need for thirteen million warehouse workers by two thousand and now that third teen millions, seventy five cent them are going to be millennials. So not only is it a challenge recruitin these folks, a challenge keeping them. Wages really aren't the tool that people can use anymore because wages are competitive across all warehouses now. But there is this rising expectation amongst these folks that technology is going to be intuitive and that the user experience as an operator is going to be consistent with what I'm used to. Uh So, that first challenge, you can sort of summarize it as worker performance and productivity, but it really has has to do with just managing that labor force. The second is the challenge that there'll always be a challenge, and that's pretty much all of our jobs, and that's squeeze and optimization of our standing operating procedures. That's again that's always going to be a challenge how to get stuff and and through and out of our way else faster, more accurately, more safely of the time, and we'll always be working towards that goal. Another challenge that we hear a lot about is minimizing downtime. And when you think about downtime, the biggest driver of down...

...time is unexpected Actually, the biggest driver of operational and efficiency is unexpected downtime, and so companies are looking for solutions that minimize that, that help them predict when there's going to be a problem before there is a problem because they can't afford downtime. Downtime just sucks oh the efficiency out of the warehouse. Uh. There's also a challenge with operational visibility. And I'm not talking about the goods within the warehouse that's covered by the WMSs UM, talking about visibility to the operators and the employees of the warehouse. We do the okay job of it now, but there's so much more that would be gathered and understood about how they're using gear and how they're going about their job. And some of the tools that are coming available now are really help expedite that operational visibility which is gonna give people an opportunity to just squeeze even that next layer of productivity out of the warehouse and finally a channel. As we hear a lot about is communication collaboration in the recent past, Once that employee gets out there on the floor and starts doing their thing, it's just kind of hard to to collaborate and communicate. They're just sort of in the mode and the tools that they currently have don't enable that. So you're starting to see a lot of requests for tools within tools they already have that allow for a little more consistent communication collaboration. So there's there's a lot there, and I'm glad that you're able to to enumerate these challenges that operators are facing. Labor, labor, labor, Yeah, you know, we're hearing that over and over again. And being able to attract and keep workers in any field, let alone within distribution centers and warehouses. It doesn't come down to just the pay in their check. It comes down to, you know, the meaning, the culture, the technology, believe it or not, because that makes a difference. So you're starting to say that they are looking for something that is you know, intuitive. That's because these are millennials. These are people that have, you know, our digital natives, So for it needs to be very intuitive because they know what it should be and when what it shouldn't be. Right, Does that make sense? Yeses, definitely, They definitely have an idea so what they want and we're planning a little bit of catchup right now. But I think we're doing a pretty good job. So how are distribution centers using technology to reimagine the supply chain? I mean, we're we're just coming out of hopefully knock on wood, you know, the pandemic and getting our supply chains kind of unraveled. How is technology really helping imagine reimagine that that process. Well, like we mentioned a little while ago, you're starting to see technology being used as a recruitment tool. These workers are migrating to the employees that provide the technology that's most intuitive and comparatable what they've been used, and the whole concept will pick up and go to technologies that allow folks to be quickly onboarded and cross trained or cross trained. You're starting to see a lot more of that kind of stoff show up in and the supply chain. You're seeing dCas in warehouses double downald solutions that optimize some of their high operating cost workflows put away and picking. That represents about your label labor costs in a warehouse in DC. So you're starting to see things geared specifically to those applications, like wearable technologies, like guided work technology some people call voice enabled technologies. You're starting to see people dabbling in robotics, not quite there yet, got a little ways to go, but they're starting to prepare for that vision and augmented reality technologies. But to me, most of the progress being made short term right now is with wearables. We're I read something that said that seventy the warehouses will be using wearable technology by two thousand twenty three. Finally, software is getting an upgrade. Folks are upgrading their w messes...

...and or they're even adding these what I could call booster software to get more out of the data that's being collected by the tools that folks are using in the warehouse, so that they can just drive more visibility and drive more efficiencies out of of the warehouse. There's a lot of room here and a lot of progress being made with some of the software tools that are accompanying the traditional data collection tools. You mentioned the wearable devices. Now, you know, we tend to think of Apple watches, and but before that, the fitbits of the world. What does wearable technology in the warehouse or distributions that don't look like well, I mean, it can be as simple as a mobile computer that's been designed to be worn on the arm, coupled with perhaps a ring scanner that's used to scan barcodes, or can be a barcode skin or a back at the hand mobile computer slash scanner. Again, you're trying to gift folks tools that they don't even realize that they're using. They're just sort of automatic. They're natural, they go with the flow. They're not an incumbent to whatever task they are trying to do. And so we're also starting to see like, um, you know, this was big a few years ago. I didn't really take off, but I'm starting to come back, Like the glasses that have the scanning capability, stuff like that. It's starting to bubble up again, and I think we're gonna get it eventually. We're just not quite there yet. Voice applications where you're you're wearing a headset and you have a terminal either on your arm or on your back or somewhere again freeing your hands up and you're just you're basically having a conversation with a system that's telling you what to do and how to do it, and you're just responding, and it's just it's a very natural type wearable technology. Yeah. Well, I read that Honeywell helped pioneer the barcode scanning market back in the seventies. So how have Honeywell's predictivity products evolved since the scanner? And can you discuss some of honey Well's newest solutions, probably some of those things that you've already started to allude to. Yeah, for sure. And I've been around forever and so I've seen the evolution of these products for fifteen years. It was just it was a brick on a stick and you just upwraided the software, you upgraded the processor, but it was still the same thing, just worked a little bit faster. Some of these mobile terminals that people were using, they were data collection tools and that's really all they were. And it was great at the time, but eventually you started asking, Okay, what more can we do with this? And so you're starting to see a lot more. Where the expectation is is these devices need to do a lot more than just collected data. And we'll talk a little bit more about that later on, but a lot of the software that is starting to show up is driving that. So when we're building solutions now, we're really thinking about the operator more so. I mean we always did, but we're really doing it now because of all the all the things that we talked about earlier about trying to keep and keep these employees happy. So things like work life quality employees say, minimizing you worker fatigue, eliminating trainer frustration. These are all things that we didn't think a ton about. You have fatigue a little bit, but not a ton about in the past. But now these are all top of mind when developing products, and you also you you you have to understand the trends and make sure that the technology meets the expectations of these younger folks that are coming into into the warehouse. Now it's always been a balancing nack. You've got the end user they need certain things, but then you also have the ops manager and they want something different. And of late, with all the talk about procession, the old you know, the cool flashy stuff isn't quite as compelling as the old I need stuff that's reliable. I need stuff that's gonna be around for a long time. You're starting to hear more of that kind of conversation. And there they were enamored with all the pretty blights and buzzes and whistles, but now they're starting to go back to,...

...hey, I just needed stuff to work. And then these that's the operations people talking about the end users. But that's starting to show up in a lot of the conversations that we're having with whereouse and DC operators and specifically some of the products that we've been launching of late uh that we thank aligned with all these things that we're talking about. We've launched something called the suit for Wearable mode of Computer. It's a warrible computer that we designed from the ground up to be worn and like we said earlier, the folks and warehouse is it gonna be using wearable technology of some sort by the end of next year. And we've found that wearable technology results in about a six percent productivity improvement, and that's a lot in warehouses now because there's been some really good progress made of lad this wearable technology that's being built. It's really it's it's got to be very natural. It needs to work with the operator in a natural way. Ideally they need to forget that they're wearing it. It's gotta be comfortable, it's gotta be easy to clean. It needs in big hunking touch display because that's what they're comfortable with. But it also needs to be rugged. So there's a balancing act continuously in building wearable solutions because they're gonna get hit and they're gonna get beaten up. And the cool thing about the c W four de piples you generally you take a mobile computer, an arm moorable mobile computer, and you generally connect the scanner to it. And we've recently launched what's called the seventy fire ring scanner with with the x R scan engine, which basically it gives you about thirty ft of scan range, so you can scan a barcut from about thirty ft away. What that's able to do is that is allowing people to put wearable technology into applications that traditionally have never seen it. You know, it's interesting. I mean, wearable was big a bunch of years ago, and everyone that either loved it or hated it, and there's still you know, you know this industry, there's a lot of people that have been in it for a long time and they their memories, they never forget. And so we're now running into you know, we're trying to introduce this brand new product that's a lot different than its credit testers and I can do a lot of things that others that the older versions can't do. And the first thing you get is that we tried that ten years ago, didn't work, and so it's kind of a well, this is not your as they say, this is not your father's wearable Bobi computer. And so that's one of the interesting things. Speaking of scanning longer distances, we've also introduced what's called the Granite x x l R that's extra long rain scanning. It scans up to eighty feet. Now you're probably going on eighty feet. I don't, I don't. I don't. Warehouse isn't that big. I don't have bracks eighty feet away. I don't need eight feet. Yeah, it's cool that the scans ad feet, but what's really cool is that all the barcodes in between the smaller barcodes you can now scan from a longer distance. So what I bestical mean is like, if you have a thirteen mill u PC and you're used to scanning it from armed link because you're used to typical standard rain scanners. Now maybe you can scan from seven feet. So now you don't have to get out that park truck, or now you don't have to bend down, or now you don't have to get out of that chair, or now you don't have to walk to the other side of the room. Just set that particular brock Coode these extra long range scanners. Don't just think of them as that far strange that that's the number that manufacturers like the tote. It also gives you additional range with with all the way up the spectrum. And these things are tough. They're really really tough made to be Uh. The interesting about Honeywell is it we put gear on satellites. I read the other day that the man spaceships have Honeywell gear on it, and so those that technology and what we learned by doing that spreads through all the divisions and so we're we know a thing or two about building the product that's going to survive in a warehouse. R XP is a perfect example. Just a couple of other newer things we've launched. We've added some products to our fixed amount of scanner uh family product called the h F ten and h AT eleven. What these basically do is that they're used to automate and optimize conveyor based workflows. So you mount them on a on a on a conveyor and then nice thing about that is that a lot of the...

...stuff there are tasks in warehouses and dcs that frankly, people don't want to do. They'd rather not do them. Uh, they'd rather they'd be automated, and they'd rather do something more interesting. What a fixed mount scanner allows you to do is just that some of the stuff that's more mundane or or or harder just not as sexy. Just put a fixed mount scanner in there and let that employee do something more interesting and so that you get a win for the employer, You get a win full the employee because it keeps that employee around longer. It's just these are all great solutions that a lot of people are thinking about, and it's this particular skinner has got something. I just gotta talk about this because I think's cool thing in the world. It's got a liquid zoom lens. And I was like, what is an liquid zoom lens? It is what exactly what it is. It's a lens that's liquid. And uh, I'm sitting there when I'm when the engineers explaining this to me, I'm like, why would you even think that this is the saying that you can do? And uh, it was just it's I'm not gonna go into exactly how it works, so I wouldn't it a service. But what it allows you to do is mount a one of these fixed scanners and instead of having to adjust the scanner so that you get the right field of view that you need at that scanner, you can just send some software and some couple of electronic staffers to the lens and then they will automatically adjust the field of view for you without having to move the actual scanner positions. And that's pretty cool because of the liquid, because of this liquid lens, because the liquidity of it, but being able to it's just it's easy to adjust and modify. And finally, one other thing that you want to talk about is is we've introduced uh the p X forty five and p X sixty five high performance printer, and this is on the rugged end of our industrial line. It's a one of these seven gotta work all the time. I'm printing ten thousand plus park codes today kind of printers. And what's cool about the P sixty five is that it's not as big as some of the alternatives out there, so you can put it into spaces where you may have not been able to put seven industrial hot performance printer. And like you would expect, this thing is tough also. Yeah, so those are some of the new products that are different than what we've been traditionally introducing in the past. Yeah, well, being able to I'm glad that you went into a little bit of depth about what the XCELR, this this long range standing does because yeah, you think, all right, well, what's the difference between doesn't many feet and that many feet? But you know, if it is the difference between grabbing the ladder, grabbing the you know, the forklift and trying to get up there as opposed to literally just zapping it, you know from from ground level that that does save a lot of times. So that's where you're seeing that that tangible productivity increase, right, Ye, yes, indeed it is amazing. When you give someone one of these new scanners and have these extended ranges, the first thing to do is a they find about got a million feet away. They go, okay, it's give that. That's pretty cool, and uh but you say, don't the scan skin up barking right over there, And of course they get up like no, no, don't get up scanner from where you're sitting. And they go, oh wow. Then the last starts to go off. It's gonna save me some time. That's gonna save a stop. And as you know, in the warehouses, every single step as time, and if you're doing it thousands of times a day, adds up pretty quickly. Yeah. Well, and you mentioned the you know, the tasks that see mundane or repetitive or you know, just aren't sexy. And and granted you don't think of barcodes or warehouses, you know, having sexy tasks. But I'll tell you as a consumer, I went into the Uni Globe store and Orlando, and basically you put your stuff into this kind of I guess container and you don't have to individually scan it. It just somehow elves counted up and scand everything that I had and I'm thinking my mind was blown, and I was like, I know, I'm talking about barcodes and scanning here, but wow, this was really cool. So yeah, I mean being able to have a little bit of that spark that you know that is cool and I get to get it of the...

...tasks that I don't want to do and maybe maybe have a little bit of fun with it. You know, what's interesting is when you see someone geared up with say voice tremor and in a wearable it looks cool. Yeah, yeah, that's pretty good. You look pretty cool that that that get up and they're kind of get there there now, right, that's exactly what they feel like. Yeah, it's not something that's obtrusive and in the way they're just like, yeah, I'm feeling pretty cool too, Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, with the challenges that warehouses space, of course, they're they're come opportunities. So expanding on these Honeywell solutions that we've discussed, can you speak to the opportunities that exist in the channel for ingram micro partners and resellers to you know, really kind of help their customers and demonstrate what type of opportunities are here. Absolutely, so, when I get asked by a partner questions like that. The first thing I'd like to say is say, look, we, including us, including Honeywell sales reps, gotta get better at sell them the entire portfolio because there's a lot of stuff out there. Don't just go in there and sell that printer. There's a whole bunch of stuff, not just other hardware, but software that the customers looking for and may not be aware that the Ingram partners, your micro partners can't get through Honeywell. So learn the entire at least become familiar with all the solutions out there, learn how to position and sell them, and then talk about the new stuff. Uh you know the example I gave about the guy that was like I would used Worribles ten years ago, didn't work. It's a different world out there. And bring these solutions back up again and challenge the customers saying like, hey, let's just get just give this a shake and you've got Hey, you've got different types of folks in your warehouse, they are probably going to be more amenable to these solutions like that and be their different solutions. They do a lot more stuff. For example, traditional warehouse terminal has got a keyboard. If you walk in a warehouse, uh, and you're an INGR micro partner and you see nothing but nineteen two thousand, two thousand ten era hardware, oh my god, I would light up like, oh my god. The first question to ask us how how effective are you in maintaining your employees? And it's been a struggle. I'm like, let me tell you. I can look at that gear. They don't like using that stuff. There's a bunch of new stuff out there that's gonna help you with that, and not only is it gonna help you do your job faster, but it's gonna help you retain those employees. So go in there and and sell the new stuff. Get to know the new stuff better. You don't, you know keyboardless warehouse terminals, And that's kind of what a lot of these young folks are looking for. Again, lots of folks have been in this industry for a long time. So don't let we tried that before. Challenge that when you can, and finally, you gotta get fluent with the software. It's really honeywell. Software is the glue that holds our story together. And so get more comfortable with it because it's going to help these warehouse operators truly understand what's going on out there. Yeah. Yeah, it's one thing to know. You know, got Hunter widgets in this bind and they need to get to tells on Tuesday, and here's how we're gonna do that. That's that I think we pretty much got that down. It's what is exactly happening to the gear that's being used, How are the operators using it? Are they using it efficiently? Is it is the gear being used efficiently? There's a lot of money invested in and gear it's being used to run a warehouses, but there's not a lot of visibility traditionally in it to that gear and how it's being used and how the folction what kind of potential issues could be about to wear their regularly head. So get to know the software that gives visibility to all those things that helps eliminate unplanned down time. Yeah. Well, as we do start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? So of course that's broad nobody has it crystal ball, but you know, where do you see us in three as far as this technology in the space. I just it's going to continue to get easier to use. It's gonna become it's going to continue to be...

...more natural. The whole term grab and go. You just want a new operator to be able to grab the stuff and it just walks them through their job naturally. You're going to see a growth and warrible solutions. It's gonna become more of an extension of the human body, and it's going to require minimal operator interaction. Uh. Stuff that's just gonna happen. It's supposed to happen. You're going to start seeing products that are not only well you're seeing this now that it can be used today, but also will be able to support whatever new technologies are coming down the path. And so if you're somehow gonna you're gonna have some robotics in there, you're probably gonna still have some data collection type devices, and they're gonna need to be You don't want to have to scrap all your old stuff find new stuff to work with that new whatever it is, it's in the warehouse, and so you want to make sure. And what we're seeing with a lot of technology is it's it's being planned to last long a long time. And you're also there's going to continue to be an increase of digitization, and so these terminals that have traditionally just been daty collectors are going to be just a gold mine for information of information. People are gonna be able to take all that data it's being collected about what's what's being done in the warehouse and do more than just shipping and receiving. They're going to really be able to refine how folks are operating in a warehouse and give them visibility of things they never had visibility to in past. Just say, Mark, we are all going to be iron man, yes, indeed, but if we're gonna be happy about it, make our lives better exactly. But for listeners who have any questions about something we talked about today or or wanna find out more, how can they reach out? Obviously you can talk to your partner, uh, your micro partner, they know a ton, But if you want to go to a website SPS dot Honeywell dot com, Uh, it's a great place to start and uh lots of good information. They were constantly adding new content, not just about hardware, but about the things that we discussed today. What kind of issues are people struggling with and how are they solving those issues. You'll find a lot of information on on on that and on our website also excellent, Mark, thank you so much for joining me today. Well, thank you for having me. It's been quite a pleasure, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two BE tech Talk with Ingram Micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag B two B tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby scare Talk. You've been listening to B two B tech Talk with Ingram Micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's Imagine Next. B two B tech Talk is a joint production with sweet Fish Media and Ingram Micro. Ingram Micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform. Two.

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