AMRs are working alongside humans—­not in place of them

While autonomous mobile robots can reduce the labor requirement that warehouse operators often struggle to fill, in many cases, AMRs are deployed to work alongside humans—­not in place of them. Find out why a Lockheed Martin warehouse that fills orders for aviation parts deployed mobile robots, and how they’re viewed as helpers by their human co-workers.

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are quickly becoming common place in warehouse operations. A lot of the communication regarding the new tech focuses on robots taking people’s jobs. With the rise in artificial intelligence, it is becoming a real debate about the possibility of machines taking over. I think Pandora’s box is open; there is no going back with technological advancements in the warehousing realm, or other business systems for that matter. In fact, a recent article in Modern Materials Handling states that the AMR market “will grow nearly tenfold” in the next five years – becoming a “$6.8 billion” industry in sales.

However, this article by Roberto Michel is a positive look at increasing AMR solutions in the work space. Michel states towards the beginning of the article, “For companies deploying AMRs in DCs, robotics is often seen as a way to make the human labor you can secure more productive, rather than try to run a fully automated DC. That makes mobile robots more like co-workers than gear that is going to “automate” associates out of jobs.”

I found this article to not only be informative, but also a good reminder that technology can be integrated as a win/win. Michel writes about integrating a WMS with AMR solutions. He also has some good examples of including the warehouse workers in the integration process so that the AMRs have co-worker support.

Michel’s article focuses on the experience at Lockheed Martin Corporation, where its use of AMRs has forged a tight working relationship between the workers and the robots.

It’s a good, informative, and supportive article.

(read complete article)

Risk Function = long-term profitable growth

Most respondents to the Accenture 2015 Global Risk Management Study say they believe the risk function is an important enabler of long-term profitable growth. They also say that balancing this priority with their responsibility for controls and compliance is a potential barrier to this effectiveness. Yet, you cannot afford to cut corners on risk management. Doing so could harm your operations, employees, consumers, reputations, and so much more.

Risk Identification and Assessment

When starting a risk management program, it’s critical to support your risk managers in undergoing a systematic process to identify risks throughout your organization. Types of risk vary from factors within and outside your control. Unavoidable risk factors could include natural disasters, such as hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, and floods or market fluctuations in prices and interest or exchange rates. Potentially preventable risk factors, to name a few, could include employee injuries; human error; mechanical or internal system failures; shipping, supplier or vendor delays; and consumer litigation.

From the point of view of today’s manufacturer, operational risk management (ORM) is about creating a framework that will help risk managers, employees on the plant floor, and maintenance personnel:

  • Understand and manage the risks impacting their organization,
  • Establish processes to effectively address these risks, and
  • Implement procedures for corrective and preventative actions.

Operational risks can fall into the following broad categories: people, products, processes, and assets. Within these categories, operational risks commonly facing manufacturers today include failure of critical assets, product non-compliance, environmental impact, financial risks, logistics risks, supplier quality, and health and safety issues. These operational risks are highly interrelated, which makes it paramount for risk managers to establish a strategy that transcends functional boundaries while effectively addressing operational risk.

Once you’ve identified all of the risks that could potentially impact your operations, employees, and consumers, assess these risks to determine if you have a safe or dangerous amount of risk. If risk management isn’t embedded in your corporate culture, employees may make mistakes that could compromise quality, lead to product or service failures and place you and those you serve at higher risk. Prioritize these risks to help you first address those that pose the greatest likelihood of threat to your company’s revenue and reputation.

Risk Mitigation and Prevention

A little preparation can go a long way in poising your company for risk management success. Ways you might mitigate and prevent risk include:

  • Avoiding loss by not engaging in business practices that pose risk to employees and consumers, such as ignoring safety concerns in product design and manufacturing
  • Preventing loss by providing employee safety training and implementing risk awareness and prevention programs throughout your company
  • Reducing loss by coming up with plans you could quickly put into place in the event natural disasters or other mishaps occur
  • Applying risk management methodologies, such as Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA), Criticality, Accessibility, Recuperability, Vulnerability, Effect and Recognizability (CARVER); Qualitative Risk Assessment (QRA); and Operational Risk Management (ORM)
  • Embedding risk management into your quality management system to ensure you, your vendors, your parts and your processes strictly comply with such standards as ISO 9001:2015 and attend to the risk factors you identify in a time-efficient manner

Once you’ve implemented these and other enterprise risk management (ERM) methods, be sure to examine your risk management program on a regular basis to ensure its adequate and effective over time.

Risk Management Solutions

Countless internal and external factors pose risk throughout your enterprise. To effectively manage, track, monitor, and address them, consider implementing a risk management solution into your quality system.

Many risk management solutions are available in the marketplace. Look for an easy-to-use solution that:

  • Integrates seamlessly with your current quality system, as well as holistically across your entire organization
  • Employs user-definable risk types and risk formulas to calculate low-, medium- and high-risk issues automatically, with intuitive color-coding
  • Ensures high-risk issues are resolved with a closed-loop corrective / preventative action process
  • Offers risk metrics on a continual head-up display or executive dashboard that offers your critical business managers’ visibility, as well as ability to drill-back to specific risk records
  • Makes it easy for you to demonstrate risk assessment management to auditors without having to create complicated forms and reports

Benefits of Managing Risk in your Quality System

A proactive approach to risk management is most beneficial to your business. Now is the time to identify and assess the factors that put your company, products, employees, and consumers at risk. Once you determine these factors, consider implementing a risk management solution into your quality system. The right solution can help you manage risk to avoid, prevent, reduce, and prepare for loss – all while helping you protect your company’s reputation and its bottom line.

This first appeared in SYSPRO white paper for SYSPRO by uniPoint. Ask us how we can help you implement integrated systems so that your business operations are transparent and run seamlessly.

Moving with the times and making success a reality: 6 ERP Treats

Moving with the Times and Making Success a Reality with an Industry-Built ERP Solution

In today’s ever-evolving digital world, doing business successfully is complicated. Globalization, the emergence of the digital economy and the transition towards largely user-driven ecosystems, continue to disrupt old business models leaving many enterprises grappling to not only remain competitive but also relevant.

This is particularly the case when it comes to manufacturers and distributors, the world’s primary movers and makers of things, who currently face a rapidly changing business landscape on both the regulatory and technological front.

On the tech front, not only does the arrival of increasingly tech-savvy employees into the workforce bring with it a whole new set of considerations, but the introduction of cutting edge technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Bots into the sector are rapidly ushering in quicker, smarter and cheaper ways of doing things.

In addition to these technological considerations, compliance to industry regulations remains a primary concern for industry players, and staying abreast of and anticipating developing changes on this front remains a key business imperative.

Given all the change and uncertainty facing many industry movers and makers, when it comes to ensuring operational efficiency and competitiveness, the current way of doing things is simply not going to cut it anymore. So where to next? And can the answer really be as simple as finding the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution?

In this whitepaper from SYSPRO, you’ll learn of six key considerations to aid you with success.

  • Finding the right ERP solution is not about choosing the software with the most complex features or the lowest initial cost. It’s about finding the solution with the closest match to a business’s needs and objectives.
  • Keep moving forward by creating a Single Source of Truth (SSoT).
  • Compliance is an incredibly complex issue and if this is a consideration for your business, it is best to speak with an ERP provider to see how solutions fit your needs.
  • Engagement is the key to improving business performance and boosting productivity through reduced complexity and enhanced collaboration.
  • Support and training.
  • In the absence of executive involvement, your ERP project timeline will probably suffer.

Get all the details with our Halloween Treat for you—we promise; no tricks!

(DOWNLOAD PDF)

Business Continuity Management

As I was perusing articles of interest today, I happened upon this one regarding BCM (business continuity management) systems. The article is written by Nicholas Bahr for EHS Today.

The article opens with Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Bahr opens his article speaking briefly about traditional emergency and crisis response plans; essentially crisis management plans. Bahr states that these plans the goal of these plans was simply to recover from an emergency situation. He states it is more important to anticipate potential interruptions to business as usual. A proper business continuity management system, well supported, can “anticipate changing conditions, adapt to those changes and, more importantly, to thrive.”

Coordinating the operations of various facilities spread across different geographical regions, adjusting to changing international trade regimes and regulations, anticipating the impacts of natural disasters on business operations, and managing dynamic global supply chains are just a few of the challenges faced by organizations

Bahr gives some stellar real-world examples of international businesses whose operations were severely impacted by natural disasters and internal catastrophes. The challenges can even be political as business needs to adjust to changing international trade regimes and regulations.

The article wraps up with a supportive resiliency cycle, initiating how a business continuity management system would support not just business recovery. Business continuity should be the focus of your BCM.

A thorough BCM framework for building organizational resilience proceeds through five stages: Prevent, Prepare, Respond, Recover and Learn.

Have you incorporated resiliency into your business operations?

(read complete article)

SYSPRO is the first ERP provider to become an official CESMII member

Last month a major part of our team attended the SYSPRO WAVE conference in Southern California. We learned quite a bit (including a couple of good watering holes in Huntington Beach). In fact Michael Katz was quickly testing Syspro 7 company data conversions to Syspro 8 so our clients can get the latest and greatest Syspro functionality. You can see if you spot any of us in the recap video below.

Also, at last month’s conference, SYSPRO formally announced the partnership and we had an opportunity to see how CESMII enables rapid technology adoption to increase productivity and time to market for companies of all sizes.

The formal announcement just came out this week – and we are happy to share this information with you. Just a few of the advantages we saw with CESMII are:

  • Object-oriented development concepts
  • Data modeling
  • Data science & analytics
  • Firewalls & encrypted communications

CESMII’s mission is to ensure the power of information and innovation is at the fingertips of every manufacturer, delivering real business value, in the form of customer satisfaction, energy efficiency, productivity, safety or impacting time to market.  We are proud to welcome SYSPRO formally to our ecosystem, which will enrich our institute’s offerings.
~ John Dyck, CEO of CESMII

 

(read complete press release)

 

A Sneak Peek Into the Benefits of ERP

ORG obviously believes strongly in the benefits of well thought-out and integrated ERP, CMS, WMS, and other business systems. What appears to be a simple process to an end user, might actually have a lot of integrated—yet fragile—systems in place to expedite to customer satisfaction.

We’ve been pointing out the quick manner delivery expectations have transformed the end-to-end customer expectation; and experience. A posting today from Marketing Technology Insights states:

Customers expect to be kept up-to-date on everything from order status—when it ships, when it will arrive, where it currently is—to how that order can be updated, exchanged or returned. As simple as that may sound, delivering this experience is not. Behind the scenes, companies are often required to integrate more than 39 different systems—across shipping providers, customer service, financial systems and more

With that kind of complexity to create smooth operations, the benefits of ERP are apparent.

Today I came across a brief and informative article from Enterprise Security Magazine: 5 Must-know Benefits of ERP Systems for a CIO. In the introduction, the article states that improved efficiency and productivity ultimately improves upon customer service.

The article then lists 5 ERP advantages that should be known when choosing or upgrading ERP systems.

  1. Visibility
    increased collaboration and smooth completion of work
  2. Customization
    picking and choosing components that work best
  3. Customer service
    build strong customer relationships
  4. Planning & Reporting
    easy access to detailed data
  5. Partnerships and workflows
    interdepartmental collaboration

The article ends stating that the benefits of ERP include employee interaction, allowing for proactive decision making and decreased operational costs.

I think this quick read (3 minutes) will gives grounded information to anyone considering updating or implementing business operation systems.

(read complete article)

Impact on Customer Experience (CX) is Primary Concern

Delivering Customer Experience in the Supply Chain

By Phil Britt

Supply chain manager’s main focus is on keeping costs low — or at least, that’s what many assume. Yet according to research commissioned by BluJay Solutions in partnership with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), that’s not the case. According to more than 400 supply-chain professionals from across manufacturing, retail and logistics service providers (LSPs), impact on customer experience (CX) is their primary concern.

However, depending on the exact business, the supply chain could have several steps between the acquisition of the raw materials and the delivery of the end product. So delivering CX throughout the process is more complex than simple communications with an end customer.

Importance of Data Quality
“Consumer loyalty is earned or lost in this exchange, so prioritizing product data quality programs is essential.”

Supply Chain Transparency Is Key
“Pair your warehouse management system with delivery tracking, and your customer can follow their delivery from start to finish, once more enabling you to offer a better service.”

Customers Look for Speed, Quality and Consistency
“Consumer demand is insatiable and driving increased pressure on global supply chains to react accordingly if businesses wish to succeed.”

read Delivering Customer Experience in the Supply Chain

An Analyst Tour of SYSPRO

SYSPRO Customer Cites Digital Transformation Benefits Gained From ERP Deployment

BKB Accompanies SYSPRO on Analyst Tour to Report Results and Industry-Specific Gains

COSTA MESA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SYSPRO, a global provider of industry-built ERP software, is receiving both customer acclaim and industry analyst recognition for new digital transformation capabilities in its latest ERP release. BKB, a global provider of agricultural products based in South Africa, recently accompanied its ERP partner SYSPRO on an industry analyst tour to outline its digital transformation journey started in 2013 and which includes SYSPRO as its foundational ERP backbone.

“SYSPRO’s newest release provides manufacturers and distributors with an industry-specific, innovative and functionally deep ERP solution that is deployable in a cloud, hybrid or on-premise model as clients’ desire,” said Paulo de Matos, Chief Product Officer, SYSPRO Corporate. “Combined with four decades of proven successful deployments and award-winning technology that is often released ahead of industry competitors, SYSPRO is an excellent value proposition for companies like BKB seeking to improve their operations by digitally transforming their business.”

  • SYSPRO New Release Delivering Competitive Advantage, Supports Web-enabled, Cloud Deployments
  • IT Industry Analysts Review and Report on New SYSPRO Digital Transformation Capabilities

“SYSPRO has enabled BKB to make the move to digital by being the foundational ERP technology system,” the IDC Link paper, SYSPRO News and SYSPRO’s Smart Manufacturing with BKB, notes. “In addition, SYSPRO is fueling its growth by bringing continued innovation into its products, continued technology and geographic expansion investment, and by demonstrating results with clients like BKB who can demonstrate digital transformation with SYSPRO ERP at their core.”

read SYSPRO Customer Cites Digital Transformation Benefits ERP Deployment

strategy = success

Warehouse strategy is getting a lot of attention. Customers’ expectations for how goods/orders are received continues to rapidly change; from speed of delivery to point of receipt. A businesses’ future success depends a lot on their ability to adapt to customers’ changing expectations.

Many rivers to cross

The thing is, there are often many solutions available for an enterprises’ challenges. And there is a lot of experience, data, and energy placed into predicting the future so as to be prepared for the rapidly changing manner in which businesses are operating. Divergent strategies, each supported strongly by business leaders, can make a SMB struggle to know which is the best solution for their unique operation; we do know each operation is unique.

convergence

Yesterday I came across an article on the Supply Chain Dive website about growing e-grocery demands creating different strategies for international businesses to deliver on customers’ expectations. What really interested me, was how quickly I found myself down the rabbit hole — this singular topic (e-grocery delivery) quickly branched into a couple of hours of researching articles about the variant strategies large companies like Amazon and Walmart are implementing to compete with start-ups such as FreshDirect.

warehouse is the word

And what really interested me was the different ways each business is attempting to stay competitive in this growing market. Their choices for warehousing and delivery seem to be the focus for bottom-line ROI.

What I think is obvious from the various articles I came across; e-grocery is growing and will continue to do so. It is impacting what the general public expects now for ordering goods and delivery. And I think it wise for SMBs to also focus on their individual fulfillment systems; especially on returns. Because a close friend is just finishing a fire job where returns overwhelmed one company — putting their warehousing functionality into a dire place.

This article (link below) is a good entry into considering your own operation strategy with customer fulfillment.

(read complete article)

The time is now! Slashing delivery times…

Having vertical distribution facilities closer to urban customers helps slash delivery times

Sometimes an article is of interest because it directly relates to what we are doing with ORG. Sometimes we’re interested because of the community we’re a part of. And sometimes, like today, it gives an insight into what customers are going to be expecting, allowing us to help our clients make adjustments and prepare for competition.

I want it now

Since spring of this year, we’ve heard murmurs of Amazon doing same day deliveries; even doing a delivery within an hour of the order being completed by a customer. Could Amazon really deliver on their delivery promise? It seems they will.

Multistory warehouse

Today the WSJ printed that Amazon closed on leasing the United States first three-story warehouse. The building is in Seattle and Amazon will be sharing some of the space with Home Depot, who is also making aggressive investment in speedy delivery times to customers. This Seattle warehouse has “freight elevators capable of carrying forklifts and a ramp that enables trucks to drive right up to loading docks on the second floor”.

An idea whose time has come?

Prologis, one of the world’s largest owners of warehouse space, developed and owns the Seattle building. They also already have development plans in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Though some investment analysts are being conservative in their assessment as to whether or not a multistory warehouse is a lasting idea — it is already popular in densely-populated Asian and European cities.

I think the writing is on the wall. Even if you are a small to medium size company, the market is going to be expecting fast delivery times. In fact, we already live in a time with heightened expectations from customers. I recommend giving strong attention to your speed-to-market delivery times — along with the systems of support.

Que Chambers Brothers…

(read entire article)