Peter Ruffley is CEO of Zizo, an end-to-end business intelligence service. He was assisted by Ian Brown, CEO of Excelpoint.
Logistics organizations are under unprecedented pressure to improve not only efficiency, but also employee safety. The COVID-19-inspired spike in demand has exposed endemic performance issues and created new workplace challenges: how can companies recruit and retain staff in a highly competitive market as the he transportation and storage industry has a higher rate of injuries at all levels of severity compared to other sectors?
Digital transformation offers a chance to improve efficiency, reduce costs and improve responsiveness to customers, and transform the everyday experience of employees. However, this can only be achieved if organizations implement the right data collection and analysis solutions that quickly and efficiently deliver new insights to logistics teams.
Data Capture Challenge
While there are many technologies associated with digital transformation, it is all about data – the use of data to both automate processes and gain insight to drive business improvement.
For many organizations, however, this simple statement is the sticking point. What data is required? Where is it situated? How to access it? Can it be used in combination with other sources? Is there background information? How often does it change?
The first question, of course, is: how can the data be collected? For warehouse operations that still rely on many manual processes, even on paper, data collection is complex and time-consuming. This can require considerable effort to obtain information from the systems – information which is then stale in this rapidly changing environment. Inefficiencies go unchecked and security risks ignored.
Achieving fast and efficient data capture is a priority. No-code automation software that can be configured in a range of solutions for critical business processes can quickly improve access to information, eliminating the need for multiple entries across multiple systems. This software helps companies streamline the way they manage people, systems and information, thereby improving workforce well-being, realizing flexibility and significant cost savings.
For example, from a safety perspective, simple, automated solutions for incident logging, recording, and resolution can both ensure compliance with the Reporting of Injuries, Illnesses, and Hazardous Occurrences Regulations ( RIDDOR) and provide essential information to ensure that the incident does not reoccur in the future. Additionally, automated security audits create a structured process where information-based insights support employee safety while adhering to compliance regulations.
Additionally, the deployment of wearable sensors or devices, connecting to an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform or at the edge, can provide new business insights very quickly. For example, data from smart controls, such as loading docks, blind intersections, and door openings, can be used for operational improvements, as well as to ensure employee safety and compliance with protocols.
With a holistic view of operations, logistics managers gain the confidence to make better decisions regarding both performance and employee well-being. Staff can identify areas where incidents could occur, highlighting risks before an accident occurs. Additionally, information gathered from wearable devices can track lifting techniques, body temperature, heart rate, or distance traveled at an individual’s workplace, allowing managers to intervene in time. real on any dangerous practice.
This insight also creates a unified picture of what is happening in the factory or warehouse by highlighting patterns of behavior that may have been previously undetectable, information that can be used in a feedback loop to drive improvements. continue. For example, employees can be offered specific interactive and data-driven training – which will not only improve employee well-being, but also improve employee productivity, thereby increasing employee satisfaction.
This is crucial because, according to the Health and Safety Executive, “training helps people acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes which make them competent in the health and safety aspects of their jobs”. Such programs, driven by data literacy, can ensure that those performing a task have the competence to do so without endangering the health and safety of others or themselves.
Good employees are hard to find right now. For an industry experiencing a significantly higher number of safety incidents – consider that forklift accidents account for approximately 85 fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries each year – more needs to be done to improve the operational risk environment and create training and tailored education for employees.
Additionally, employee safety is a great place to launch a digital transformation program. With wearable devices and no-code solutions, the process is simple and non-disruptive, and the information is both immediate and accessible to logistics personnel. Crucially, this builds trust in the value of data among logistics teams, accelerating their commitment to transformation and helping to create an appetite for data-driven change.
Once companies realize the benefits and can see the impact, such as better employee safety, warehouse managers will start to wonder what else they can do. What else can be improved? What else can be changed for the better? And this is the basis for driving digital transformation.