In this age of Industry 4.0, data is everything. Businesses in all industries are capturing more data than ever before, whether it's customer data, transaction data, market data or data about internal operations. No matter the source, the goal is the essentially same: to use that data to increase productivity.
For distributors, one area that seems to be discussed less than others when it comes to data collection is the warehouse. With distributors trying to make their warehouse(s) as lean as possible, data can go along way to ensure that people, equipment and facilities are being used to their potential.
One company helping distributors in this area is EVS, which offers innovative and industry-disruptive warehouse management software solutions. Here's what EVS CEO Evan Garber has to say about a handful of warehousing data topics:
Data's Impact: "When you’re a data-driven warehouse, the data helps you be efficient and optimal. The warehouse is working as a body/organism with everyone doing the thing they’re best at. Each piece helps each other without the others even knowing the other part is helping them. It’s like a brain watching out for all parts of the organisms whereas in an old warehouse, it’s like there is no brain, and different pieces are doing whatever... no optimization."
Human Labor: "Regarding manufacturers getting into distribution, the workforce is a little behind the time. A challenge is behavior — changing how they get stuff done. It’s not more difficult or laborious, just different. So you need to make it as easy as possible — the interface and hardware is very important. Old brick scanners are tough to adopt, but give them an iPhone and it’s an easy transition."
The Right Metrics: "In a data-driven warehouse, you can focus on metrics that the company uses to evaluate its success from an operation perspective. If we know where those are at, we can map our strategy to improve them. When we hit those KPIs, then bottom line improves and increases."
Executive Need-To-Know: "Executives are looking for ways to continuously improve. What are the strengths and obstacles and what is critical to their success? They look at progress, new obstacles and how they overcome them and how the strategy has changed, etc. Just because you have a platform in place, it doesn’t mean you’re done. You can keep improving, and data is the only way to do this. Technology is a way to make business more successful, employees lives easier and everyone happier."
EVS recently created the infographic below, highlighting what the data-driven warehouse ecosystem looks like: