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Q&A: What Technology Solutions Should Retailers Use to Streamline Supply Chain Operations?

Blurred interior of home improvement retailer store in America

In retail, optimizing ordering, shipping and delivery processes is integral to maintaining – and improving – customer satisfaction. To that end, retailers and manufacturers must make use of the latest technologies to ensure they are doing all they can to keep customers happy and streamline operations.

 

To explore a few solutions retailers can use to improve these processes, we spoke with Panasonic Executive Account Manager Bob Wright. Here’s what he had to say:

 

Q: What are some of the barriers to technology adoption you’re seeing in the retail and supply chain today?

 

Customers who are still using Windows CE-based applications are being left behind. Android is the new standard for most enterprises. Old legacy applications are incompatible with Android so they are unable to take advantage of the latest in mobile technology on the market. Additionally, rewriting Windows CE applications can be very costly and time consuming, so many customers choose to use what they already have. This can end up costing them in the long run, too

 

Warehouse order picking is one area where our customers see high operating costs, and success or failure here can directly impact customer satisfaction. Staying on a manual picking system may cause an organization to miss out on the operating efficiencies that multi-modal picking methods provide, including cost savings, increased accuracy and ease of workforce training.

 

Q: How can retailers and manufacturers overcome these challenges?

 

Moving away from manual systems and providing warehouse workers with mobile, multi-modal solutions allows them to do their jobs more efficiently and with fewer errors. Directly connecting to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and warehouse management system (WMS), mobile devices provide updated information in real time, allowing a worker to see the actual inventory on hand.

 

Q: What specific technology solutions can support these changes?

 

Our team of Android engineers and developers help customers make the transition to Android by using our rapid development platform to take the pain out of this effort and rewrite apps in weeks, rather than months, at a lower cost.

 

In addition, our voice picking solution allows workers to operate hands-free via headset and microphone. When connected to the WMS or ERP, the app directs the user to the picking location and, the worker confirms the pick back to the system via voice input. This allows for much faster and accurate picking, reducing costs and returns and improving customer satisfaction.

 

Q: How have these solutions impacted customers’ operations?

 

One customer was using an old Windows CE proof of delivery application for its drivers. By working with them to understand their requirements, we were able to rapidly rewrite their application for Android, which provided their end users with a familiar-looking and functioning application, except it was built for a modern operating system. This significantly reduced training costs, and since the new app looked ans worked similar to the old one, the drivers didn’t miss a beat.

 

Using our solutions, our end users have reported a 25 percent increase in productivity as well as a 99.9 percent accuracy rate, which makes a significant positive impact on an organization’s operations and bottom line.

 

The above responses were taken from Panasonic’s NRF video series and have been slightly updated for clarity and length. To watch the videos, click here and here.

 

To learn more about Panasonic’s solutions for retailers, visit: https://na.panasonic.com/us/industries/retail