How to Easily Scale Your Mobile Workforce and Devices for Peak Shopping Season
Retailers are under constant pressure to streamline processes and become more efficient while looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction levels. These challenges are heightened as the holiday season approaches, when the flow of goods in and out of distribution centers (DCs) and stores increases, and processes and workflows are strained. .
Coming out of the pandemic, many retailers are trying to maintain lean operations to help speed the resumption of business and are struggling to find enough workers to meet demand. The result is that these companies will typically run a core team of full-time, year-round employees, but will then seek to hire short-term seasonal workers to meet the demands of the traditional peak season of the industry. ‘industry.
While this process allows companies to manage staff costs throughout the year, it unfortunately also puts pressure on retailers and CD managers to ensure short-term workers understand the processes and technologies and can operate as precisely and efficiently as permanent employees.
Given the heightened activity many retail and warehouse environments are experiencing as peak shopping season approaches, and the difficulties in trying to onboard less experienced seasonal workers, what companies need to know Australians to help them prepare?
Use technology to improve processes
Regardless of whether a fulfillment center is operating in a quiet or busy time, the practice of fulfilling an order and shipping the right product at the right time to the right destination remains the same. At peak times, the pressure to ensure orders are dispensed accurately is increased.
Incorrect or incomplete returned orders need to be repackaged and redistributed, impacting customer satisfaction, with 63% of customers wanting improvements to retail returns and delivery processes and 67% wanting on-time visibility real on their Christmas orders from the time they are processed.
Warehouse storage, order fulfillment, and back-end ordering processes all need to be robust enough to handle a huge surge in demand. This demand affects many operational departments and the technology must be implemented on a range of mobile devices such as barcode scanners, handheld terminals, mobile devices and mobile computers. These devices help improve the efficiency of a warehouse through peak season activity and accuracy of operations to reduce the number of incorrect deliveries.
Prior to peak season, retailers need to be confident that their devices are capable of doing the job at hand and, if a specific function has changed, the device can handle the new demands. For example, Coles and Woolworths have struggled with last-mile delivery during the pandemic and have consequently outsourced their delivery services to cope with the online grocery boom. The company has also increased automation in its warehousing to help support peak seasons and accuracy in order processing and fulfillment.
Operational insight and interpretation of critical business data is the cornerstone of any retail organization. It is now more essential than ever that device data is securely captured and can be analyzed and used to improve processes. For example, being able to identify poor device performance, black spots in the local delivery network impacting customer signatures for order fulfillment and overall device health and remote assistance in the field.
Today, as organizations deploy more and more applications and workers are deployed across various DC sites and in the field, supporting and optimizing all devices on every network becomes increasingly more critical.
Flexible device management
Retail and logistics companies are investing heavily in scaling up operations to meet peak season demand and scaling them back at the end of the holiday season.
Traditionally, this has meant expanding fleets of mobile devices to ensure additional seasonal workers have the tools they need to complete their jobs, and then having a glut of unused devices after the season.
Today, with advances in mobile device management (MDM) solutions, retailers can more easily configure and deploy devices to multiple employees with a defined user profile in minutes without security risks. Likewise, advances in security settings allow devices to be shared within a group, to track individual productivity.
Advanced shared device configuration allows companies to quickly deploy devices among multiple workers and customize the device for each worker when they log in. This multi-user feature creates a set of interchangeable devices that are equally and immediately useful to any authorized worker who picks one up. It also ensures that one device can be used by multiple workers during a shift, which potentially means that a single piece of equipment can handle the workload previously handled by three devices.
Device sharing allows retail and warehouse operations to run more efficiently while limiting capital expenditures, as well as taking into account work schedules to ensure enough devices for each worker. This is an important consideration given that the increase in manpower required for peak season will eventually decrease, and organizations want to maximize their devices in the field to reduce costs.
Secure data on shared devices
Retail and distribution center operators need to simplify the security and management of mobile devices and IoT endpoints for business-critical mobility in their workplace. An enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution can remotely wipe data from compromised devices and shut them down. Additionally, EMM can prevent sensitive information from being sent to unauthorized persons or even disable cameras when they are near specific buildings or sensitive environments.
With a single, easy-to-use interface, an EMM solution allows organizations to have full control over a variety of mobile devices across multiple operating systems while securing confidential company data – especially useful when a company’s staff has had to adapt to several temporary workers.
Solutions for peak shopping season
Overall, mobile technology functions as the core function of stable and efficient retail operations, but unless these devices are properly managed, used and protected, retailers put themselves at risk. With enhanced device security, increased flexibility and unified controls management for mobility – and the ability to share key devices between workers to limit capital expenditures on new technologies – these solutions will be key to preparing and thrive during this year’s high season.