Faster, Safer: How the Warehouse has Changed Post-Pandemic
Challenges took a new meaning for logistics operations that require more than the traditional approach to developing protocols and workflows. In 2021, the warehouse is not what it was one year ago. The pandemic put a direct spotlight on the importance of keeping workers–and partners–safe. Adhering to implemented protocols are more than a formality in the new normal and can be the very things that keep a business open in the long term. In the short term, warehouse managers have no choice but to stay diligent in securing the safety of their business by putting their employees’ safety first.
We talked with Edgardo Hamon, managing director with Dachser Mexico, about how the warehouse has changed and how handling these new challenges successfully can sustain employee wellness and ongoing operations post-pandemic.
“The handling of materials requires interaction between people and maintaining clear rules of social distancing, not only with the collaborators we have on the day-to-day, but also with the carrier that arrives every hour into our warehouses,” Hamon says. “It becomes an additional challenge to keep a strict process to maintain the correct functionality of the warehouse, and of course, avoid any possible risk to our teams. Strict protocols and sticking to them are critical, such as sanitizing our facilities twice a day, consistent washing of the hands and wearing masks.”
Dachser is no stranger to the work-from-home dynamic, either. Hamon explained that when it is needed, employees stay at home to secure business continuity—and the warehouse keeps running.
“We implemented the home office process with success, and we believe it is very efficient to continue with this process as it provides a good solution,” he explains. “Whenever it is needed, people remain at home. We do this to make sure the team stays safe and operations are continuously flowing.”
Technology continues to serve as a key driver for success when securing strict workflows between workers. For Dachser, technology equals transparency and visibility to ensuring protocols are met and partner relations are sustained.
Dachser’s global warehouse management system, Mikado, serves as a major resource for maintaining a seamless day-to-day process while securing opportunities for expansion. Mikado organizes Dachser’s operational team while promoting social distancing and maximizing efficient workflows.
Hamon cites Mikado as a primary tech resource that ensures safe operations while solving pandemic-induced challenges. This system is a key driver behind Dachser Mexico’s most recent facility expansion that launched in October. Dachser’s bonded warehouse facility in Parque el Marqués at Querétaro will offer 4,000 square meters of warehouse space with an accommodating electrical substation.
Mikado supports operations beyond warehousing, providing solutions for other sectors, including manufacturing. Systems such as Mikado enable companies to move forward amid the pandemic in expanding operations to better serve customers and maintain a competitive advantage. This further emphasizes the importance of reliable, agile technology post-pandemic.
“Dachser believes strongly in the value of technology as it relates to enhanced efficiency and cost reduction,” Hamon says. “With the continuous further development of our IT systems and their worldwide rollout, we have built up a homogeneous IT landscape characterized by stability, integrity as well as adaptability to new challenges in the logistics business. And, of course, the ability to integrate the IT technology into our day-to-day operational platforms. This makes a big difference in remaining competitive.”
What does all this mean for customers? Customer retention post-pandemic has become more of a challenge than ever before. Hamon explains that customers are experiencing a significant financial impact, creating a greater demand for competitive cost-effective options while increasing demand for space. So, not only are warehouse managers working to implement protocols and keep employees safe, but they are also competing to retain customers, drive down costs and meet demand for space at a competitive price.
“Customers are always looking for more competitive prices in the market,” Hamon notes. “This puts industry players in a difficult situation to compete and provide the best price. At Dachser, we adapt ourselves as much as possible to meet demand and support the customer needs.”
In addition to the most cost-effective options, customers are now demanding agile and quick solutions. If the logistics arena was not high-speed before, it is now.
Logistics has taken a new form that quickly eliminates paper processes and traditional methods of management. Automation is now a major differentiator as customers vet the fastest and most efficient providers to meet their needs, rather than an option. In the new normal, customers simply cannot afford the risk associated with manual processes and their potential inefficiencies. Dachser recognizes this and cites the power of automation for meeting market demands and providing adaptable solutions.
“These last few months have made it clear that the supply chain needs to evolve into a stronger, more agile and adaptable system that can respond quickly to challenges and implement solutions,” Hamon says. “This is where we strongly focus nowadays, providing intelligent solutions to our customers. We adapt to their needs, offer flexibility and dive deeply into their processes to identify their needs. This allows us to maintain a competitive advantage over our competitors–globally and regionally. Adapt to the needs of our customers and market situations to provide the best solutions.”
For now, the brunt of COVID-19 has been felt across the supply chain, allowing companies to understand what it takes to continue operating with boots on the ground. However, the team at Dachser predicts additional market shifts are on the horizon, citing the Amazon effect for changing the course of market responses. Hamon explains that logistics players must prepare for a more dynamic delivery flow to meet customer demand in the new normal and beyond.
“Customers will continue to request faster deliveries and the industry should be prepared. In the future, the industry will see the need for smaller trucks that provide faster deliveries to meet customer demands, and the successful deployment of technology solutions to receive materials faster. If you have reliable technology in place, you can offer these kinds of services to customers, so they receive orders faster. These dynamic solutions will be critical in the near future.”
Born in Mexico City, Edgardo Hamon graduated in Business Administration from the Technological University of Mexico. He has worked for the past two decades in the logistics industry, starting as a sales executive working with clients in the pharmaceutical, automotive and technology industries. He joined Dachser as National Key Account Manager Automotive in 2011, and he later became Intra Americas Business Development Manager before being promoted to his current role as Managing Director of Dachser Mexico.
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