Honeywell Automation Helps Meet ‘Always On’ Consumer Demands and Labor Challenges
Shifting consumer behavior drives retailers and e-tailers to adapt and innovate
November 1, 2023
CHARLOTTE, N.C., November 1, 2023 – Changing consumer behavior and demand for convenience has reshaped the shopping experience, moving away from “traditional” peak seasons and toward extended, flattened sales curves. Honeywell (Nasdaq: HON) help businesses adopt an "always on" approach to distribution and fulfillment operations using automation, software and technical expertise to help companies thrive in this dynamic retail environment.
Honeywell’s Global Automation Report revealed that traditional holiday sales cycles have given way to year-round shopping opportunities and events such as Amazon Prime Days, Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale and Target Circle Week. Once stable sales patterns around the traditional holiday season have slowly transitioned to a new model where any month, week, or even day can become a "holiday," characterized by operational stress and fluctuations previously reserved for peak seasons.
"In today's competitive e-commerce market, real-time decision-making is vital," says Keith Fisher, President of Honeywell Intelligrated. "To meet changing consumer habits, it’s key for retailers to use automation to keep up with demands and help offset seasonal labor challenges while also gaining a significant competitive advantage in customer experience.”
The National Retail Federation reported that nearly half (46%) of consumers started their holiday shopping before November in 2022, up from 39% in 2019, and this year is poised to follow the same trend. Changes in consumer behavior have forced retailers and e-tailers to adjust to a new normal and implement different strategies.
Considering these consumer trends, Honeywell offers three recommendations to help businesses navigate their biggest challenges as customers begin their holiday shopping earlier:
- Begin automation strategy planning: Assess your current state and embrace future possibilities. In an active market, strategic investment in automation technology and adopting best practices is important. Post-pandemic, 43% of companies with more than 1,000 employees sought to enhance DC automation as a top priority, but over half felt unprepared to do so. Partnering with experienced experts for planning, integration and operational management empowers warehouse and DC operators to leverage automation effectively without building in-house expertise.
- Integrate technology with labor to aid the extended sales cycle. Scaling labor for dynamic peak seasons can be unpredictable. Warehouses and distribution centers can optimize operations by combining workers and automation. For instance, an AS/RS system can store 20,000+ SKUs in 40% less space, increasing throughput by 30-40% and achieving 99.9% order accuracy. This approach streamlines operations, benefiting both the business and the worker.
- Remember the importance of lifecycle support: minimizing downtime is essential in keeping operations up-and-running. As warehouses automate, traditional lifecycle management falls short in reducing disruptions and improving reliability. Honeywell's research shows 80% of businesses underestimate downtime by 200-300%, with 90% of maintenance shutdowns being unplanned. Leveraging technology for proactive asset performance management enhances equipment reliability, reduces costs and boosts ROI.
Recognizing the challenges in distribution and fulfillment, Honeywell Intelligrated offers a wide range of advanced automation technologies, productivity tools and software, including the latest in warehouse robotics and hybrid solutions. These technologies assist warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment companies throughout the entire process, from concept to integration, to provide stability, predictability and improved operational efficiency.
To learn more about Honeywell's warehouse automation solutions and capabilities, visit sps.honeywell.com/us/en/products/automation.
Honeywell is an integrated operating company serving a broad range of industries and geographies around the world. Our business is aligned with three powerful megatrends – automation, the future of aviation and energy transition – underpinned by our Honeywell Accelerator operating system and Honeywell Connected Enterprise integrated software platform. As a trusted partner, we help organizations solve the world’s toughest, most complex challenges, providing actionable solutions and innovations that help make the world smarter, safer and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.