19 June 2020

This week has been another busy one for us fuzzies, which is why we’re presenting you with a Fuzzy Five today. So far this year has seen the entire world brought to its knees by the pandemic, with some countries faring better than others. The effects of the pandemic have been wide ranging, affecting nearly every one and every sector – so what might change in the post-pandemic world?

 

Distribution Centres

At Fuzzy LogX we’re all about warehouses and distribution centres. Covid-19 has definitely changed the way some DCs operate and introduced a whole new set of challenges. For some operations, they’ve probably witnessed a drastic shift in volume from the store channel to online or click-and-collect. While for some sectors they’ve seen a huge increase in volumes, for some, the shift could see much more orders going out, each with a smaller order size. In addition to this, some DCs may be required to re-think entire processes and workflows to ensure social distancing is maintained. This article takes a look at what the post-pandemic DC may look like.

As we’re seeing many organisations and industries adapting to the changing situation, solution providers are including new features as well. As mentioned in the article, providers such as InVia Robotics and 6 River Systems have included new features in their software to ensure that warehouse operators maintain a safe distance.

 

Supply Chain and Logistics Networks

Lockdowns and social distancing requirements together with the closure of many bricks-and-mortar stores took consumers away from physical stores to online orders. This resulted in a huge spike of e-commerce orders which meant that DCs and transport networks would need to fulfill much more smaller orders. While networks have changed, how much of that change will continue to be the “new normal”? I’m sure many customers love the convenience and ease of ordering their goods from the comfort of their home – which may mean that some of the shift to online we’ve seen may stay. The article below looks at it from the view of parcel/ freight companies, but I’m sure it will be applicable to many other sectors.

https://www.dcvelocity.com/articles/46099-parcel-express-what-will-the-new-normal-look-like

The article above also mentions about crowd sourcing and how some companies in the USA utilised the flexibility of the “gig-economy” to quickly add more delivery capability. A bit similar to how Woolworths expanded their online delivery capability with Uber.

 

Social Distance Monitoring

Social distancing requirements will change the way work places look. For some organisations/work places, they may even be required to monitor and ensure workers adhere to social distancing requirements. There seem to be a whole host of solutions using Bluetooth and other sensor technologies to determine and alert users if they get too close. This video shows a new social distancing detector which uses machine learning to determine if people are adhering to social distancing requirements. The best part – it can easily be integrated into current security camera systems and only requires some calibration to relate the footage to physical dimensions.

Check here for a write-up about the technology featured in the video above. For those of you who like to tinker around with projects like this, this link includes a how-to guide to setup one yourself.

 

Multi-purpose Robots

Drones being used to disinfect stadiums and other open spaces could make the task faster and easier. Fetch Robotics have now adapted their warehouse robots to disinfect an airport in the USA.

There are also concepts of various other uses of robots during the pandemic, such as to deliver medicines by drone or robot.

 

Air Travel

Air travel is one of the most affected sectors by the pandemic. Not only has this caused a drastic reduction in passenger demand, many airlines predict that demand may not return to pre-pandemic levels for a couple of years. We’re already seeing news of airlines implementing various measures for post-pandemic travel, such as compulsory masks and reduced cabin baggage. One airplane seat designer has designed a double-decker seat for premium economy that would utilise the overhead cabin space to fit in a seat above. It’ll be interesting if this idea ever comes to fruition or will be one of those limited to drawing board.