Jason Burrell, Vice President, EMEA, Honeywell IGS
“Honeywell is your partner for total supply chain integration. We can help you to transform your distribution centre for whatever comes next.”
Founder: Mark C. Honeywell
Founding Date: 1906
HQ Location: Charlotte, N.C., U.S.
No of Employees: 113,000 (2019)
Website URL: sps.honeywell.com
What does your company do?
Honeywell manufactures automated warehouse solutions — encompassing hardware and software — in order to provide customers with improved productivity and reduced operating costs. This is especially essential against the current backdrop of Covid-19, which has placed an enormous strain on fulfillment operations.
The Connected Distribution Centre offers an easy solution for companies making the journey to digitisation. Through an amalgamation of new technologies, The Connected Distribution Centre helps increase asset and system reliability, maximise DC utilisation, and improve productivity.
This means every component of distribution centre operations is connected and can be supervised in real-time – whether that be robots, analytics software, workers or anything in between.
We begin by working directly with the client, understanding their business, and addressing their pain points. Unlike our competitors, we focus on providing total business solutions. We place equal emphasis on the operational return on investment (ROI) that can be gained not just via different technologies, but also in determining how a client can maximise efficiency, minimise downtime, and allocate workers to value-added areas.
What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
Our USP is “One Honeywell” and our ability to support multiple aspects of our clients’ infrastructure.
This USP underpins how we work. For example, when talking to a client about how they plan to grow their business and what they need for their respective facility, we can bring in different specialists from across Honeywell who can add value, no matter what department they’re from; we call that “One Honeywell”.
What retailer need do you fulfil?
In today’s ever-changing marketplace, the retail needs we fulfil are productivity improvements, labour management, and optimising the material handling efficiency of stock keeping units (SKUs) within warehouse and manufacturing environments via our various automation solutions.
How do you deliver on this USP?
Working in close collaboration with our clients, we’ll determine their primary business requirements. We discuss how to best optimise information and data management, communicate how Honeywell solutions could work across their entire operation, and express how we may deliver data-driven results via a single dashboard, allowing the customer to run their operation more efficiently by making better-informed decisions.
Which retailers do you work with?
We have relationships with many global brands today, including Adidas Group. Our other clients are predominantly based in North America but we are currently actively expanding into markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
How would you describe your growth, what have been the main points in your expansion and what has been key to your success?
Growth at Honeywell has been significant. Many of our clients are seeking to expand their current strategy (especially since the beginning of the pandemic), in an effort to increase operational speed and efficiency. By providing total solutions, we help to alleviate our clients’ concerns during this era of uncertainty.
Our experience within the sector has been pivotal to our success. We are widely recognised as a strong established brand within many industries and regions.
In terms of expansion, we have recently opened a new factory in Katowice, Poland, which is due to go live this year; we expect to start shipping from there in Q3 2021. Considering we’ve only been in the European market for a few years, we’ve very excited to be opening up a dedicated facility this soon.
How are you using the emerging technology to support retail growth?
The technology has to suit the operational model of the client, so if autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for example, are a potential solution, then we need to understand how we can deliver those technologies to that customer.
Our collaboration with Fetch Robotics has allowed us to focus on AMRs and achieve a great deal of success with the technology. AMRs have proven to significantly speed up fulfilment processes across myriad operations and environments, not just in Europe, but all around the globe.
What do you see as challenges for the retailers and suppliers over the coming years? How are you prepared to meet those challenges?
- The increased number of returns and getting those products back on the shelves to be resold as soon as possible
At Honeywell, we are responding to this issue with our GoalPost Labour Management Software; part of Honeywell’s Momentum software suite. It enables retailers to monitor and understand how their staff interact, including how long it takes to get to each area of a facility and ultimately, how to speed up processes.
Not only this, but the technology encompasses a wealth of different features, from labor tracking, enterprise reporting and data analysis, through to time tracking, coaching, XYZ distance calculation and more.
Overall, GoalPost LMS leverages on-demand intelligence to minimise labor expenses and maximise labor productivity across the distribution and manufacturing facility at hand.
- In the UK, the availability of quality labour to work in operations
Our Connected Assets enables DC operators to keep key sortation softwares at peak productivity levels. It also offers predictive analytics, so it can foresee if an issue with a machine is going to occur within the next 24 hours. If so, it sends an alert back to the DC.
Not only does this solution reduce manual labour, but it also produces significant savings by ensuring equipment failures are prevented. For example, Connected Assets can monitor your system’s health and overall performance making it easy to predict trends, identify faults and prevent unnecessary downtime.
Has Brexit had an impact on your services at all?
Yes I would say it has. I think the initial impact has been getting technology into the UK.
To begin with, we worked tirelessly to ensure our technology could get into the UK smoothly and efficiently. I think the first few months of Brexit was challenging – we can’t hide from that fact and I think we’ve improved significantly through learning.
I don’t think it’s just ourselves; I think a lot of our competitors and people outside of the industry have also found it quite a bumpy road but I think we’ve smoothed that out over the last few months but initially Brexit was a real challenge in terms of getting products into the UK.
What targets are you aiming to achieve in the next five years?
Our biggest goals are to establish Honeywell as one of the premier intralogistics suppliers in EMEA and one of the leading partners in the UK.
We want to be a vendor that can offer a complete service portfolio, i.e., the first company people think of when it comes to upgrading their logistics processes. Furthermore, we want people to know we supply more than just hardware and offer a full range of services.
Secondly, the uptake of robotics and AMR technology is definitely going to happen faster than we think. Honeywell is going to be a big part of that evolution.
adidas Automates to Match Order Volume
How did the adidas Group ensure the delivery of shoes and apparel to more than 80 percent of customers in its largest markets within three days?
The world-class company and international brand invested in two new distribution centers (DCs) covering more than two million square feet. Together, they’re capable of receiving and shipping hundreds of thousands of units every day. Careful system selection and the strategic deployment of automation equipment lowered operating costs while gaining much-needed efficiencies.
In addition to handling daily volume, the new DCs also can manage anticipated future changes in customer order profiles and plans for e-commerce growth.
View the video for a glimpse into the fulfillment operations of a retail powerhouse and learn how the adidas Group achieved its goals with Honeywell as the supplier of its automated material handling system.