POWERFUL, DETAILED MEASUREMENT OF PEOPLE-BASED PROCESSES
With curbside pickup becoming a key operational need, specialized preparation centers were developed to manage order preparation. The goal of measurement was to optimize employee productivity in the new area by identifying bottlenecks and process inefficiencies.
Installed and calibrated an array of camera sensors to track Associate movements inside the distribution center. This was plotted against a digital representation of the prep. center and then process problems were identified and mapped.
The distribution center had two bottleneck points where employees frequently ended up waiting on each other to clear the area. In addition, larger orders frequently involved two to three round trips because of a poor transport mechanism.
The distribution center design was tweaked in the rollout and Associates were given a considerably improved (and larger) item carrier.
Digital Mortar’s advanced people-counting systems aren’t just for shopper measurement. The same technologies make it possible for you operations teams to measure, understand and optimize the way your teams work. You can measure any kind of people-based process: from curbside pickup fulfillment to stocking to ship from store.
You get detailed measurement of how Associates execute a process. Where they spend time. When they are stuck or idle. How crowded they get. Where bottlenecks occur.
We provide detailed metric breakouts all the way down to the individual worker level. Best of all, you get advanced Session Replay capabilities that let you watch, review, isolate and study key task journeys. It’s an incredible tool for operational improvement.
There are three important measurement technologies involved in people-tracking for process optimization: video camera, BLE tags, and mobile devices. Digital Mortar’s powerful DM1 Analytics Platform can use (and integrate) all three.
Camera provides the highest positional resolution and accuracy. It allows you to track highly detailed employee movements continuously. It also provides a rich data stream for advanced ML analytics around specific employee behaviors that go beyond basic position/time. But while camera is powerful, it’s also the most expensive measurement technology and it requires clear, unobstructed lines-of-sight. In crowded work environments with lots of obstructions, cameras can easily lose track of Associates. We use machine learning to “stitch” employee tracks together, but if you need to tie tracking to individuals or your work environment is highly cluttered, camera probably isn’t the right solution.
BLE Tags are small self-powered Bluetooth pingers. These small, light, very inexpensive little devices ping every second (or more) and their signals are collected by sensors (also inexpensive) that track their position. The pingers can be easily incorporated into a variety of form-factors including key-cards or thumb-drive like clip-ons. They can also be attached to equipment for tracking key devices. BLE tagging works in almost any environment, can track both people and machines, provides continuous tracking and it can tie measurement down to the individual Associate or item. On the other hand, BLE tracking isn’t as precise as camera, it requires a change to operational procedures (employees must carry a pinger), and it only provides positional data.
Mobile Apps provide similar measurement to BLE Tags. However, if your employees already carry mobile devices as part of their work processes, there are several advantages to App-based measurement. Using existing mobile devices requires NO CHANGE to operational procedures. Mobile devices often provide integratable data that can help you tie the geo-spatial part of the process to the underlying task. If employees already carry mobile devices then there is almost no infrastructure cost involved in this solution. Finally, mobile app tracking is more accurate than BLE (though not as accurate as camera).
In short, each technology has some specific advantages. We use them all and we’ll work with you to figure out the least expensive solution that meets your measurement and analysis needs.
DM1 gives you incredibly robust access to your data including powerful DVR like session replay capabilities. You can watch how people-processes unfold – matching playback speeds to your interest. Fast forward through a whole day. Or slow down and look at a specific time.
You can filter for sessions with particular patterns of behavior (time or location or Associate). You can turn historical trails on to see how a journey progressed. Or turn them off to see just what’s happening right now. Play back interrelated sessions. Pause at the critical moments. Even integrate process meta-data.
It’s an incredibly rich tool for helping you identify how a process is working. What went right and what went wrong.