Employee and customer safety has become even more of a priority for retailers this year as a result of COVID-19. Over the past several months, we have seen retailers take action with higher cleanliness standards in warehouses, facilities and physical stores. As this trend continues to remain top of mind, we wanted to share expert advice and explore advanced safety technologies that are being used across the industry.

This week, we spoke to Taylor Smith, CMO for Productivity Products at Honeywell. He leads the marketing and strategy efforts for this division, which supports productivity and safety of more than half a billion workers worldwide. Honeywell’s productivity offerings include asset management software, rugged mobile computers, voice-enabled software, barcode scanners, and printing solutions.

 

Current Industry Trends

As we’ve all adjusted to the global health crisis, a recurring pain point Smith observed is that businesses need more options to address social distancing and new cleaning procedures mandated by the WHO and CDC, all while maintaining employee productivity.

It starts in the warehouses and facilities, then trickles down from there. If workers in these spaces adhere to social distancing and receive the proper tools to ensure device cleaning, then the employees and customers of the end product will have confidence in knowing new procedures have been implemented.

 

Disinfectant-Ready Housings

Aside from social distancing and mandatory face coverings, companies have more hand cleaning stations, alternating shifts to limit the number of people in areas and routine temperature checks. Health experts are recommending that organizations adopt protocols for routine cleaning and disinfecting of devices for employee health and safety.

Honeywell was the first company in the barcode scanning industry to introduce disinfectant-ready housings (DRHs) for healthcare grade products, but now they’ve extended this capability to general purpose products. DRHs utilize plastics designed to withstand the harshness of frequent cleaning with disinfectants, without compromising the lifespan of equipment.

 

Operational Intelligence Features

Smith noted additional features that have crossed over from the healthcare industry into retail, such as remote asset management software. These new health crisis features give associates control to act quickly, thereby increasing productivity and decreasing device downtime, while reducing frequency of contact or touch.

  • Device Cleaning Manager – This allows retailers to set-up configurable cleaning protocols for each asset on an hourly, daily or in-between shift basis. Each cleaning event then gets logged with the user, time and date for reporting.
  • Social Distance Proximity Detection – This enables retailers to prioritize and monitor social distancing between Honeywell devices. It will log alerts if the device-enabled user gets too close to another device-enabled user, reducing the frequency of contact.
  • Customer Counter – This helps retailers enforce occupancy by stationing associates at multiple entrances and exits. It has an easy-to-use interface that allows associates to simply add or subtract shoppers who enter and leave the store.

The top recommendation from Smith is for retailers to take a second look at their operations data and onsite systems to see if there are opportunities to institute more health-conscious initiatives as the year progresses.

For more insights, watch this week’s episode of the Returns Report below and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to stay up to date on retail & returns trends.