Embracing Change

Jennifer Maloney
April 23, 2020

At Numina Group, we’ve been challenged like so many others to find our way through the major disruptions we’re all facing today.

At Numina Group, we’ve been challenged like so many others to find our way through the major disruptions we’re all facing today. But we’ve found new ways to keep business moving forward – using tech tools that don’t require a major investment or require advanced training.

In particular, Numina Group has adopted three tech tools that enable us to collaborate from anywhere – between our team members and with our clients.

Video conferencing software – Like Everyone, we’ve replaced face-to-face meetings with videoconferencing meetings that are proving to be highly productive. In fact, they’ve quickly become a daily meeting point for our team. Following are a few tips we’ve learned along the way.

  • Set up the call with an agenda.
  • Get your materials organized and if there are multiple presenters, designate a slide owner to advance everyone’s slides for them.
  • Let attendees know if you require video or not. It’s not always necessary but can be beneficial for building rapport and keeping members engaged, especially if you’re not able to meet face-to-face for weeks at a time.
  • Know your audience – make sure that whenever you invite new people, they are prepped in advance in how to use the software.
  • If the group is large, make sure you have someone monitoring questions – not the presenter – in order to let them focus on leading the meeting.
  • If there are action items to be followed up on after the call, close the loop via a follow up summary email.
  • Schedule the next meeting while you’re on the call.
There are several video conferencing platforms available such as Zoom, GotoMeeting, and Basecamp, all either free or with a minimal month cost. One note, “free” sounds good, but make sure it meets your needs and does not limit meeting times or present security risks.

Numina Group now conducts internal meetings for training purposes as well as business planning via video conferencing. We are also working with clients and prospective customers on ongoing projects that we would previously meet onsite to complete. This has made it possible to keep projects moving, even in a shelter-in-place world.

Smartsheet – Ultra User-Friendly Cloud-based Project Management Platform

Our team has also recently, and quickly, adopted SmartSheet as a collaborative project tracking platform for our internal teams and with our clients. At first glance Smartsheet looks like a spreadsheet or project management tool, but it is so intuitive and easy to learn that we’ve been able to accomplish much more, faster. Our clients are even able to log in and collaborate with us. It has proven to be effective for novices and advanced Excel users.

We’re now collaborating with our clients via Smartsheets, which is much more efficient than passing email reminders back and forth on project tasks and deadlines. Our team members and customers can quickly log in to a Smartsheet and view project milestones, due dates, attached documents and more.

Cell phones cameras and Webcams for remote visibility–

We all rely on setting up low-cost webcams or cell phones for connecting with client teams. This allows us to provide remote support and troubleshooting to assist our support services and keep projects moving. Recently, our software development team set-up web cams at the customer’s start-up site to supply visibility to our Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) partner, Waypoint. Their New Hampshire based software and support team was able to observe the robot’s pick-up and transport activities of batch pick carts. With the ability to watch the action, they provided a few pointers to the Numina Group development team, allowing us to optimize the AMR travel path in the DC’s pick zones and reduce the cart pick-up and drop times by a few seconds.

Expanding the use of cameras is proving to be a valuable window into our customers’ facilities and a real-time diagnostic tool. This is incredibly helpful in troubleshooting and is a tool we will use going forward on our “go-live” warehouse automation projects.

New World Opportunities: Completing Warehouse Installations Without Being Onsite

At another client’s recent “go live” of a new conveyor and sorting system, due to the client’s health risk concerns related to the coronavirus, the client was hesitant to have the installation crew working during the main work shift at the same time as their staff in the facility.  To accommodate our client, and keep Numina Group employees and our customer’s employees as safe as possible, we arranged to shift install to second shift.  Working in combination with the client’s excellent teamwork, the Numina Group’s team was able to test over a weekend and go live on Sunday with 1,000 order shipments using the new pack and ship conveyor and parcel sorting system.

Key Steps Taken to Facilitate Successful Start-Up:

  1. Relied on videoconferencing to have live team discussions for problem solving, status tracking, and facilitating the next steps that need to be tackled.
  2. Project was made available to internal team and client’s team via Smartsheet.
  3. Installed Numina WES/WCS via remote software tools.
  4. Even though majority of our team was remote, we were able to fully assist and train the client’s team over the weekend. When questions arose – we were on-line real-time with phone and Zoom using wireless tablets to support the client’s team.

Overall, the project went live on time and was successfully implemented, thanks to everyone’s commitment and the availability of technology that enabled connectivity.

The Silver Lining Amidst Disruption

Based on the positive outcomes we’ve gained with these new technologies, we’ll continue to use these tools even after the COVID-19 crisis is just a bad memory!  Our willingness to embrace change and the can do attitude of our team, allowed us to develop new methods to save time, keep project communications moving, and improve customer site visibility support. Despite the demanding circumstances that we are all facing, Numina Group is well-equipped to handle all of challenges facing you in your distribution and material handling operations.  If you have warehouse challenges that you would like address, speak to one of our knowledgeable warehouse automation experts.

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