Each year, Modern’s Productivity Achievement Awards honor those companies that made outstanding operational improvements through materials handling systems and related information systems.
Modern’s editorial team selects finalists from among the monthly system reports Modern published in the previous year. A panel of industry experts then reviews the finalists in each category, selects a winner and explains his or her thoughts on what set each winning company apart.
Finalists in the Manufacturing and Warehousing/Distribution categories are recognized for their ability to provide outstanding customer service, quickly respond to changing business conditions, deliver orders that meet customer requirements, and improve operations. The Innovation category recognizes a company that successfully employed a solution that defies convention.
In addition to achievements in productivity throughput or efficiency, winners were also judged on how projects inside the four walls enable or complement the broader business objectives of the company.
This year’s Productivity Achievement Awards judges were: Norm Saenz, managing director at St. Onge Co.; Jim Tompkins, chairman and CEO of supply chain consulting and implementation firm Tompkins International; and Christian Dow, executive vice president of membership and industry leadership for MHI.
The judges expressed difficulty in selecting between competitive finalists, but were ultimately unanimous. The winners illustrate how significant adversity can be overcome with strategic planning and targeted, future-proof investment. For the full text of the honorable mentions and winners, visit mmh.com and search for “Year in Review: 2019 System Reports.”
Judges’ comments on Warehousing/Distribution Award winner Indiana University Health
“This was a tough decision. I am ultimately most impressed with the use of the automation and the design used for the Indiana University Health. The health care industry continues to transition from using third-party provider networks to self-distribution and logistics networks. The IUH design uses multiple automation design solutions and is built for future expansion. Currently servicing 16 hospital locations around the state, they are planning to expand the support across the state to multiple locations. Ultimately, with an impressive 2.5-year payback on the design earns them this year’s award.”
“I was struck by the patient care culture at IUH, which focused on this key objective in the creation and implementation of their new facility. They worked with the hospitals and key stakeholders and connected their own associates to this patient-centered culture. The system lowered their cost of fulfillment, improved the availability of critical and high-volume SKUs, and kept the user and patient in mind throughout implementation. The IUH solution delivered a new level of customer service, lowered costs, improved operations and connected to and complimented the company’s overall vision.”
Judges’ comments on 2020 Manufacturing Award winner GE Appliances
“GE Appliances took on the massive challenge of transforming its supply chain to compete in a digital world with a host of new order fulfillment requirements, including “more than 20 flavors of orders.” The results speak for themselves, and should inspire other manufacturers on a similar path.”
“Trends in distribution flow from trends in the consumer space, and by focusing on what customers want, GE Appliances was able to design fulfillment processes and core warehouses built for speed. Digitalization has increased visibility and responsiveness, and will position them to respond better to changing conditions going forward.”
“GE Appliances and its project partners were painstaking about the details, from lift truck attachments and operator training all the way up to network design. Their efforts were expansive and comprehensive, but each small decision was based on how best to serve customers. In addition to improvements in efficiency, productivity and safety, this project will ensure GE Appliances remains competitive.”
Judges’ comments on Innovation Award winner Rakuten
“The growth in e-commerce and the need for same- and next-day delivery is booming and driving the need for more facilities that are smaller and automated. Adding the shortage of labor, the use of robotics for piece and case picking is on the rise. Rakuten is using autonomous mobile robots, integrated with operators, to meet the demands of their customers.”
“This is a great example of a forward-thinking organization. They look forward to identify the issues they will have in five years, anticipate their solutions and create programs to solve them long before the issues surface. Their plan included implementing new technologies within smaller facility footprints and creating a culture shift among their organization to adopt and support this continual innovation.”
“The Rakuten solution creates a plan to continually improve on the customer experience while anticipating and responding to a rapidly changing environment. The solution will ultimately reduce costs, improve operations, allow for flexibility for future business objectives and is in line with and complements the company’s overall vision.”
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