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How the Pandemic is Driving Rapid Kiosk Adoption

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on every industry, forcing businesses across Canada to come to terms with new operating environments. Many are looking for ways to deliver a positive employee and customer experience, while improving safety and reducing costs. Kiosks, or automated self-service devices, can play a key role in this.

The Evolution of Kiosks

From a slow start for ATMs, followed by the first network of interactive kiosks developed by Florsheim Shoe Company, self-service kiosks have come a long way. Now, a variety of industries rely on self-service kiosks, from basic search functions to multi-use devices where customers can order products and check out instantly.

Every day, the need for kiosks is evolving and new kiosks are being deployed in a variety of traditional and new settings, including healthcare, retail, banks, food service, government agencies, school campuses, and more.

The Diversification of Kiosk Needs

Kiosks for purchasing tickets at movie theatres, banks, airport check-in and wayfinding in malls are all familiar, but there are many other uses—especially now during these unprecedented times of social distancing and safety measures.

The healthcare industry provides a first example of the rapid growth and evolving need for self-service kiosks. Pharmacies are increasingly using kiosks to store and dispense drugs safely, such as the case with Vancouver’s opioid dispenser program.

Kiosks also play an important role in retail and transportation settings to ensure that Canadians have access to everything from hand sanitizer to personal protective equipment. For example, CleanSlate UV Sanitizers are being stationed in department stores and restaurants, while Metrolinx’s vending machines house personal protective equipment for those who need it to take public transit.

Many employers are also now using kiosks to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms, while others are automating back-office functions such as cash and shift management.

In addition to safety, kiosks can also enhance convenience. For instance, Snaile’s secure parcel lockers are turning up in condominium and apartment buildings to keep up with the volume of online shopping, while Canadian Tire is using secure parcel lockers in its stores for customers who buy online but prefer to pick up in person.

Best Practices for Adopting Kiosks in a Low-Touch World

While it seems as though kiosks are everywhere, it’s a complex process to deploy them. This process begins with asking the right questions. Will the kiosk be indoors or outdoors? Will it be used by employees or consumers? Does it need additional security measures? How will it accommodate accessibility requirements?

A solid strategy is needed to answer these important questions. Kiosk strategies should consider everything from getting the necessary permits to managing the complex logistics to ship, install, and maintain the devices.

Once a strategy is established, the kiosk can be implemented. This is where careful planning begins to pay off. In most cases, the team will need to work with property owners, site managers and others to ensure your installation is as unobtrusive as possible. Your strategy partner can manage the end-to end pre- and post-delivery requirements—leveraging trained teams who know how to handle delicate technology shipments.

After implementation comes installation. Kiosk installations can be complex. Your kiosk or logistics partner may need to configure the devices, test them and train your staff in how to use, troubleshoot and maintain them. Lastly, it’s important to understand that kiosks require regular maintenance and sometimes quick repairs. All kiosk owners will need to plan for routine maintenance services and to consider how to respond in case a kiosk is broken, vandalized or in need of upgrades.

A Spotlight on CleanSlate UV:

A prime example of the importance of a strategic partner when installing and managing kiosks is SCI’s recent work with CleanSlate.

The CleanSlate UV Sanitizer is a hospital-grade device that uses medical-grade UV light to sanitize mobile devices in just 20 seconds.

SCI provided CleanSlate UV with strategic planning, inbound logistics, warehousing, delivery, on-site installation, field service and distribution of critical spare parts. Of course, there were numerous challenges that had to be navigated, including tight delivery windows in downtown metropolitan locations, quickly installing the units and removing debris, and providing 24-hour turnaround times for on-site service—all during the uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SCI team drew on its planning and strategy expertise to help CleanSlate UV successfully deploy, install and provide servicing for its product across Canada in a matter of weeks.

“I’m pleased with how SCI managed the launch as our partner. We’ve experienced significant growth, and having an agile and strategic partner is key,” explains Scott Mason, Co-founder of CleanSlate UV. “We had to respond rapidly to the uncertainties of the pandemic with our product, and this often meant that we asked SCI to take on new scope at a moment’s notice.”

The Importance of Choosing the Right Kiosk Partner

While all of these best practices may seem overwhelming, most organizations leverage a kiosk partner to help them navigate through the complicated process and ensure they stick to their strategy.

An experienced kiosk partner will work closely with its customers to identify who will be using a kiosk, how it will be used, and the likely number of users, and then develop a comprehensive design specification that directly caters to these factors. They will also be available to help with issues as and when they arise.

Looking Forward

Kiosks are already helping businesses get back to work and go about their everyday activities safely. As the technology evolves, we are likely to see continued rapid growth in this space.

As kiosks continue to gain popularity, it’s important that businesses understand the best practices to ensure they install and maintain the kiosk properly.

An experienced kiosk partner can help businesses plan and execute a kiosk program and will remain on board to train staff and provide 24/7 support. SCI provides such expertise and helps leading Canadian brands delight customers and stay agile every day. With our coast-to-coast network and expert installation and support, we provide end-to-end kiosk project planning and management across Canada.

Learn more about our SCI kiosk solutions or point-of-sale technology support.

 

 

About SCI
SCI is one of Canada’s leading providers of supply chain solutions that go beyond traditional logistics services. SCI’s tagline “We’ll make you even better” is a commitment today from a business that’s leading clients into tomorrow. Trusted by clients in the retail, e-commerce, technology, and healthcare sectors, SCI operates the most extensive national distribution and transportation network in Canada, consisting of 30 distribution centres coast to coast along with over 40 critical parts stocking locations and specialized white glove shipping hubs. SCI shares the learnings from the sectors they operate in, providing the audience with information to guide their supply chain to success through blog posts, case studies and white papers.

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Managing White Glove Delivery Of MRI Machine To A Leading Canadian Healthcare Facility

Recently, SCI worked alongside the McGill University Health Centre on the delivery and installation of Canada’s most sophisticated heart MRI machine.

The new machine will allow the centre to carry out heart observations that are otherwise impossible, such as swelling, increased fat content and a lack of oxygen, with the hopes of faster and more accurate diagnoses. The health centre expects to carry out up to 2,500 research scans per year.

For SCI, this unique supply chain situation required a creative solution for our white glove team to deliver this high-value machine in a timely manner. SCI’s extensive experience in the delivery and installation of highly complex equipment allowed the team to build and execute a plan that ensured client success.


As part of the process, the team was equipped with handheld computers, cellular communications and GPS tracking devices to coordinate the delivery and installation while monitoring and reporting the shipment status. This $4 million, 7.7-tonne 3T General Electric SIGNA machine was shipped with the utmost care utilizing air-ride vehicles and the most up to date equipment.

On September 21, the MRI was expertly transported to the facility by highly-trained SCI personnel. One of the biggest challenges of the installation was getting the machine onto the second floor. Our solution was to cut a hole in the exterior of the building big enough to lift the machine through. Once that was complete, the team cautiously lifted the MRI by crane through the opening, onto the second floor and straight into the radiology department.

“The delivery and installation of this MRI is just one example of our expertise in white glove transportation services,” said Chris Galindo, CEO, SCI Group Inc. “These types of transfers require precise handling, special equipment and highly trained personnel to execute delivery properly and securely. We’ve also invested in the latest shipping technologies, such as two-way imaging, video feeds and temperature monitoring, to provide our clients with real time visibility to these valuable shipments.”

SCI’s continued investment into healthcare, including the launch of our healthcare-dedicated facilities in Toronto and Vancouver in 2019, have allowed us to streamline clients’ supply chain demands and reduce overall complexity so that our clients can continue to focus on customer care and research. All solutions are governed by SCI’s Quality Management System which operates rigid process controls through all areas of the supply chain. This ensures healthcare clients will effectively comply with Canadian regulatory standards and safety protocols.

Contact SCI today for more information on how our full-service end-to-end supply chain capabilities will make you even better.

 

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Defining Supply Chain Resiliency

July 27, 2020

The past two decades have been turbulent for the global supply chain as political, climate and social disruptions continue to pose significant challenges. Most recently, of course, we’ve been contending with the COVID-19 disruption.

In fact, by March of this year, the largest global companies and their suppliers had more than 12,000 factories, warehouses, and other facilities in COVID-19 quarantined areas.1 Most of these facilities have since moved out of quarantine, but the stark lessons of early 2020 underscore an urgent need for resilient supply chains.

Even after global or regional cases of COVID-19 decline, experts believe it might take years for supply chains to fully recover. This means supply chain leaders should be focusing on long-term resiliency.

Defining Resiliency

Resilience is more than a supply chain’s ability to avoid or mitigate the impact of disruptive events; it’s also the ability to recover quickly. Strategic planning needs to understand a wide range of external and internal risks and their possible impacts.

Conventional wisdom tell us that a supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This means the resilience strategy must extend beyond an organization’s self‐assessment to include the strengths and weaknesses of its suppliers and partners from raw materials to end consumers.

This fulsome view of the supply chain also identifies opportunities for continuous improvement programs that enable faster pivots for processes and policies as conditions change. For example, the Government of Canada is working with SCI to build resiliency in essential services supply chains through its new a contingency reserve of front-line personal protective equipment (PPE).

Strategic vs. Reactive: Recognizing the Need for Resiliency

As the need for resilient supply chains becomes more prevalent, executives are starting to recognize the important role resilience plays. By next year, almost half (47 per cent) of industry leaders will view supply chain resilience to external disruptions as a strategic priority, which is more than double the number in 2018 (22 per cent).2 Given recent events, that cohort is likely a lot larger.

Despite this attention to strategic supply chain planning and management, many organizations are stuck in a reactive mindset, where the focus is on cutting costs and squeezing out additional efficiencies. This stance limits growth, and increases vulnerability when it comes to disruptive events – the opposite of a resilient supply chain.
When supply chain teams have a seat at the strategic planning table they can get out of cost-reduction mode and start proactively finding ways to manage risk, mitigate impacts, facilitate recovery and design resiliency into every process and partnership.

Why Invest in a Resilient Supply Chain?

If you’re trying to build the business case for a more strategic supply chain management practice, consider that an analysis by Bain shows that companies with resilient supply chains grow faster because they can move rapidly to meet customers’ needs when market demands shift. The analysis also shows that a resilient supply chain increases perfect order rates as much as 40 per cent and increases customer satisfaction by as up to 30 per cent.

Understanding the top line and bottom line contributions of a resilient supply chain are key to moving beyond a reactive approach. A good place to start is working with an experienced 3PL partner that can provide an end-to-end analysis of your supply chain along with a detailed design for long-term resilience and, yes, lower costs and more efficiency.

1. Tom Linton, Bindiya Vakil, Coronavirus Is Proving We Need More Resilient Supply Chains, Harvard Business Review, March 20, 2020

2. Simon Ellis, Jeffrey Hojlo, Leveraging an Intelligent Digital Supply Chain, IDC, March 2019

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Growth leaders are improving their fulfillment capabilities

An Excerpt from “5 insights from Canada’s fastest-growing retailers” by Canada Post, 2020

Getting fulfillment right has never been more important. Not only can it save you time and money, but it can help you win repeat customers.
Growth leaders are starting to recognize that fulfillment has the power to deliver a competitive advantage, and they’re looking to third-party logistics (3PL) providers for help.
3PL providers warehouse e-commerce goods and fulfill orders on behalf of e-merchants. Though outsourcing fulfillment to 3PL providers is only somewhat higher (11%) for growth leaders than the rest of the market, growth leaders are three times more inclined than other e-merchants to say that outsourcing fulfillment will be a high priority for them over the next 12 to 18 months.
They’re also 49% more inclined to say that expanding their fulfillment capability – for example, by opening a new fulfillment centre – will be a high priority during this time frame.

Benefits of outsourcing order fulfillment
Free up more time for selling
As they scale their business, many e-merchants find the task of fulfilling orders starts to become overwhelming and takes working hours away from selling their products. If your business is facing this challenge, it might be time to consider partnering with a 3PL provider.
Reduce operating costs
When you partner with a 3PL provider, you can benefit from their operational efficiencies and may be able to leverage their buying power on packaging and shipping costs.
Improve customer service
High-quality customer service is essential to customer acquisition and loyalty. Almost half of online shoppers say they’ve avoided repurchasing from a particular retailer or abandoned their shopping cart because the customer service they received when they encountered an issue with their order was not helpful. Many 3PL providers offer 24/7 customer support for executing returns, exchanges, refunds, and more. This is accomplished via email, website, or phone.

Growth leaders are enhancing their order fulfillment process
Expert Perspectives: When asked about what they’re seeing from fast growing clients that are making the most of outsourcing fulfillment, SCI Logistics shared that they’re seeing retailers benefit most from the partner’s ability to support their needs today and prepare them for the future. With the right fulfillment partner, retailers benefit from so much more than space that can easily scale. They get access to guidance and best practice for their specific business, technology (WMS) that can help streamline their operations and expertise to help them handle fluctuations and growth curves in their business.

Pro tip: Know your business and do your research. If you’re growing quickly and have the cash on hand to outsource, third-party warehousing and fulfillment is worth exploring. However, outsourcing might not be for you if you have unique packaging needs.
Reality check: You do lose some control over how your products are shipped when you outsource fulfillment – so it’s important to find the right partner and to keep the lines of communication open, especially when it comes to inventory.

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How SCI is Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

As we continue to monitor ongoing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the safety and security of our employees remains a top priority at SCI.

As a trusted supply chain partner, we are committed to helping the clients and communities who rely on our services to stay safe, keep their businesses running and get through these uncertain times.

We have deployed a national strategy that accounts for the essential functions and services performed across our locations so we can continue to provide exceptional service – all while keeping the safety of our employees and clients top of mind.

In light of this, we wanted to share more about how we are adapting our service to best support our clients and employees.

  • Our competent and professional employees remain on the frontline delivering vital supplies to healthcare facilities and essential supplies for people and businesses.
  • We’ve put in place advanced sanitation practices at our distribution centres and increased the frequency of sanitation practices.
  • Our drivers are equipped with extra products to maintain hygiene and, for the safety of our customers and themselves, will be practicing physical distancing.
  • We’re following all advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and medical experts to guide our COVID-19 response and protect our employees, customers and the communities we serve.
  • We are responding to all client inquiries with speed, integrity and compassion.
  • We continue to monitor this fluid situation and will adapt, as necessary, to ensure essential services remain operational.

We’d like to thank our dedicated staff for their tireless efforts over the past few weeks. Your hard work is deeply appreciated.

We are all in this together, and we will overcome this together. Thank you for your continued trust in SCI.

Chris Galindo

President & CEO

SCI Group Inc

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5 Key Learnings from The New Age of B2B Consumerism Technology Summit from SCI’s CEO, Chris Galindo

The continuing evolution of new technology has caused an ever-changing rise in consumer expectations, which is now impacting B2B business. These increasing demands are forcing companies to develop new strategies to keep up with these continuously evolving advancements.

Our latest SCI Technology Summit on October 24th, brought together top industry experts to talk about this new age of B2B consumerism. Our speakers and panelists discussed the impact of new technology on B2B business and shared insights on how they’re keeping pace with growing technology demands.

Below are my top five takeaways from the summit:

1) B2C is impacting B2B expectations

B2C customer experiences are setting the bar high, and expectations that customers have in their personal lives are directly impacting B2B decision-making habits. According to Salesforce, an astounding 72% of businesses buyers say they expect vendors to personalize each interaction based on their needs.

To succeed in this ever-evolving environment, companies should consider how to become an extension of their customers to better understand their needs.

2) Focus on a great customer experience

With more transactions happening online or through technology like AI or chatbots, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to personalize the customer relationship.

Yet it’s clear the customer experience remain paramount, with 60 per cent of customers saying are willing to pay more for something with which they have had a great experience (CompTIA research).
Companies need to have a clear customer experience vision. Knowing your customer personas and habits and soliciting feedback in real time can also help businesses personalize the customer journey in a digital age.

3) Optimize machine learning

Machine learning is a field of research that allows a computer to be able to learn from past experiences and is an aspect of technology that is becoming increasingly important, particularly for inventory management.

Machine learning can be used to manage complex and high volumes of data, as well as understand the potential uptake of specific products. It can also be leveraged to predict future sales patterns and foresee when a product may become obsolete.

All of this can help optimize the supply chain and drive improved customer experience and sales.

4) Re-purpose instead of recycle technology

The rapid evolution of technology is causing a high level of “tech waste”. When it comes to end-of-life tech, it’s much more sustainable to reuse technology parts than to recycle.

In the end of life process it is not just about the part any more but also about the data held on any devices being recycled. While 93 per cent of companies say data security is important, only 2 in 10 had a company to assist in managing their obsolete technology and ensure all confidential data had been erased.

It’s imperative for companies to ensure they are properly managing end-of-life tech both for sustainability and security reasons.

5) Adapt to the Speed of Change

To succeed in this current, fluid marketplace, companies need to focus on the customer journey and have the flexibility to scale up or scale down, depending on customer needs.

As expectations continue to rise, technology remains key in building and maintaining strong customer relationships, managing staffing needs and even when considering new real estate space.
I’d like to thank all our speakers, panelists and guests who attended and participated in these important discussions at the recent summit.

It was a great day of information sharing, networking and learning about the impact and influence of technology on B2B business, and it’s clear technology will continue to impact and drive B2B trends for years to come.

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