amazon dash ariel

Automation stops errors

Sir, The article ‘Recalls don’t have to mean waste’ by Tom Rumboll of Company Shop (20 August, p20) discussed the high levels of food waste due to label and packaging errors. Surely a better solution is to proactively prevent recalls occurring in the first place.

Many manufacturers rely on people to record data and execute the product and packaging checks manually. Naturally, this results in errors and discrepancies, for instance, printing the wrong date code. The simplest way to stop errors is to remove the human element and automate the process.

It’s estimated that in the UK over 2,000 lines have automated verification systems, representing approximately 20% of the market. These automatic verification systems have dramatically reduced recalls, however not enough manufacturers have these safety systems.

Automated verification is often seen as a form of insurance. For hard-pressed manufacturers, the payback has sometimes been marginal, which has led to the verification systems providing productivity gains to make it commercially attractive. The gains are achieved by removing paper working, tracking downtime and automating QA checks on the same equipment.

Harry Norman, MD, OAL

Gadgets turn loyal

Sir, Amazon’s introduction of Dash may seem a mere novelty, but we believe it has the potential, linked to its Fresh service, to steal 20% of UK supermarket online sales. Dash ties consumers into Amazon for even more products. It also clears the way for Dash Replenishment: devices such as dishwashers and water filters will automatically order new supplies… from Amazon. Prime members already spend more than twice as much as non-members with Amazon; and now it has secured the automatic loyalty of your coffee machine.

David Jinks MILT, head of consumer research,

Instant gratification

Sir, The UK launch of the Amazon Dash button demonstrates the growing importance of time as a luxury purchase. By clicking a few buttons, consumers can instantly get the things that they want or need. Longer term, goods and services will need to be instantly available. Further ahead, as on-demand becomes the norm, retailers need to ask: what will become the premium version of on-demand?

Tom McQueen MD, Futurice