Warehousing is one of the major cost drivers in a company’s supply chain. It is not only the cost of storage that’s hurting the businesses but also the subsequent labor costs, capital cost, inventory carrying cost, service cost, risk cost, operations, and facilities management cost that are burning a deep hole in the company’s operational budget. These costs become a big concern at a time when most companies are serving their customers digitally; thereby, relying on warehouses to deliver the goods promptly. So with supply chain networks becoming increasingly sophisticated and warehouse costs skyrocketing, how can companies improve their warehouse efficiency? Leading companies are now embracing the mobile technology to overcome this hurdle. Mobile technology allows versatility and flexibility over legacy systems, which is why it has been widely accepted by companies to increase their warehouse efficiency.
Data Entry Speed
Traditional data management systems used logbooks and manual entries, which took a lot of time as goods and batches had to be individually processed. Cross-examination of data was complicated and time-consuming. However, the use of RFID and barcodes has completely changed the scenario. Performing routine tasks like receiving new shipments, performing cycle counts, and packing orders can now be fully automated, as RFID tags and sensors can automatically register the data. Also, one barcode scanner can perform the data entry task like assigning product code and batch number in a matter of second. As a result, mobile technology can significantly cut down the data entry time and significantly improve warehouse efficiency. Also, use of mobile printers allows employees to label an item with increased accuracy instantly.
Apart from allowing for faster data entry speed, RFID and barcode technology can be operated hands-free or without human intervention in some cases. Additionally, wearable technology and augmented reality (AR) can display the required product information without even having to handle the product. This way an attendant can glance at a product and receive full information without having to check the products manually. Hands-free operations can also be done in the data-entry process, as products with RFID sensors can automatically check-in itself when arriving at or leaving the warehouse; thereby, reducing the need to perform manual inventory checks. Such technologies can someday turn the vision of fully autonomous warehouse into a reality. For instance, HX3 from Honeywell can be worn on the wrist with all keypad options, which is designed for high-speed picking.
Using mobile technology alongside inventory management software can greatly improve the supply chain visibility of a company. With all the data entry happening in real time due to scanning technologies, up-to-date information on inventory database can be glanced on the mobile screen itself. It also provides details of each inbound or outbound orders and displays detail information such as the location of packages and estimated arrival time. Additionally, mobile technology can also assist the shipping department in verifying the order and printing bills laden with all the customer shipping information.
For more information on mobile technology to improve warehouse efficiency, warehouse operations, warehouse layout, and mobile communication, barcodes and RFID technology: