Warehouses are the unsung heroes of facilitating today’s in-demand consumer expectations, especially as e-commerce fulfillment increases throughout the holiday season. Warehouse and distribution center employees, however, can only move product as quickly and accurately as warehouse procedures support. Additionally, customers must have the ability to trace and account for all ordered items online. Minor missteps on warehouse floors can cause major and negative impacts on the supply chain.
Given the demand for efficient warehouse procedures across multiple industries, it’s imperative for warehouse management to consistently ensure accuracy, visibility, and real-time customer service. To achieve this, warehouse managers need the right tools and strategies to battle the biggest, and most common, warehouse management obstacles.
The Top Warehouse Management Problems
Physical Tickets Create Redundancy
When warehouse employees rely on a physical ticket that passed through multiple hands, rather than a stagnant barcode, to track a product, efficiency is greatly reduced. Barcode technology combats the problem by creating an automated up-to-date system to identify and track inventory, regardless of whether that product is in the hands of a picker, checker, stager, or loader.
The TC8000 Touch Computer from Zebra, for instance, boosts warehouse worker productivity by creating an automated barcode scanning system that decreases hands-on management and improves inventory accuracy. A special functionality of the TC8000 is its minimized ’tilt and verify’ motion with four advanced scanner options that guarantee to capture barcodes regardless of their condition. The touch computer’s groundbreaking proximity scanning feature also allows workers to choose how they want to scan, whether that’s wearing it in a hip holster, on a shoulder strap, or cradles in a desktop mount.
Difficulties Streamlining Inventory Management
Along with the common issues of redundant processes discussed above, not leveraging technology often results in inaccurate receipts, purchase orders, and inventory tracking. ASN (advance shipping notice) verification and labeling ensure all incoming materials are barcoded, so all products and items are ready for scanning. The RuggedJet RJ4030 Label Printer from Brother, for example, are fast, with print speeds up to 5ips, and support for major linear and 2D barcodes.
Without an automated system for managing and tracking inventory, it’s unclear to companies what they have in stock, which can lead to unexpected shortages or excess inventory. Barcode technology creates a clearer, more accurate picture of available inventory.
These streamlines in inventory management with the support of rugged technology also creates a better customer experience. Wireless LAN (local area network) allows customers to gain real-time access to the status of an order, whether it’s on its way or being returned. This means that returns are more quickly updated and validated for repair or issuing customer credit.
Forklift Operators Lack Mobility
An important aspect of warehouse space and organization is ensuring workers are empowered to do their jobs as efficiently and productively as possible. Forklifts are often the culprit of poor mobility within warehouses. One of the main factors driving this is a lack of mobility for operators, who usually rely on technology that’s unable to be moved from dashboards.
The Getac F110 is a fully rugged tablet featuring built-in WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, so workers can stay connected. Hot-swappable batteries make for endless power supply without the need to shut down applications. This fully rugged mobile device also has a 3-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, meaning a one-time investment in this advanced tech will save potential repair costs in the future.
If you’re looking for rugged mobile devices to outfit your warehouse workers, contact us for guidance on determining the best devices and accessories.