Some pundits predict that the majority of business will be conducted digitally within the next five years. That may or may not be accurate but the trend is clear. As such, warehouse operators should be reacting to this quickly and looking at ways to implement some of the latest technology innovations, keeping them up with the latest developments and saving time and money. This will not only ensure that these companies will be future-proofed but should deliver an enhanced experience for customers and businesses involved.
Here we explore the technologies that could improve and increase warehouse efficiency.
Mobile technology gives workers access to systems from anywhere in the warehouse almost instantly. Most warehouses still continue to use fixed stations where they perform data entry tasks or printing and picking lists and labels. Mobile technology can help to streamline this:
Computers are now no longer confined to desktop computers. With the same reliability, computing power and standard of business, you can now find them in warehouses in mobile form or rugged tablets.
Most rugged tablets and mobile computers are designed for extreme warehouse conditions such as dust, shock, dirt and different temperatures. Most also have military grade certification so there no worry about durability. They are also equipped with long last batteries and wireless network capabilities so they can be used anywhere in the warehouse.
These give workers the freedom to generate and print labels from anywhere in the warehouse without it having to be in a specific location. As long as there is a good wireless warehouse network, printing labels on site will avoid unnecessary walking time.
Barcode scanners are at the heart of an efficient warehouse. From receiving to putting away, picking, packing, sorting and shipping, barcode scanners speed up the stock control process. They are no longer just nice to have – they are a must-have.
Scanners are evolving into to more mobile, ergonomic and user-friendly devices – and are now more affordable than ever before.
Pallet and box dimensioning systems can drastically reduce a time-consuming task, automating the measuring and verification steps that this involves in many warehouses.
Dimension systems measure pallets or boxes, automatically putting this information into a warehouse receipt. Additionally, some systems can go as far as taking high definition snapshots of the cargo giving their customers visual proof of their shipment. This is done in all less than 10 seconds.
Lean inventory management systems can also help to ensure that stock is ordered, kept and distributed in an efficient way, avoiding any waste. The basic premise of it is ‘only have what you need and nothing more’, and using such a system can help you, for example, to get suppliers to deliver smaller quantities more frequently. They ensure you can keep track of everything coming in and out too, helping to stay on top of a flexible, fast moving warehouse environment.
Improving your warehouse efficiency is as much about common sense as it is technology. Keep up to date with all the latest industry news and watch your efficiency grow and your warehouse expand.