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Distribution centres are getting bigger and are carrying more items than ever. In a recent survey by one of our partners, Zebra, more than half of respondents reported plans to increase the number of SKUs in their warehouse, the number of items carried and their annual inventory turnover.  

At the same time, they are facing unrelenting pressures to reduce operating costs, manage their workforce more effectively and improve customer service.

So can both these sets of objectives be met? It’s possible - if best practices for integrating mobile, wireless and data capture technologies into warehouse management are followed. And we can help.

The answer is mobility and automation

54% of the average distribution centre’s workforce is consumed in the picking workflow. Inefficient picking and filling operations cause inventory inaccuracies that all too often lead to costly out-of-stock, lost orders, disappointed customers and lost revenues. This makes performance gains in picking extremely valuable to your operations. In the next five years, almost 70% of the respondents in Zebra’s survey indicated plans to increase automated picking processes and 66% plan to equip staff with more technology.

Adding mobility and automation to picking operations is the optimum solution, allowing the same number of workers to process more orders per day with fewer errors - improving customer service and reducing costs.

Technology can improve productivity

Deploying warehouse mobility in the pick and fill functions enables you to know what products are on your warehouse shelves and exactly where they’re located. With legacy pick and fill processes, up to 70% of a picker’s time can be spent walking, wasting time and reducing productivity. Solutions like Honeywell’s Vocollect™ or Zebra’s TekSpeech Pro® for example boost the effectiveness of your multi-modal picking, put-away, replenishment and other warehouse applications, such as capturing random (or catch) weights without having to weigh orders. Pickers can build pallets and process customized instructions more effectively using voice than other technology options.  In fact, on average Vocollect™ or Zebra’s TekSpeech Pro® improves productivity by 10% to 25%. Some solutions can deliver ROI in just 9 to 12 months. 

Connected solutions with scanners, printers and wearable components

As well as voice guided solutions we can provide handheld and wearable computers for order fulfilment workflows. For the packing process for example, pairing a fixed smart printer and media with a scanner loaded with MDI software provides a total solution. The smart printer can actually host the shipping/manifesting software, eliminating the need for costly and space consuming monitors and keyboards.

Our printing and media capabilities also enable you to create a single combined packing list/destination label to apply to the outbound carton. This eliminates the need, cost and unproductive time of having to print paper packing lists and enclose them in self-adhering envelopes to the carton.

To find out how your Distribution Centre can benefit from our mobile, wireless and data capture solutions for order fulfilment and picking processes, contact us today.

 

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