Using technology to improve warehouse productivity
Improving productivity in the warehouse has become exponentially easier due to advances in technology. With advances in rugged handheld computers, wireless barcode scanners, label printers, and the cloud-based inventory management software that ties them all together, your inventory management strategy can be the central component that seamlessly merges your operations. Using the latest technology from Zenventory for inventory management and Zebra Technologies for their wide variety of rugged handheld devices that are certified to work with Zenventory, you will discover that updating the technology in your warehouse can not only make life easier for your employees but also increase sales and save you money.
Top 5 ways to make the most of technology in the warehouse
Communicating with your employees throughout the warehouse can affect efficiency and productivity. Zebra has a perfect solution for barcode scanning with a rugged handheld computer that also comes equipped with handy communication features. The TC70 rugged handheld computer features a radio function while also doubling as a mobile phone. With Zebra certification, Zenventory’s mobile application runs on this device allowing for real time inventory management on the floor and across multiple warehouses. Receive notifications from Zenventory right on the device!
Zenventory has a receiving function that is available through the mobile app. You can have your rugged handheld with you at the receiving area, use the barcode scanner to verify the items, then move straight to the put-away process, all at once. The more inventory is waiting on the sidelines between the receiving and put-away process, the more time and money you could be spending versus having it on the shelf and ready to sell. Zenventory updates your inventory database in real time and allows you to store your items with total accuracy.
The organization of your warehouse determines how efficiently your employees are retrieving and putting away items. Zenventory maps item locations down into sub-location categories so you can stay organized. Down to the aisle, shelf, and bin, items can be located quickly and accurately thanks to Zenventory. Apart from locating your inventory, it’s important to have systems in place for easy pallet, bin, and racking access. Employees shouldn’t have to make multiple trips around the warehouse to pick orders. The more attention you give to item organization, the less time you waste preparing orders for shipment.
If the wrong items are pulled for an order, not only will someone have to go back for the correct item, but more time is wasted getting the other item back to where it belongs. You can easily track all specific item SKUs needed for pending orders in Zenventory and immediately identify how many you have and where they are located. Combined pick lists allow you to complete several orders at once and keep them all in order with Zenventory’s claiming process to ensure that no double shipment errors will be made.
It is critical to keep tabs on the stock levels of hot selling products, not only to facilitate reorders but also to ward off problems of theft or wastage. Without the hassle of closing down operations for a wall-to-wall inventory, you can schedule regular cycle counts for designated locations throughout your warehouse at any time of the day and check on your stock using the Zenventory mobile app. Managing this process electronically with a system like Zenventory also prevents double counting, since only one user can claim a particular count at once.
What makes a handheld device rugged?
Rugged handheld computers are designed to work under even the most unforgiving of conditions like bad weather, extreme temperatures, shocks and drops, dust, sand, and water. There are various elements of a rugged commercial device that set it apart from consumer-grade counterparts.
These devices are crafted to absorb impact from falls and prevent particulates and water from entering the internal workings, with the most durable handhelds currently in the market like the Zebra TC70 receiving a rating of IP67. An article from DC Velocity explains the Ingress Protection (IP) Code rating further.
“Each shell carries an Ingress Protection (IP) Code rating that consists of two digits. The first refers to the level of protection against solid objects, and the second refers to protection against liquids. The lowest IP rating would be 11 – protected against a solid object greater than 50mm (about 2 inches) in diameter and against falling drops of water, with limited ingress of water allowed. The highest rating would be “68”—no dust penetration, and protected against long periods of immersion in water under pressure. The highest-rated handheld computers for warehouse and transportation applications on the market today are rated IP67—dust-tight and able to withstand immersion in water at depths of up to one meter (about 3.3 feet).”
The smartphone style handhelds offered by Zebra that run the Zenventory mobile application utilize familiar touchscreen functionality. These screens are made of either polycarbonate plastic or specially strengthened glass, and must be easy to read under any condition or lighting situation to work well in warehouses. Glass touchscreens are best suited for graphics-based software like Zen Mobile. And because of recent innovations in strengthened glass production, it has become the material of choice for rugged handheld devices using technology such as Corning’s Gorilla Glass.
The inner workings of these devices are engineered to handle hard knocks and drops while insulating sensitive electronics with buffering space to prevent damage from falls. A big factor in these devices is the battery life. Compared to their commercial counterparts, rugged handheld computers offer a more powerful battery that not only holds its charge throughout a full work day but also offers a longer lifespan; up to two years compared to as little as six months from consumer-grade devices.
When you’re looking at device accessories like docking stations, mounting hardware, and grips, be sure that they meet the same standards as your rugged devices to ensure longevity all around on your devices.
Now is the time to upgrade
With the progress that cloud based software has made over the years, there are excellent solutions now available for your inventory operations. With the tools provided by Zenventory, businesses are able to boost productivity, save money, and ultimately do more business with less work. The upfront investment for hardware is minimal compared to the long-term cost of shipping errors or wasted man-hours, and the longevity and strength of these devices means that they can continue running strong far beyond the expected life span of a consumer-grade device. If you’re still struggling with manual inventory management or Excel spreadsheets, check out this free eBook on how switching to cloud-based software can help your business.[rad_rapidology_inline optin_id=optin_7]