When your business grows, it’s imperative to rethink your operation model and enable your supply chain to satisfy greater order volume and fulfillment velocity.
With careful, thought through approach towards your technology modernization, you have the opportunity to improve your operational efficiencies and gain competitive advantage while scaling up.
Considering long term growth, you need to have a holistic approach and correctly identify the key milestones you need to target when modernizing your warehouse:
#1: Break down the workflows (both automated and manual) to the smallest details and map out the ideal flow. This will help you design a future-ready technology architecture.
This will help you identify those places in your workflow where workers are getting stuck most often and refine your technology strategy to introduce new efficiencies. Make a list of all of the pain points getting down to the small details that matter (how many extra steps or seconds it takes to pick, pack, or put away items, for example).
Then discuss with a technology solution partner who can recommend ways that hardware and software solutions can be applied or refined to address every single one of those issues. Not all changes have to be implemented at once mapping out every challenge and goal from the start will help you avoid making a technology decision that may prevent you from addressing some important issues in the future.
For example, when discussing about hand held devices, be sure to consider that Microsoft has de-vested in the Windows Mobile operating systems, which these devices are powered by, meaning that by 2021, warehouse operations become exposed with an unsupported OS and no roadmap to provide feature enhancements that can evolve to support business needs. Can you afford that or would rather choose Android devices that offer stable OS options and manageability, rich graphics, touchscreens, built-in barcode and RFID readers and other mobile computing features that are needed in the warehouse?
#2: Choose your next generation mobility solutions, making sure you benefit from service and support for the next 5+ years of their lifecycle.
The reliability of the mobile devices is one of the key requirements for operational efficiency as the fulfillment demands increase. Getting the right devices in the hands of your workers is just the first step to improving productivity and efficiency and eliminating costly fulfillment errors and delays.
Warehouse operators need industrial-grade devices with industrial-grade durability, security, manageability, scalability, longevity and more. They also need heightened levels of input/output (I/O) connectivity, wireless communication capabilities and software compatibility. And warehouse workers can only keep pace with rising volume and velocity levels if they have the right barcode and RFID scanning technologies.
Investing in reliable devices and adequate support services will help you keep down your total cost of ownership (TCO) having a positive impact in your bottom line.
#3: Identify and invest in supporting technologies that will enhance your mobility solution and help maximize your mobility ROI.
For warehouse modernization, mobility should be the top priority as it delivers significant benefits to the overall business. The handheld touch computers and tablets are the foundational tools needed to benefit from the more advanced technologies that are starting to make their way into the warehouse: robotization, augmented reality, Internet of Things(IoT), wearables, blockchain, etc. Look into the future and adjust your mobility strategy to best serve your business!
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