2. Streamlined workflows
Warehouse workers can spend tremendous amounts of time traveling across a warehouse between tasks, wasting valuable time in between with no added productivity. Task interleaving helps build in complementary tasks into a single workflow, allowing workers to handle multiple tasks during what once may have been time wasted on unproductive travel time, such as a forklift dropping off a pallet and driving back to the dock with empty forks, when there was a pallet on the way that needed to go to shipping that could’ve been picked up. Task management functionality of a comprehensive WMS can help determine workflows for warehouse staff members to replenish, pick and put away materials simultaneously. By maximizing the productivity of existing warehouse staff, labor costs can be effectively managed by optimizing each worker’s performance. According to the latest Zebra® Warehousing Vision Study, 80% of respondents said they planned to utilize task interleaving within the next five years.
The combination of software plus industry-leading hardware devices and sensor technology makes streamlining warehouse processes possible. Rather than contacting a supervisor for each new task or retrieving printed pick tickets or put-away orders, the WMS or execution systems push tasks to front-line workers’ mobile devices and then captures data from those completed tasks into an ERP system for analysis.
3. Retire paper-based processes and reports once and for all
Manual warehouse processes are prone to error, and inaccurate information gathering can lead organizations to make costly mistakes.
Holding onto paper-based processes means key business metrics are either unavailable or are often inaccurate. This is especially true when it comes to inventory control. Customer satisfaction depends on having the right items available at the right time. This is only possible if you know how much stock is on the shelf and where each individual item is located every second of the day. Plus, maintaining an accurate view of inventory helps prevent over- or under-ordering, both of which can negatively impact your bottom line.
By logging information into digital systems via automated data capture tools versus two-step pen and paper/manual data entry methods, you’re automatically improving data input accuracy and expanding your team’s operational visibility. You’re also creating a means to distribute actionable intelligence all the way to the edge of the enterprise, and even beyond your four walls, which helps to improve the performance of individual workers, your organization and your supply chain. Since WMS solutions feature detailed, real-time reporting functions, you are able to quickly access and assess the aggregate insights collected via enterprise grade mobile computers, tablets, scanners, wearables and sensors to understand what’s working, what’s not and why. This will enable you to continuously boost your warehouse’s efficiency and effectively measure long-term performance gains derived from certain decisions and actions.
And though there are some initial costs associated with migrating to completely paperless operations, the technology hardware and software you put into place will ultimately reduce the costs and environmental impacts associated with printing paper checklists, manuals, reports and more. Modernizing also doesn’t need to happen all at once, you can take a strategic approach to modernizing by first gaining control of business operations with a foundational mobility strategy, then continue to optimize with touch-optimized and wearable solutions and finally move to targeted use of real-time visibility and eventually have wall-to-wall visibility that is allows for a predictive and adaptive operations.
The Time is Now
Gaining real-time insight to your warehouse operations has never been more important. The right warehouse software, together with the right hardware solutions, will empower you to improve inventory accuracy, reduce waste, and boost labor efficiency. It will also enable you to run at maximum productivity as order volumes increase, stock levels rise and the number of SKUs you must manage continue to multiply. With warehouse and distribution center operators facing more challenges every day, can you afford not to implement an efficient, effective, and paperless warehouse?