Modern electronics require thousands of individual parts. With warehouses full of electronics components, it helps to have an easy-to-use, modern tool for warehouse management.
You may not have heard of Arrow Electronics, but chances are you’ve used a device made with components that they’ve distributed.
In fact, Arrow services over 125,000 equipment manufacturers in more than 90 countries worldwide. That means warehouses full of tiny resistors, capacitors, and diodes, all of which need to be accounted for, picked, and shipped. Inventory management at this scale takes a significant amount of coordination between warehouse operators and supervisors.
Arrow’s warehouses were managed using outdated and bulky RFID scanners that prevented operators and supervisors from working as efficiently as possible. Arrow knew that they needed equipment and software upgrades to improve their operational efficiency, and that they needed to do so with scalability in mind. Any changes would need to include a long-term deployment strategy that would allow Arrow to remain competitive both now and in the future.
Despite distributing some of the most modern electronics components available, certain operational needs were no longer being met by Arrow’s outdated warehouse management system. Warehouse operators needed a way to be more nimble while picking, storing, and shipping inventory. Supervisors needed to be able to access inventory information and easily create reports and work orders from anywhere in the warehouse. Both supervisors and operators needed a way to more efficiently communicate with one another while working.
Arrow’s challenge to Shockoe was twofold: First, create a modern, mobile warehouse management system that updates the existing platform and addresses the needs of both warehouse operators and supervisors. Second, provide a growth strategy for the new platform that would meet Arrow’s “five years out” plan, allowing for flexible integration with new technologies (wearables, AR, etc).
Shockoe worked with Arrow to create an overhauled WMS using mobile tablets, wireless handheld scanners, and a revamped user interface. The new system allows operators greater flexibility and maneuverability, increasing pick speed and storing efficiency. Supervisors can now manage inventory and processes away from their desk, allowing them to review reports and make necessary decisions on-site. Arrow Connect, a custom-built chat interface, allows supervisors and operators to communicate with one another directly within the WMS. Additionally, the system is scalable, allowing for flexibility in future releases. The next phase to be deployed includes wearable technology that allows for even greater mobility.
In a limited rollout at their Reno, NV warehouse Arrow is showing a 4-5% efficiency gain through the use of the new warehouse management system. Apply this to hundreds of employees across warehouses around the globe and that’s an efficiency gain of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually compared to the legacy system.
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