With the rise of Amazon and it’s 2-day, next day & even same day shipping the bar for fast shipping and therefore efficient warehouse communication to support it has been raised drastically. Luckily the constant leaps in mobile technology can be applied in innovative ways to warehouse communication which ultimately leads to increased productivity, lower overhead, and increased revenue.
Winning the Race with Efficient Productivity
There are several areas that mobile applications can lend their agile capabilities to increasing productivity in warehouse management and communication. The most pertinent of these according to Manufacturing.net is order picking and packing, saying that:
“Timing and accuracy play a key role in successfully filling an order. These factors have a direct effect on picking labor costs and orders picked per hour metrics. Reducing time to complete a process/order is directly tied to customer satisfaction.”
The challenge here is two-fold: How do you efficiently communicate what needs to be in an order & how do you make sure pickers know where that inventory is? Mobile inventory management applications solve both of these issues by creating a central place to easily view, generate & fulfill orders all in one place. With mobile solutions, Managers and workers can carry mobile devices with them to help locate where a specific item is located and directly scan it to add or remove it from their list depending on the task. Mobile inventory tracking such as this also allows for more accurate counts, by making sure items are not subtracted until they are physically scanned & handled.
We’ve taken this idea a step further with a research and development project for a client that featured smart glasses that did this step for them instead of having to manually input codes or carry a cumbersome scanner. Applying mobile technology to warehouse communications also means managers no longer have to be tied to a desk or constantly walking back and forth with features like instant reporting and chat interfaces that allow them to make inventory decisions directly from the work floor and communicate with employees instantaneously.
Integrating Mobile Lowers Overhead Costs & Increases Revenue
Many companies think that upgrading tech will be costly and time-consuming but mobile doesn’t have to be either of those and can significantly save money in the long run. One of the strongest selling points for mobile inventory and warehouse apps is that they can then be run on out-of-the-box devices. By eliminating the need for specialty and single-use devices, you no longer have to worry about expensive and untimely maintenance issues that not only impede workflow but pull money from your budget. Both mobile devices and applications are more easily updated with software updates or patches, giving a longer life to both instead of being stuck with legacy equipment that becomes more and more inefficient. Furthermore integrating a custom warehouse app gives you a more intuitive & relevant user interface, meaning you need to spend less time on training your workforce.
Increased revenue is the end goal for just about all companies, it is the easiest metric for measuring success and how you grow your enterprise. All of the things we’ve highlighted above should ultimately be drivers to increasing your bottom line. Warehouses are increasingly being viewed not just as pure cost centers in which operational focus is placed almost exclusively on wringing out inefficiencies and inaccuracies in order picking, but as a powerful asset that can drive profitable growth for the business with a heightened focus on improving inbound, storage, and outbound materials handling.
Finding the mobile warehouse solution for your business will significantly help your warehouse operations adapt to the quickly changing landscape of retail, e-commerce, and business in general as we continue to live in an increasingly interconnected and on-demand world.
Laura graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a degree in Creative Advertising. She’s passionate about authentic narratives, finding what a brand believes in and figuring out how to best translate that to consumers. She feels fortunate to have worked in and have experience in just about every part of the advertising and marketing world. In her downtime she can be found going on outside adventures with her dogs, enjoying local breweries, or doing experiments in her kitchen.