Fighting Warehouse Cost Increases by Upgrading Your Systems and Technologies (Part 3 of 3)
Many warehouses continue to live with old technologies and systems that bog them down and waste time and labor throughout their operations. Often this is because they are worried that upgrading or replacing their current systems and technologies will disrupt their current operations, or it will be too expensive.
Being worried about costs makes perfect sense right now, with inflation and the increased cost of labor, expansion and even fuel wreaking havoc on warehouses. So, any investment in replacing systems or hardware needs careful scrutiny.
However, the reality is that outdated systems and technologies cost every worker and manager time at every turn, often across many different areas. All that lost time and wasted labor adds up to a staggering cost that most warehouses never truly measure. The cost is often invisible because no one can take the time to do a quick study or audit to review just how much time and labor is being lost.
Also, while fears about disrupting operations in order to implement upgrades are understandable, often these are overblown. These days, with some of the latest warehousing technologies and software solutions, it is much faster and easier to get up and running than many solutions were just a few years ago. Current solutions are designed with rapid implementation and simplicity in mind, so you can get new solutions installed, integrated and running without disrupting what you are already doing.
For example, if you are still using “green screen” apps on legacy Windows mobile devices, you can convert your apps into modern, all-touch mobile apps and get them running on next-generation enterprise Android devices with no coding or back-end work required. Upgrades like these are possible with advancements in technology and rapid app development such as terminal emulation, with simple software wizards that can convert your existing greens in minutes.
Additionally, there are newer device types and form factors available to fit each area of your operations and save time with specific tasks, such as vehicle-mounted mobile computers. These can be paired with long-range barcode scanners, so workers don’t have to get in and out of a forklift to scan, track and verify inventory, even if it is located high on shelves and underneath shrink wrap.
Our partners at Zebra Technologies produce Android-based vehicle-mounted computers that integrate easily with warehouse systems and other apps, and the familiarity and ease of use of the Android operating system allow workers to start using these solutions with virtually no training or transition time required.
Another way to upgrade your technologies and boost productivity is by using ultra-rugged 2-in-1 tablets. These allow you to scan barcodes and run your mobile WMS in warehouse aisles while you use the same device as a desktop or laptop computer in an office. Tablets are an increasingly popular way to enable more computing power and display more data and information on each screen, so workers can see what they need immediately, and tasks can be completed in fewer steps. The flexibility, connectivity and computing power of tablets also mean they can be used as multi-purpose devices and even replace desktops and laptops entirely, so you can get more out of less hardware and reduce your overall technology costs.
As another example, Zebra’s TC8300 touch mobile computer is a revolutionary new device that can boost your worker productivity by 14% and enable 40% faster data entry with 60% fewer errors. The TC8300 is a new evolution in gun-style barcode scanning, with its digital screen built on top of the device’s handle, so workers can confirm scanning results, enter data with touch-enabled software keyboards, and access mobile apps without tilting the device. This seemingly small design change translates into huge labor savings by cutting time and effort with every scan and every task completed.
All these solutions can be implemented with minimal interruption or disruption to your current workflows. You can break your rollouts into controlled phases, and many of the newest technologies and software solutions are designed to enable a seamless and fast transition from your older devices and systems. Often you can start in one specific area, implement your upgrades, and then move on to the next when you’re ready.
To learn more about possibilities like these, and which ones might make the most sense for your warehouse, connect with our team at Ahearn & Soper for professional advice. As a technology provider and consultant to many growing warehouses, we help them figure out the best upgrade pathways and evaluate the best options to meet their business needs, goals and their stage in warehouse optimization and improvement.
To get started, connect with us to set up a discovery call and free consultation at your convenience, and we’d be happy to learn more about your business and provide recommendations to get you on the right path. Contact us now through our website or call us at 800-263-4258.