Save Trees and Other Key Benefits to Automating Data Collection

Robert Brice
Mon, Jan 19, 2015

Most manufacturers have one, if not multiple, warehouses to manage. A surprising number of these organizations still depend on paper-based processes to keep track of operational workflows. An RFgen Software white paper titled "Tomorrow's Warehouse Today: Three Technologies for Exceptional Operational Efficiency" looks at the issues surrounding warehouse management and the major roadblocks that get in the way of a more productive and efficient warehouse.

Paper Is a Dead Weight for Warehouses
One of the main realizations that manufacturers have to experience is that paper is the enemy of an agile and efficient organization. Between paper pick tickets and warehouse workers using pencils and forms to check off items while receiving purchase orders, there's a lot of room for errors, and it's a very deliberate, inconsistent process.

This is the reason why automated data collection is such an important part of warehouse management. Tools like mobile barcode scanners streamline data capture procedures and can virtually eliminate data entry errors that are regularly caused by manual processes. Keying in data causes roughly one error for every 300 keystrokes. However, barcode scanners have an error rate of one in every 3 million scans on average. There's no argument whether manufacturers will see improved accuracy using a mobile data collection solution.

Why Implement a Warehouse Management System?
Citing data from Aberdeen Research, the RFgen Software white paper indicated warehouse labor can account for as much as 40 percent of total operating costs. Manufacturers can't afford to have inefficient workflows in their warehouses increasing these expenses even further.

As a result, a warehouse management system is a critical element that manufacturing companies need to integrate. Businesses can better utilize their warehouses by establishing more efficient procedures when looking at picking and inventory placement so that the most in-demand items are positioned in the most convenient areas. A warehouse management system can also put a first-in, first-out workflow in place to protect against products expiring or becoming obsolete. 

What Are the Primary Benefits?

  • Enhanced tracking and reporting on key warehouse metrics.
  • Optimized routes employees take through the warehouse.
  • Utilizes space more effectively in the warehouse.
  • Lowers cycle times and fill sales orders or work orders faster.
  • Increases the visibility of your inventory
  • Speeds up picking and fulfillment with directed picking, which lets employees know exactly where they need to go.
  • Meets the special demands of customers.

Another priority for manufacturing organizations is to create more environmentally sustainable practices, explained Manufacturing.net. At their core, mobile data collection coupled with a warehouse management are fundamental to creating a greener organization.

First of all, they reduce the need and amount of paper used throughout the facilities. Second, it ensures the business makes the most effective use of the space available by putting high-volume items in areas that can be picked quickly and without the need for lengthy transfers to the shipping stations. In addition to making capital investments with sustainability in mind, automated data collection solutions allow manufacturers to develop more efficient warehouses and, as a result, a greener facility.

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