Creating a Greener Warehouse Through Automated Data Collection

Meagan Douglas
Mon, Aug 24, 2015
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Utilizing automated data collection helps a warehouse stay green.

Modern consumers want to work with green companies. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 55 percent of online consumers said they would pay more for products provided by businesses with eco-friendly policies.

The results came from respondents in more than 60 countries. Participants favored companies invested in making a positive social and environmental impact. A large section of respondents seek out products made from sustainable materials and check packages for green labeling.

Companies around the world have adjusted their processes to match the demands of eco-conscious consumers. They draw customer attention to such efforts as well. When manufacturers implement green materials or retailers reroute shipping to reduce fuel usage, they advertise their new practices.

Inventory operations are also redefined with eco-friendly goals in mind. Mobile warehouse management systems provide the information needed to examine processes and communicate improved performance.

Creating a Greener Warehouse Through Automated Data Collection
Warehouses don't utilize the raw materials necessary for manufacturing, but they require energy and resources to operate.

Full visibility provided by a warehouse management system utilizing mobile solutions helps managers spot waste and redundancies. Automated dataa collection from daily processes indicates how many steps are taken to pick goods, how long inventory is stored on shelves before it is distributed and how heavy equipment is put to use.

Once regular procedures are collected in the system, managers can drill down and find opportunities to cut waste. DC Velocity advised warehouse managers to look at energy usage, forklift movement and labor efficiency. By tracking the movements of employees and equipment, redundancies or poor practices are made obvious through a centralized platform display. Managers can streamline performance to reduce the amount of fuel, electricity and other resources used by inventory operations.

Cutting out waste is not just environmentally friendly; it also saves the warehouse money. It is in the best interest of consumers and businesses to automate and streamline daily operations.  

Implementation Goals for Eco-Friendly Processes
If a company chooses to eliminate waste in processes, it can begin with simple changes. Going paperless is a common starting place for eco-friendly initiatives.

Automated data collection software replaces manual, paper-based processes in a warehouse with electronic devices. Inventory workers don't burn through stacks of sheets of paper to conduct business; they use voice picking to prepare goods for orders or barcode scanners to collect product data. An RFgen Software customer case study explained how a Washington state winery replaced paper lists with mobile forms.

Instead of walking the corridors creating orders based on paper documents, the winery warehouse employees accessed mobile forms on electronic devices. The new data collection procedures showed real-time customer demands and current location of inventory. The software eliminated needless travel by displaying optimized routes. Employees reported their movements as items were picked and prepared for shipment. Pallets in the warehouse were also tagged with barcode labels to ensure they contained the correct products.

The winery monitored worker and equipment procedures to detect redundancies and simplify performance. Removing paper from regular warehouse duties became a whole new system for operations.

Advertise Specific Changes
Automated data collection software displays measurable results. Workers armed with mobile devices capture information as they perform regular tasks. The details collected before and after green initiatives are compared to show accurate growth.

Supply Chain Quarterly indicated social responsibility is more than just a nice idea in the current market. Consumers demand quantifiable results and proof a company is committed to positive environmental change. Green inventory management tracked by automated warehouse management systems create data trails. Companies can choose how to make the information associated with new initiatives available to the public through packaging or press releases.

Companies that meet a certain standard of social and environmental behavior are favored by the general public. Certain organizations like Dun & Bradstreet compile lists of green companies and recommend them to consumers. The ability to prove positive process changes is good for the environment and a company's brand.

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