Today’s supply chain industries face enormous pressure as they operate under what’s been dubbed the “Amazon Effect.” If you’re part of supply chain management, you understand the drive to meet rising consumer expectations regarding product processing and shipping. You’ve done your best to prepare your warehouse team, and they work diligently to meet two-day and next-day order fulfillments.
Like many other professionals, you’ve probably run into several seemingly unscalable walls while looking for ways to increase revenue and equip your team with tools to bump production to the next level.
But no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to push material through the warehouse fast enough. Or maybe inventory data errors are draining your revenue and bloating operating costs due to returns and chargebacks. Maybe you just don’t have the manpower you need to deliver the highest level of customer service.
What can you do?
The first step is learning from those who’ve succeeded. The top-performing supply chains in the world use a technology concept called enterprise mobility to tackle these challenges, overcome performance obstacles and reap additional benefits for years to come.
Enterprise mobility for the supply chain means equipping your workers with mobile software and handheld hardware devices (such as barcode scanners or mobile computers) to maximize their productivity, accuracy and flexibility. By integrating these technologies with your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, time-consuming and repetitive tasks can be replaced with higher-performing, highly accurate process automation for supply chain tasks.
Digital warehouse automation paired with enterprise mobility can be the key to unlocking a new levels of operational performance and cost saving.
Mobilizing your workforce with cutting-edge technology is more than a way to increase individual productivity. Using mobile solutions with real-time communication to business systems like your ERP is a critical foundational technology to combat many challenges of the 21st century supply chain. That means dropping paper checklists, spreadsheets and tribal knowledge in favor of introducing handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners, tablets and purpose-built ruggedized hardware that run device-agnostic software to unify your inventory data throughout your enterprise.
Implementing enterprise mobility solutions into your warehouse, manufacturing and field service operations offers expansive, long-reaching benefits. Some of the benefits our RFgen consultants frequently see include:
By automating core supply chain processes and mobilizing your warehouse team, your operation eliminates many time-consuming or repetitive tasks at drastically higher speed and accuracy. This enables fewer employees to perform more work faster, at lower cost, more accurately and without having to commute between inventory locations or fixed workstations. All of these optimizations reduce overhead and allow increased throughput without requiring an expansion of internal infrastructure.
Inventory data that enters your system incorrectly not only creates bad data records, but can propagate into bigger and costlier problems as that data makes its way into other areas of the business. Mobile data collection and barcoding virtually eliminate human error, increasing confidence in your production abilities and streamlining your inventory processes.
Inventory accuracy directly equates to cost and customer satisfaction. Therefore, reducing errors to as close to 0% as possible is critical to delivering the highest level of customer service.
Human error isn’t the only consequence of manual or antiquated inventory and asset tracking processes. Your company’s data loss risk also increases dramatically. When handwritten or paper inventory logs mysteriously vanish, or connection failures require employees to rescan every item on a shipment, it notably impacts your team’s effectiveness and the company’s bottom line.
Mobile software solutions like High Availability technology can help eliminate data loss by holding scanned information in the hardware device until connectivity is restored. Several variations exist to meet the individual needs of facilities with remote or limited connectivity.
When employees don’t have the advantage of wireless hardware, they’re tethered to specific locations and often require the assistance of at least one additional employee to accomplish their workload. This hampers speed and efficiency. Mobile data collection and barcoding allow you to mobilize workers throughout your facility without restriction, allowing them to work faster and individually.
For example, the RFgen Mobile Unity Platform™ enables complex ERP screens to be condensed into a simplified single-screen UI via screen mapping. Scanning a barcode then automatically captures all the required datapoints to populate the mapped fields, which then update the ERP database in real time. Now a 16-step process is simplified into just two steps, drastically improving the rate at which individual workers can process inventory.
Increasing productivity then allows you to increase the volume of inventory your team can handle in a given shift—a must with the rise of next-day and same-day shipping.
Inventory tracking remains one of the largest hurdles facing large manufacturing and warehousing companies. Inventory inaccuracy leads to costly delays, equipment downtime, inventory overstock and unexpected stock-outs. The ability to transact inventory with perfect accuracy in real time with a quick barcode scan from a mobile wireless device is the key to putting an end to these challenges.
With technologies like mobile data collection and mobile barcoding you will know exactly what is stocked and where it is located without delays in data. It’s an efficient system that gives you full inventory visibility, which means you can track, manage and control inventory moment-by-moment, eliminating guesswork.
Real-time inventory numbers allow warehouses to keep optimal quantities of on-hand product, which reduces the amount of unsold or obsolescent in-stock items occupying valuable floor and rack space.
Having the tools that makes your employees’ jobs easier and more qualitative can decreases stress for your workforce, making them happier and more satisfied with the ability to perform a job well done. This snowballs into other areas of workforce management, such as talent acquisition, retaining your best workers for longer and reducing injuries from repetitive moments, over-stretching or accessing hard-to-reach locations.
In short, enterprise mobility is one way to respond to the chronic workforce shortages facing many supply chain operations today.
If you are considering a mobility solution for your warehouse, manufacturing floor or field service team, consider a provider that can offer mobile software, hardware, barcoding and fully-guided implementation consultation. Regardless of whether your ERP is deployed on the cloud, on-premise, or in a hybrid model, having a mobility provider that can guide you through the entire process of preparation, deployment and training.
The importance of having a provider on your side that offer both supply chain knowledge and technical expertise cannot be understated. This not only can ease the stress and complexity of bringing a new technology into your enterprise stack, but can ensure a successful rollout that maximizes your new tech investment.
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