Spring in Atlanta brings many things: dogwood blossoms, Braves baseball, and every other year, MODEX, the biennial supply chain solutions tradeshow that is informally referred to as “The Greatest Supply Chain Show on Earth.” If you’ve never attended, allow me to set the scene for you.
Think big: This year’s MODEX show took up 250-thousand square feet, and included more than 800 exhibits. Giant billboard-sized banners hung from three stories high, marking exhibits from some of the biggest names in the industry. Between the whirring sounds of mechanical systems, the rhythmic movements of remotely controlled robotics, and LED screens displaying various warehouse automation solutions, walking through the entrance to this show was like stepping into the future. In many ways, MODEX really is the future.
One of the show floor hotspots was clearly the Zebra Technologies booth. As one of Zebra’s top 10 North American partners, it was gratifying to see the overwhelming attendee interest in Zebra’s latest innovations.
The Future of Automated Data Collection
Data collection technology is moving forward at an accelerated rate, offering new features and capabilities that will make warehouse management more efficient than ever,according to Mark Wheeler, Zebra’s Director of Supply Chain Solutions. In a seminar entitled, “The New Warehouse Revolution: How Advanced Technologies are Transforming Capabilities and Insights,” Wheeler discussed how the evolution of mobile technology — from form factors to operating systems and user interfaces — is changing the way users interact with technology and increasing productivity.
To that end, Zebra’s MODEX exhibit this year focused on promoting two brand new product releases, mobile devices that reflect Zebra’s predictions for the future of the supply chain industry and understandably captured a lot of attention: the all new TC8000 and the rugged DS3600.
Zebra’s TC8000 is a device that is, in many ways, unlike any before it. For those of us who love mobile technology, this device is just downright cool. Zebra encouraged people try out its user-friendly features with a video game that drew quite a crowd.
Designed to increase worker productivity by up to 14 percent, the TC8000 offers several features that set it apart from other devices in its class. Participants in the game experienced firsthand the newer, lighter, no-tilt-necessary form factor, as well as the intuitive new touch screen and easy to use keyboard.
Another game at the Zebra booth invited people to experience the DS3600, which was officially released on Monday, April 4th, the first day of MODEX.
Participants were handed a DS3600 and asked to scan several types of barcodes as they spun on a wheel several feet away. Beneath the spinning wheel, another DS3600 was suspended above a pool of water. The objective was to scan enough codes to release the second device into the water. The wet device could then be used to scan barcodes at close and far range, one right after the other, demonstrating its water resistance, range, and quick scanning engine.
Predictions For The Future of Supply Chain Technology
Zebra’s research has led to the development of some of the most innovative mobile technology on the market. As a Zebra partner, we rely on this research to bring our customers the very best in warehouse mobile technology, and to ensure our clients know what to expect in the future of the supply chain industry.
In a recent survey of warehouse IT and operational personnel, Zebra outlined several trends that we should expect to see in warehouse technology over the next five years, including:
- 76 percent of organizations that participated in the survey reported that they expect to move to best-of-breed, cloud-based and full-featured WMS systems
- 66 percent plan to equip employees with more technology
- 70 percent expect to increase automation of supply chain processes
- 67 percent plan to take inventory with mobile handheld computers or tablets
Preparing for the Future
Change is in the air. With the end of the Windows Mobile OS on the horizon, the development of devices with new capabilities, and workforces that are more mobile and connected than ever, those companies content to rely on technology and processes that have worked “well enough” in the past are setting themselves up to get left behind.
For a better look at coming trends in warehouse mobile technology, or to learn more about how mobile technology can help your organization grow, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.