Warehouse worker using wrist mounted mobile device with ring scanner.

6 Ways to Modernize Your Warehouse and Minimize Your Stress

If your business is struggling to handle the surge in e-commerce due to COVID-19, you’re not alone. Even before the pandemic, many warehouses were struggling to keep up with increasing order volumes and demand.

Fortunately, there are six ways you can use technology to get ahead of demand by modernizing your warehouse and minimizing stress along the way.

1. Choose technology that empowers.

The first step to modernizing a warehouse starts with modernizing your mobile technologies and empowering your workers with fast, modern devices, processors, and apps. If you’re still running slow legacy Windows devices and apps, it’s time to upgrade.

One specific improvement we strongly recommend is moving from Windows to Android for mobile workflows. Android is a touch-enabled OS that makes workflows as easy as tapping on a screen, and it provides an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that’s already familiar to millions of warehouse workers.

2. Get connected to be productive.

Teams that can connect, collaborate, and communicate faster and more easily will always be more productive and efficient. This is why warehouses should look to simplify and unify their communications, without juggling different apps and devices.

For example, Zebra has developed a streamlined communication solution called Workforce Connect, which gives workers access to push-to-talk, voice calls, secure texting, and even PBX phone access from a single mobile device and app.

3. Start strong with an inbound fulfillment strategy.

You’re only as good as the weakest link in your supply chain, so start strong by automating your receiving and putaway. By using mobile devices and real-time WMS access, your workers can manage putaways as rapidly and accurately as possible, and they can be guided to the correct locations on the most efficient routes to ensure the right products are replenished and available when needed.

4. Get goods out the door with better outbound performance.

The big emphasis in any fulfillment operation is getting goods out the door. This is where a mobile technology strategy plays a crucial role. Using mobile computers with built-in barcode scanning and the right software apps, you can give your workers the tools to pack goods, print labels, and load vehicles faster. You can even give them wearable mobile printers so they can print labels on the go, and there are a number of hands-free computing and scanning solutions to further improve efficiency (see #6 below).

5. Track your inventory every step of the way.

If you’re not already using technology to automate your inventory processes, you need to start. Manual inventory counts and tracking are a constant source of error and inefficiency, so you should at least be using a WMS, barcode labels, and scanners to track your inventory automatically and with better accuracy.

If you’re still using barcode-based inventory systems, you might want to consider RFID and real-time locationing, so you can automatically locate and track inventory as it moves through your warehouse, without manual barcode scans being required.

6. Improve picking time and accuracy with hands-free and voice-directed technology.

One of the biggest warehouse innovations in recent years is the move toward hands-free, wearable solutions and voice-directed picking software to dramatically increase picking speed and accuracy.

The WT6000 wearable computer from Zebra is much smaller and lighter than other wearables on the market, and fits comfortably on every worker, on any size arm.

By equipping workers with hands-free, wrist-worn mobile computers, a Bluetooth ring scanner they wear on their fingers, and headsets to receive voice-enabled picking routes and instructions, they can pick more orders, more accurately, with less walking, and with automated barcode scans to verify correct picks.

Next Steps

You can also contact us at Strategic Systems for more advice and recommendations on modernizing your warehouse.

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