How Warehouses Stay Competitive in an On-Demand Marketplace
How do you expand your warehouse operations while reducing exposure to cost whenever possible and without undermining workflows? Technology is the solution that can positively impact your workforce and operations, converting unpredictable demands and a limited workforce into efficient, effective workers who get the job done, no matter what. Plus, adopting technology keeps you on pace with your peers to stay competitive in a dynamic and on-demand marketplace. Keep your warehouse operations moving forward despite today’s complex supply chain challenges. Use those disruptions to drive the solutions you require today and desire long-term. With so much at stake, the time to modernize is now. Fortunately, there’s a new standard to guide and accelerate warehouse modernization based on decades of field-proven innovation—the Zebra Warehouse Maturity Model Framework. We took a deep dive and examined the five phases of the maturity model in our blog, Modernizing Your Warehouse with Zebra’s Warehouse Maturity Model.
With Zebra’s strategic maturity model, you gain the ability to implement the right technology at the right time in your modernization journey. Let’s look at an inbound receiving example from our partners at Zebra.
At Phase 1, front-line workers have access to advance ship notices on their mobile computers connected to the warehouse management systems–they know when shipments will arrive and how many goods they need to receive. This provides visibility for planning resources to receive the goods and fast accounting for incoming materials for more accurate inventory accountability. Portable printers allow workers to relabel and sort goods for staging and put away.
In Phase 2, to optimize the use of mobility, lift truck operators keep their eyes on the task of operating their equipment with a large screen in their line of sight and a handy extended-range ultra-rugged scanner to record each inventory move they make.
In Phase 3, receiving activities become more automated using fixed RFID or industrial scanning. As goods are unloaded, tags or barcodes are sensed, and data is sent directly to the WMS or other enterprise systems. This targeted real-time data capture frees front-line workers to manage by exception and focus on other high-value tasks.
In Phase 4, the use of real-time location systems and software solutions provide warehouse operators with the ability to orchestrate (or coordinate) the location of people, assets, and goods using their real-time site throughout the operation to optimize flows for cost, speed, and efficiency. For example, a pallet of perishable goods can be unloaded, and the time, date, and staging lane can all be recorded and matched to a business rule that sends an automated message to the closest front-line worker to put away within 15 minutes of unloading.
At Phase 5, it is all about maximizing the use of the vast amounts of data that is collected from any sensors, location systems and even transactional data captured from workers’ mobile devices. Using intelligent automation to look at that data holistically will provide the foundation for achieving predictive and adaptive operations.
The maturity model enables faster-receiving operations with less error, from advance ship notices to real-time location and tracking data in staging areas. The results are measurable, and you’ll have fewer errors, faster put-away, and better decision-making through intelligent automation. As receiving gets more complex, your workflows need to be optimized, and workers require the right technology to work as efficiently as possible.
Let Us Help
From gaining essential control of your operations to achieving proactive predictability, The SMS Group and Zebra is your partner to guide you on your warehouse modernization journey. From inbound operations to outbound fulfillment, our partners at Zebra have a complete and comprehensive portfolio to improve accuracy, productivity, and worker safety, while keeping pace with a rapidly evolving market. To learn more, contact us now to start a conversation, and let’s work on modernizing your warehouse.
Source: Zebra Warehouse Maturity Model Partner Infographic