Gemini Series

Warehouse Automation May Not Automatically Resolve Data Issues…However This Can

With all the mobile devices, barcode scanners, sensors and other computing technologies online today, warehouse managers should have complete visibility into what is happening within their four walls at all times. But they don’t. Access to operational data is supposed to be easy in today’s “connected” digital world. Workers should find it easier to do their jobs. Yet the logistics of connecting these data sets in a meaningful way may be making everyone’s job more difficult. Real-time data availability and accuracy are still real challenges in today’s warehouses.

Warehouse AutomationConsider this…

  • Is it easy for your workers to identify the best inventory picking and put-away options?
  • How much trouble do you have scheduling shipments due to delays from picking or packing errors?
  • How much time do you spend conducting manual inventory counts?
  • How significant is your pallet honeycombing problem?

How many hours are being spent fixing data errors that were submitted to your ERP and back-end systems?

How many of those errors could be prevented if your workers had a single, fool-proof way to input the correct item number, quantity or inventory location correctly?

Despite the number of systems in place intended to drive “improved” warehouse operations, many indicate that data management and fulfillment activities have become more complex and costly. This should not be the case.

  • You should not have to explain the waste in your inventory levels because you’re unable enforce compliance with First Expired, First Out (FEFO) picking processes.
  • Customer service teams should not have to “apologize” for wrongly-shipped items, quantities or preventable delivery delays.
  • Supervisors should not have to spend hours searching for the “needle in the data haystack” that skews entire workflows, and sends workers out of their way searching for that one misplaced or mislabeled item or pallet.

These are all signs that it is time to clean house from a systems perspective. Or, at least find a way to improve the “cleanliness” of the data being captured every day across every device in your warehouse. TAKE Supply Chain customers have told us consistently over the last 20 years that it is not always enough to implement automation solutions or upgrade your warehouse management system(WMS). Using a different technology platform for each department or workflow is not effective either. You end up “collecting” data collection systems over the years.

So, how do you improve the throughput of your warehouse operations?

Three Key Steps

  1. Implement a mobile data collection solution that automatically syncs data to every relevant back-end system in real time. This is the only technology investment that can automatically and immediately resolve data issues. This is critical to sustaining a high volume and velocity environment.It is also a vital investment if you plan to introduce more advanced digital technologies into your warehouse architecture.
  2. Look for a platform that bridges the gaps between your back-end systems, without requiring expensive IT configurations. Typically, it comes in the form of a single web and app-accessible portal through which warehouse workers and supervisors alike can immediately capture, share and analyze operational data across a number of different mobile and desktop devices. It is the only “system” workers have to login to during their shift – no matter where they’re working or what they’re working on. It provides a continuous data flow between all workflows. We call it a single source of “data truth”.
  3. Ensure the software automatically validates workers’ data inputs against the ERP. This will:
  • Prevent inaccurate data from ever processing through any system;
  • Eliminate the out of control warehouse management expenses you incur by trying to manage data, and data-dictated transactions, in the ERP alone;
  • Empower your workers to take immediate, decisive actions that improve operational performance and profitability and prevent issues before they happen.

What more could you ask for? (Well, there is a lot. And the right solution will deliver it all.)

Learn more about “Our TAKE” on automated data collection and synchronization.

We’ll reveal the ONE automation investment you should be making to keep (clean) data flowing fast between business systems. And you’ll be able to eliminate costly choke points in your warehouse workflows once and for all.