Top 10 essentials for meeting today’s warehouse challenges

Posted on 4 May 2023 by The Manufacturer

Today's warehouses face multiple challenges to meet supply chain market trends and continuous technological advancements. The biggest strategic challenge is meeting customer expectations for faster fulfilment and returns without sacrificing accuracy.

Achieving more with less due to labour shortages, rising costs of transportation and fulfilment, e-commerce small item picking and increasing demand for sustainable practices is enough to keep any warehouse manager busy.

GSM Barcoding is an expert in helping small to medium warehouses to implement cost-effective and efficient resolutions to improve warehouses, and Zebra technologies can provide the right solutions.

1. Migrate from Legacy systems to Android

Many smaller and well-established warehouses will still use redundant non-supported systems that have worked for many years. Whilst the saying “don’t fix what’s not broken” may seem like a sensible reason not to upgrade your equipment, it could leave your network and operations vulnerable and slow down your operational processes and communications.

Upgrading to Android devices improves efficiency, reduces human error, and speeds up business operations with industrial mobile computers that seamlessly integrate into the systems used in your warehouse.

2. Maximise wireless with a WLAN Site Survey

Is your wireless network optimised for efficiency and speed? A professional wireless network site survey offers an in-depth evaluation of your warehouse space to provide the most reliable layout of access points and mitigate any interference in your WLAN network through your facility.

This allows you to address any dead zones affecting your equipment’s capabilities. Faster internet connections will help make more efficient operations throughout your processes.

3. Review Your WMS

When was the last time you sat and addressed your warehouse management system? To take a warehouse to the next level and replace systems that are no longer fit for purpose. Upgrading older, less reliable equipment will allow your operations to handle greater expectations. WMS systems technology has advanced considerably over the last few years.

They offer web-based and cloud technology allowing wireless mobile scanning and picking. Integration tools such as APIs enable easier data transfer and integration, facilitating yard and co-bot management and easier integration to control systems through the warehouse. If you are still working on older systems, you may be putting your warehouse operations at a disadvantage.

4. Implement Mobile Device Management

Keeping on top of your devices can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Implementing MDM software and management systems will help you analyse the status of each piece of equipment. GSM have full access to a range of software to help install a seamless integration of upgraded mobile technology and the ability to track the status of each device to minimise losses and maintenance downtime.

Mobile device management software such as Enterprise Mobility Management can manage all devices anywhere. They can let you manage the apps being installed or removed on mobile devices, monitor the devices in the mobile device management server, configure basic settings on devices and more. With warehouse mobile devices having access to the internet and sensitive data, all devices must be centrally managed and tracked for security reasons.

5. Track and Monitor Your Fixed Assets

Warehouses are busy environments, and ensuring each onsite asset’s optimised usage and security is essential. Adopting a web-based asset tracking system such as G-Smart Assets across all your warehouse devices allows you to use a handheld mobile computer or mobile device for auditing and scanning barcode asset tags into a central asset database.

This software reduces manual logging with autonomous processes and creates a more efficient overview of your fixed asset locations, usage, and performance.

6. Implement a Mobile-First Strategy

Wired barcoding systems are dated and limit the flexibility of operations available in your warehouse. Moving your devices to wireless allows your system to be as flexible as needed. Zebra’s wearable devices enable your staff access to data on the go, allowing for smoother operation and quicker responses, increasing the team’s capability to meet demands faster and increasing output without needing more operators.

7. Consider RFID for Your Operations

Using RFID uses radiation signals rather than line-of-sight scanning for your data collection, including inventory tracking and optimises warehouse strategies and processes. Handheld RAIN RFID readers and RFID-enabled scanners help you achieve maximum visibility into your enterprise assets.

Staff no longer need to search for the barcodes as each label will omit its radio frequency, transmitting data to your receiver. This technology is more accurate and faster than barcoding and will significantly improve your warehouse’s efficiency.

8. Have the Right Support Contracts in Place

The consequences of a label printer stoppage can hold up a dispatch or warehouse processing.  Having a contract in place for support throughout your operations is essential.

From hardware such as printers and scanners to warehouse and inventory management systems, ensure your warehouse can minimise disruption and losses. Maintenance and Support contracts are offered by GSM barcoding for all manufacturers, including Zebra Technologies.

9. Have the Correct Labels

Having suitable labels in your warehouse reduces time scanning and looking for the correct items. There are many factors to consider in your operations labels:

  • Do they need to be firmly adhered or easily removed?
  • Is the environment cold or prone to chemical or excessive heat?
  • Do they require international compliance and protocols?

Ensure your labels are fit for purpose with suitable materials and design from specialists like GSM Barcoding experts.

10. Utilise Edge Data Capture Tools

Accurate data on your facility’s assets is essential for a smooth operation in a warehouse. Utilising technology like Zebra Intelligent Edge Solutions allows your staff to answer three important questions within seconds; What is it? Where is it? How is it?

Real-time data can be accessed through your entire inventory’s Zebra Savanna Cloud platform with various mobile devices and computers.  Zebra Visibility IQ helps you optimise device availability, maximise asset utilisation and increase operational productivity.

Your operations are in safe hands, proactively dealing with issues with the inbuilt predictive analytics, preventing device issues before they impact your business. The data-gathering intelligence reveals efficiencies and reduces lost or stolen assets.

GSM Barcoding: Official Supplier of Zebra Technologies

This article was written by GSM Barcoding, a member of the GSM group, an established and prominent partner with Zebra Technologies providing reliable mobile solutions, wireless site surveys, high-quality labels, and intelligent edge solutions.

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