Warehouse technologies can directly impact one of the most critical strategic goals and differentiators for logistics organizations, warehouse efficiency. If warehouse operations run inefficiently, the business is forced to increase its workforce and overhead to maintain acceptable service levels and margins.
By eliminating unnecessary processes and implementing error-reducing warehouse technologies, businesses increase their efficiency and profitability while better positioning themselves to compete in an already highly competitive industry. Here we explore some trending technologies to enhance overall warehouse and supply chain performance.
Dimensional pricing has been a significant cost concern for logistics planners for a decade. It was loosely policed, but carriers are now keeping a keen eye on shipments to ensure adequate pricing. Pallet and box dimensioning can be very time consuming. We’ve noticed that, on average, it can take a receiving clerk between 40 and 55 seconds to manually measure cargo dimensions and input the data. All this without considering the likelihood of error when done manually.
A key warehouse technology that warehouse managers and decision-makers must consider when looking to increase warehouse productivity is dimensioning systems. Pallet and small package dimensioning systems are extremely effective at automating the measurement and verification steps involved in the receiving process. The systems generally pay for themselves in capturing mis-classified, and therefore, mis-rated shipments.
Dimensioning systems measure pallets and/or boxes, putting the dimensions automatically into the warehouse receipt. Some can even be integrated with the scale to allow you to capture dimensions and weight automatically into the receipt.
Additionally, some dimensioning systems go so far as capturing high-definition digital snapshots of the cargo to allow customers visual proof of the state of their shipment all in less than 10 seconds.
In most warehouses, the average clerk makes 30+ trips a day back and forth from a fixed station to print picking lists and labels or to enter shipment data into a computer. Mobile warehouse technology gives workers immediate access to systems from anywhere in the warehouse.
Still today, most warehouses continue to use fixed stations to perform basic data entry or to print picking lists and labels. Warehouses that do so are inherently inefficient.
Some mobile warehouse technologies that increase efficiency include portable computers, mobile printers, and wearable barcode scanners.
Managing The Technology
We've discussed several technological revolutions happening in the warehouse and how these solutions can create more efficient warehouse operations. But the reality is, without a warehouse management system that can leverage these technologies, It would be difficult to quantify warehouse productivity.
The most effective warehouse management systems are those that provide a level of functionality or at least an easy way to integrate with these warehouse technologies. In order to be most successful, the WMS must be mobile-friendly, easy to integrate, and process-oriented, among others. New warehouse technologies have opened a door of opportunity for warehouses to become more efficient and businesses more competitive.
In the coming years, companies that are willing to embrace new warehouse technologies and successfully implement them will be positioned to remain competitive and profitable. The critical steps in applying new technologies to your supply chain accurately are identifying areas in need of efficiency improvements and implementing the correct combination of hardware and software. Addressing these critical steps are when the counsel of a competent 3PL can make all the difference in implementing the most effective system.
To explore new technologies in Logistics contact Land Link Traffic Systems today for a complimentary review of your supply chain protocols.
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