Up your Game: Easy, Manageable Steps to get More out of your Warehouse Operation
We all know that automating warehouse operations will deliver numerous benefits:
Increased efficiency, lowering costs, raising margins and reducing errors. But, most small to medium sized businesses can’t afford a total make-over of the entire warehouse operation. Not just in terms of dollars; the time and disruption to the business is prohibitive. Fortunately, there is a middle path.
Start with Receiving
An excellent place to start is by upgrading your inbound handling operations. Receiving and sortation are critical steps in assuring flawless fulfillment – which means Customer Satisfaction and Bottom Line Results.
Here’s why: issues in receiving inevitably cascade into other issues down the line in the overall warehouse management process (WMP).
Problems with manual operations like pen-and-paper logging are well known. They’re time consuming and prone to inaccuracy. Slow, inaccurate receiving and put-away are a drag on productivity. You’re expending human capital and experiencing lower productivity and lower ROI.
Automating receiving is relatively simple and easy to implement. It’s cost-effective, with a quick return on investment and doesn’t disrupt operations as it’s being adopted. Plus, it adds benefits throughout the supply chain. Verify inbound shipments with user-friendly data collection technology. Establish tracking for accurate put-away that leads to more efficient picking.
Barcode and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology allow you to quickly, accurately and easily receive, process and track materials in a more cost-effective and efficient manner. In a recent Zebra Technologies study, respondents predicted that the percentage of barcoded items will grow from about 67% today to almost 84% in the next five years.
At the receiving dock, mobile processes empower workers to be more accurate and more productive. A simple scan of a barcode, RFID tag or RMA label enables incoming shipments to be identified and verified in real-time. Also, returns can be quickly validated and updated, with automatic issue of any customer credit due.
Speed and productivity in the receiving and sortation functions increase. The same workforce can process more shipments, reducing dock-to-stock cycle times. The increased inventory visibility allows you to intelligently do direct put-away or conveyance for items that are low in stock first, reducing costly OOS (out of service) impact on the order fulfillment process.
Benefits from Automating Receiving
- Reduce manual processes
- Eliminate data entry errors
- Streamline receiving and put-away
- Reduce labor costs
- Increase ROI
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Increase employee satisfaction and retention
If the receiving process is efficient and error-free, the rest of the supply chain will run far more smoothly. Defective products, miscounts and other errors are not allowed to slip through. Every subsequent step of the manufacturing process is immediately enhanced.
Gradually increase data accuracy and reduce overhead throughout the entire warehouse once the initial phase has proven return on investment (ROI). After the initial automation of receiving and incorporating barcode scanners and/or mobile computers, along with a printer, labels and software, you will be able to phase in an automated, full warehouse-wide solution, step-by-step.
Empower your employees, control expenses related to lost or mislabeled items, eliminate data entry errors, and increase profitability with a barcoding solution that will satisfy the inventory management requirements of your organization.
L-Tron Corporation provides a wide variety of solutions using leading data-collection technology, including: inventory management, supply chain management, traceability and more.
Manage your warehouse efficiently and affordably and improve your bottom line. We offer complete hardware and software solutions and we specialize in custom applications. We are a Premier Partner of many top providers, including Zebra Technologies.
Click to read Part II in this blog series.
Questions? Interested in enhancing your receiving operations?