Which technologies can streamline your Warehouse Management System and make it more cost-effective?
Managing a warehouse effectively means doing the planning necessary to control all the procedures within operations efficiently. Warehouse Management Systems are versatile solutions that should have tools to manage and co-ordinate, order fulfillment, customer service, labor utilization and improve decision-making. Beyond the software, various technologies can be deployed to help perform all the critical tasks in the warehouse more effectively.
Introducing new technologies to your warehouse staff forces them to change how they have been doing their jobs, often for years. It requires strong management support to ensure staff and managers accept it in order to bring about positive changes. New technologies that people outside of their comfort zones, which forces the necessary evolution toward improvement. Examples of new technologies that disrupt the current work environment are Voice Recognition Systems, RFID Systems and IoT (Internet of Things).
Supply chain management has evolved from paper-based systems to barcoding to wireless mobile computing and more recently voice recognition. Voice technology is used as an effective way to perform picking in a warehouse. Users speak into a microphone where voice recognition is used to interpret the information, transform it into data input on a portable computer, which then updates the software of a WMS.
This allows the workers hands to be free and relieves them of keystrokes to input data. They also can receive voice commands back to free their eyes from looking at a computer. This technology can also be useful in other routines such as receiving, put-away, quality assurance and shipping. Voice technology has been around for a while but technical improvements recently have made it easier to implement in industrial environments.
RFID has evolved over the past few decades. The early systems required a one to one ratio; one reader scans one tag at a time. Systems had limitations with metal and water inference, which still exist today. RFID chips evolved from premade bulky tags to labels produced on demand. Problems with tags being dead on arrival were solved, now ensuring consistently high read rates. With the progress to a one to many ratio, one reader to many tags, it opened the door to many possibilities.
The biggest issues were understanding the limitations of RFID and building software that can handle many of nuances that render a system useless. RFID has an advantage of being able to quickly gather information on lots of products at a time, verse barcodes that still require a one to one ratio. RFID is not for everyone and each application needs to be individually evaluated before moving into it.
IoT has been a popular buzzword in the consumer sector. Recently, the industrial sector has found ways to put this technology to use. Systems can be created to provide feedback to on things that do not require human input.
Machine monitoring can send back information on key statistics which may prompt action. In a cold storage environment, temperatures can be automatically monitored and maintained through IoT systems. Other sensors can be installed to give feedback on locations or products. The Internet of Things seems to be limited only to the imagination of what is possible.
About ProVision WMS
ProVision WMS is a versatile solution which provides the tools to manage and co-ordinate warehouse operations. It improves order fulfillment, customer service, labor output and decision-making. This software, along with complementary technologies, will save you money and pay for itself in a short period. It has the flexibility to handle diverse applications requirements and help your business grow. To learn more about ProVision WMS solutions or how we can help to achieve all your business goals, request a demonstration today.