Why Go Wireless?
It wouldnít be unreasonable for management to expect an increase in productivity and a reduction
in expenses, while at the same time, your customers expect 100% order accuracy and quick order
Reducing your labor costs will be the key, because picking and packing are two of the most labor
intensive and costly jobs in your warehouse. This is especially true if you're picking and packing
without the help of automation. In a typical paper-based operation, at each step, employees record
items, quantities, and locations on paper. Manual picking and packing is outdated and responsible
for most of the errors, lost efficiency, and expense. Replacing paper-based operations with wireless
automation has the potential to improve every area of the warehouse.
1. Why Wireless?
While there may be other ways to reduce errors, expenses, and inefficiency, warehouse automation is
usually the best solution.
You can expect improvements in productivity when you substitute technology for error-prone human
activities such as order processing, inventory management, or order picking. Data is transmitted
from the warehouse floor directly to your computer database. The process of manually counting,
recording, and entering information into the system is eliminated. The data from hand-held wireless
scanners gives you real-time inventory information.
Data flows continuously to employees in the warehouse, eliminating gaps in productivity from wasteful
trips to retrieve paper-based instructions. Itís also likely that two scanner-enabled pickers could
do the same work as three paper-based pickers. Thatís a 50% increase in productivity. Picking accuracy
will improve as well, leading to greater customer satisfaction. Making customers happier and avoiding
costly mistakes will benefit your bottom line.
2. Wireless Starts With A Barcode.
Barcodes are at the core of the modern warehouse or distribution center. Barcodes identify incoming
stock, inventory that is picked to fill orders, inventory shipped out, and your warehouse inventory
when it is counted during cycle counts or annual physical counts. The best way to utilize barcodes and
the information they contain is with RF technology.
Wireless barcode scanners capture real-time data to help you manage warehouse operations, make
inventory & financial decisions, and inform customer service systems. They have become the standard
for the modern warehouse. Their simplicity and efficiency let your warehouse employees access
your database directly from the point of activity.
Wireless RF networks are basic and simple. They consist of a wireless barcode scanner, one or more
access points, and a server with your database application. The size and configuration of your
warehouse will determine how many access points you need and their placement. When the access points
are in place, the wireless barcodes scanners are the link between the warehouse employee and the
RF wireless systems have become so common because business owners recognize that the gains in
productivity and accuracy usually far outweigh the costs. Systems have become much more affordable
and the software programs are more user-friendly. Here are some areas in which you can expect to make
Increased Operational Efficiency
With an efficient paperless wireless system, you have the ability to track items from when they are
received until they are shipped to the customer. You can track inventory levels, strategically change
warehouse placement, monitor employee performance, and even track usage of shipping materials. Youíll
be prepared to meet demand during your busiest periods.
More Efficient Storage Capacity/More Flexibility to Store Inventory
RF wireless technology, combined with a warehouse management system lets you use your warehouse storage space
more efficiently. Your picking inventory can be placed where itís easiest to access, while storage
inventory can be placed based on the individual space requirement of each product. Youíll utilize
valuable warehouse space better and enjoy greater storage capacity. With an accurate inventory youíll
be able to keep less overstock or slow-moving inventory.
Fewer Warehouse Employees (Permanent and Seasonal)
With the greater efficiency of computerized data capture, youíll be able to reduce the number of
employees in the warehouse. Theyíll be more productive and get more done with fewer people. Accurate,
easy to navigate pick lists will allow new or seasonal employees to be more productive sooner.
Train New Employees Quicker
Software-directed RF barcode scanners will help you train new employees quickly. Theyíll be productive
sooner as the system guides them efficiently through the warehouse. Training seasonal or temporary
peak-demand workers will also be quick and easy.
Faster and More Accurate Data Entry
Computerized data capture will eliminate the slow and error-prone process of hand-recorded data entry.
Barcode scanning is thousands of times more accurate and hundreds of times more efficient than
recording by hand. Youíll achieve greater speed, and virtually eliminate data entry mistakes.
Annual Inventory Count
Counting inventory annually will be less costly and error-prone. Barcode scanners make identifying and
counting inventory a quicker, easier process. Youíll return to productivity sooner, and with a more
Quicker and More Accurate Cycle Counts
Cycle counting becomes easier and inventory levels become more accurate with a wireless RF barcode
system. By eliminating errors and inaccuracies, youíll also be able to reduce safety stock levels.
Quicker Error Correction
The real-time feedback from an efficient warehouse management system allows your inventory receiving
staff to identify, confirm, and investigate problems quickly. Problems, such as a shortage or
over-shipment can be identified, flagged, and resolved before incorrect items or quantities make
their way into your warehouse inventory.
Reduce Non-Value-Added Travel Time by Warehouse Personnel
Time is money, and wasted employee travel in the warehouse can be expensive. A RF-enabled warehouse
management system can direct employees on the most efficient put-away or pick path through the
An RF-enabled warehouse management system is one improvement almost universally recognized as a good
investment. Here are some specific examples of warehouse operations where RF can be utilized:
Most businesses receive products or shipments. These range from raw materials for
manufacturing, to components for assembly, to products ready for a retail shelf. In each case, there is
a common receiving process: confirmation that the received items are correct, placing items in their
correct warehouse location, entering information into the database, and then paying for the items.
Utilizing RF in this environment provides significant advantages over a paper-based tracking system.
An employee with a RF barcode scanner receives a carton by scanning the barcode, then sending the
purchase order number, parts, and quantities to the database, where the item is logged in as received.
An instant comparison is made between the ordered quantity and the received quantity. If a discrepancy
exists or items are damaged, the issue can be addressed immediately. This sequence usually takes just
seconds, immediately after receiving the carton in the warehouse. The items in the shipping container
can then be processed quickly and sent on their storage locations.
With RF barcode scanners youíll see a large increase in the number of items put-away per hour. The
employee is directed to the correct aisle, row, shelf, and bin.
After the received items are placed on the shelf, they become part of your inventory. One of the
burdens of carrying inventory is taking an annual physical count. It can be expensive in terms of lost
business if you shut down or freeze operations, and expensive if your employees come in after hours or
on weekends and you have to pay overtime. Employees who have participated in the counts before will
probably dread it. Itís also possible that human error and inattention can introduce as many
inaccuracies as you identify during the count. Writing and keeping track of your data on paper is
inefficient and inaccurate.
In direct contrast, an RF-enabled warehouse management system is both highly accurate and efficient.
Annual inventory counting can be performed easier, faster, and nearly without human error. You scan the
barcode on the bin, then either scan each item in the bin or manually count them and enter the data.
Discrepancies can be quickly identified and authorized personnel can make adjustments to the database.
Another benefit of a real-time RF barcode scanning system is the ability to conduct an ongoing
inventory or cycle count. Because your computer database is adjusted continuously, itís possible to
count a portion of your inventory during your normal workday, without affecting the entire operation.
You can decide to count a section of your warehouse, or you may decide to count items based on their
high value or high-velocity sales.
The system gives you the flexibility to decide what is best for your operation. Items may be counted
only once a year or several times a year, based on your business needs. The ongoing counting of
inventory leads to greater accuracy and can eliminate the need for a costly shutdown for an annual
Among the benefits of accurate inventory is that customers receive their orders when they expect them.
Your sales and customer service people can be confident that the orders they take or the sales they
make can be filled. They donít have to call the warehouse or personally check items before confirming
Picking And Order Fulfillment
A RF directed scanner increases both picking speed and accuracy. The warehouse management software
directs the employee on the most efficient route through the warehouse. It eliminates wasted travel
time. It also confirms the correct location and the correct item.
Additional programs are available to let your employees pick multiple orders simultaneously. Orders
and item locations are organized, and employees are directed in which bin to place the picked items.
This has proven to be a tremendous time saver for many businesses.
Greater warehouse volume and throughput generally precedes an increase in shipping problems. Problems
also occur with an increase in UPC codes or serial numbers that must be recorded or copied during the
receiving or shipping processes. A RF barcode system requires only a simple scan for an accurate record
of the item.
Access to accurate real-time data means greater productivity. Critical decisions can be made quicker
and at the point of activity, by an authorized employee. Youíll be able to do more, do it quickly, and
do it without adding employees. The cost is relatively low and the payoff can be extremely high.
Contact us today for more information or to set up a free live demonstration of the advantages and
capability of the Barcoders.com warehouse management solution.
Let Barcoders.com provide you with a free price quote and help you increase
your productivity, bottom line, and client satisfaction.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.