Five Trends to Watch for Warehouse Technology

Trends to Watch

Warehouse efficiency is critical to operational success. When the warehouse is running smoothly, costs are controlled, workers are more productive, and customers are happy.  The competitive landscape is motivating businesses to gain better control of operations to produce at a faster, more efficient rate without overburdening the workforce.  The result?  On-time, error-free and compliant fulfillment.

It all begins with the proper warehouse technology. You don’t necessarily need technology with all the bells and whistles in order to be successful, but you do have to find the right warehouse technology solutions to keep you ahead of the curve and ready for the demands of tomorrow.  Industry surveys and studies developed by leading manufacturers of automated solutions have found:

  • When switching from a manual process to an automated data collection solution, ROI can be achieved in less than 12 months.
  • Users may experience a 15+% increase in warehouse productivity; this can mean labor savings of more than an hour/day per worker.
  • When it comes to durability of a device, users of rugged industrial mobile computers experience reduced failures (38% failure rate for commercial devices vs. 11% for industrial devices).
  • Greater operational visibility; leading to better planning and informed decision-making

There are a number of devices on the market that can boost productivity and bring greater efficiency to your operations. Choosing the right one(s) will depend on the application, the workload and the environment.

Here are a few examples of efficient warehouse technology trends we’ve seen.

Wearable Devices

Honeywell’s 8680i Smart Wearable is a wearable data collection device with an optional user-facing display that offers responsive, hands-free performance in a light-weight design.  This device offers warehouse workers:

  • Speedy throughput, saving up to 6 seconds per scan compared to a handheld model
  • Reduced costs by using just one device vs. multiple paired devices
  • Smart battery technology – powering through a full shift and beyond
  • More uptime; and a durable design to resist bumps and abuse

Trends to Watch Honeywell’s new 8680i Smart Wearable

Auto Dimensioning Packages

An auto-dimensioning solution offers automatic, efficient measuring of packages of all shapes and sizes.  It also can bring big benefits the warehouse.  Not only will it greatly reduce chargebacks from carriers, but it’s small footprint can be a great way to optimize the workspace.  Results realized by users of Honeywell’s AutoCube™ 8200 include:

  • Improved labor utilization; reduces the amount of handling taking place during the process
  • Cost savings — the 8200 is much more affordable than other tools on the market
  • Significantly reduced chargebacks from carriers
  • Fast ROI; low cost of the device and huge chargeback savings help accelerate the payoff

Vehicle-Mount Computers

Trends to Watch worker

In order to increase operational efficiency, it’s important to look for ways to improve processes that will increase worker productivity. One such opportunity applies to the forklift operator.  A forklift driver who has to constantly move to and from the vehicle in order to process the transaction ends up spending a great deal of their time in movement. Vehicle-mounted computers take warehouse applications to the next level by tackling daily challenges more easily.  Honeywell’s Thor™ family of vehicle-mount computers require less training time, are easy to access from the driver’s seat, and serve a variety of needs.

  • Provides a future-proof, flexible solution to boost worker productivity
  • Rugged design minimizes downtime and maintenance costs in demanding environments
  • Available with a variety of display sizes from 16.5 cm (6.5 in) up to 30.7 cm (12.1 inches) for ease of use
  • Operating System upgrade path for customers who want to upgrade in the future

Movilizer for SAP EWMFully integrated, powerful cloud solution to connect critical workflows that support SAP EWM on any mobile device. Easy to configure for warehouse processes as well as individual workload patterns. Advantages of Movilizer for SAP EWM include:

  • Dramatically reduced manual processes and excess paperwork
  • An increase in data accuracy and traceability
  • Greater process efficiency and productivity enhancements
  • Reduced instances of shipment errors

Mobile Device Shift to Android OS

Trends to Watch warehouse

We’ve covered the industry shift from Windows to Android OS for mobile devices, prompted, in part, by Microsoft announcing end of support for Windows CE and Windows Mobile Handheld operating systems. The announcement, coupled with the fact that the Android operating system is already familiar to users of consumer mobile devices, makes Android a smart and secure migration path.

The trick is planning for the migration itself; which is why many industry leaders are offering their mobile computing devices with the ability to operate on either platform.  This greatly benefits Windows users because it gives their IT departments time to make application and process changes on their own terms – knowing they can switch the device to an Android OS when the business is ready.

Taking the Next Step to Fresh Warehouse Technology

The best way to start is to consult with a solution provider that’s familiar with data collection automation solutions and understands the ins and outs of your many different applications and process flows.

An IT consultant may wear many hats, for example, but will they also have years of experience working in and around the tall shelves of a DC or the rigors of a cold storage application?  Will they be able to provide you with a wireless network that accommodates the deepest, darkest corner of your warehouse?  Partner wisely and ask a lot of questions before settling on your choices for warehouse technology.

For recommendations and more information on warehouse mobility products, contact us.

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