As our needs evolve, technology adapts to make our lives easier. Whether it’s finding a quick ride, seeing real-time traffic updates, or signing a document without a paper chase, companies are making every-day tasks faster and easier with the help of technology. Software as a Service (SaaS) providers like Uber, Google, and DocuSign are beginning to change the way many warehouses operate on a day-to-day basis.
These SaaS companies look at the daily pains of warehouse operations and find ways to make those tasks easier and more efficient. One way many companies are doing this is by simply altering the way they store, communicate, and collect data. Data is the core of a warehouse and the key to smooth operations; by changing the way we think about and deal with data, we can greatly increase warehouse efficiency.
Paper Heavy Operations
Believe it or not, many organizations still believe they are better off without technology. Many warehouses’ daily operations include manually entering orders, printing out daily pick and pack lists for floor workers, and even recording cycle counts with a pad and paper. However, simply collecting and storing data in a different way can make all employees’ lives easier.
Over the past few years, cloud-based software has begun to make a place for itself in the business world. With Microsoft and Amazon leading the charge for cloud computing in the early 2000s, businesses quickly realized the benefit it could have. By storing data in a different way you can greatly increase your warehouse productivity level. Through cloud storing, you create one centralized location for your data that can be accessed from anywhere. Store inventory data, order information, pick and pack lists, and any other warehouse data in one place. Quickly access that information on a secure network wherever and whenever you need it. Furthermore, cloud storage cuts down on paperwork. Don’t waste time rummaging through files – Use your time for more value-adding activities.
If you work in a warehouse, you’ve probably had to complete mundane tasks that involve transferring or re-entering data. There are many companies that use manual processes to transfer data from one system to another. Or when first recording data, employees must enter data into multiple systems. With technological evolution, many SaaS providers now offer integrations with other cloud-based software to avoid unnecessary manual work.
By using integrations you can create a complete and interconnected ERP system that meets all your organizational needs. When you integrate systems you create a connection between them so they can communicate. When a change is made to the data in one system, that change is communicated and updates other system’s data. So, you can ensure your information is always accurate and up-to-date. This automatic sharing across systems eliminates the need for manual data transfers and re-entry. Data can be a powerful tool if it is effectively tracked.
Many warehouses run into issues with inaccurate inventory information. Two main causes of this inaccuracy include data not being updated in a timely manner and data not being updated at all. Many warehouses rely on end-day or mid-day data updates to track inventory. The problem with this is that inventory is very dynamic in many industries; before your AM shift worker updates information showing that they sent out 150 parts to Customer A, someone in your sales department is promising those same parts to Customer B. By storing your data on the cloud, setting up those integrations, and then taking it one step further to implement tracking technology, you can avoid this issue altogether.
It is nothing new to see barcode and RFID scanners in warehouses. However, linking these scanners to a back-end system is new. Scanners make it simple to record the data right when the transaction occurs. By using data collection devices to update system data, you get real-time information with the click of a button. As you pick inventory for orders, receive into the warehouse, or even just cycle counte, those numbers automatically update in your inventory system. There is no lag in your inventory data so everyone can access accurate and up-to-date information.
By changing the way you store, communicate, and collect your data, you can greatly improve warehouse efficiency. Storing your data on the cloud, communicating it through integrations, and collecting it through real-time devices, creates an interconnected web for all your warehouse information. Spend less time focusing on managing your data and more time using it to drive business performance.