Flawless Fulfillment Through Technology – Part 4: Access Data and Reports in Real-time

For the past few weeks, we have focused on the 6 major processes that most typical warehouse inventory systems are built on. If done right, each of these processes will enable you to reach what we like to call "flawless fulfillment". This week we will dive into accessing data and reporting in real-time.

Business runs on data. Decisions are made based on the information that is readily accessible, so building and maintaining a real-time data stream is critical to efficiency and profitability.

It’s surprising how many warehouse operations still utilize manual systems to record data. Inventory counts, for example, are done with pen and paper. The numbers are then entered into the database. This approach is a slow and error-laden process. These inherent problems lead to overstocks, out-of-stocks, and the labor it takes to straighten out the confusion.

Image by DaraKero_F    - Used & edited with permission under    Creative Commons (Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Look at the picking process. Using the pen-and-paper method, order picking is time-consuming, as pickers spend time locating the items, and then scribbling notes on each order—information that is later entered manually, with someone trying to accurately decipher the words, lines, and arrows marking up the order form.

With warehouses trending toward managing more SKUs each year—and covering more square footage—the issue will only become a bigger challenge, unless warehouse managers integrate the power of mobile technology.

Mobile computers and scanners, forklift-mounted computers, and mobile printers, voice-directed picking systems are critical for operational efficiency in a busy warehouse. Eliminate delays and redundancy in tasks, increase accuracy, track employee performance—from receiving and putaway to picking and loading. The enterprise mobile devices connect with the WMS, transmitting data in real-time. You can view accurate inventory counts, review the activity throughout the warehouse, and make timely adjustments that save time and money.

The real-time reporting that is compiled as a result of an efficient warehouse means that you gain tighter control over fulfillment costs. You improve customer satisfaction and reduce the rate and cost of processing returns. Improved ergonomics of lightweight (yet rugged) enterprise-class mobile devices not only improves the comfort and ease of repetitive tasks, but increases the rate your employees can do their jobs.

Zebra refers to this heightened level of knowledge as “Enterprise Asset Intelligence” (EAI). Their mobile technology enables DDSi to build out total solutions in every corner of a warehouse, including the loading area and yards. Wherever we deploy mobility, we integrate a means for real-time data collection.

Please contact us to discuss how we can escalate the real-time reporting across your enterprise, and the ROI that results from EAI.