Mobile solutions are becoming the “tool of choice” for line managers who need the power and flexibility to access data and manage critical business processes wherever and whenever, without being limited to their office computer. Whether on the warehouse floor, in transit or at a field location, mobile apps have proven their usefulness by providing supply chain professionals more flexibility while enhancing efficiency and productivity.
The origin of mobility in the warehouse
The first attempt at mobility in warehouse and distribution environments was the use of special purpose handheld devices for conducting daily inspections and updating consignment inventory, among other things. It was a great start, but its true usefulness was limited primarily by cost and change management. These devices are expensive to buy, maintain and replace; they are bulky and heavy; and users of special purpose devices require special purpose training – more change management. All of this meant that businesses had limited choice – moving to a new vendor required substantial capital and extensive re-training.
The benefits of today’s mobility in the warehouse
The smartphone and the tablet are essentially multi-purpose mobile devices that allow workers to be productively agile on the go, to accomplish various job tasks and functions at different warehouse locations. These smart devices can improve worker accuracy and productivity in picking and packing processes, too, via streamlined. real-time order data updates. This, in turn, improves service delivery to customers.
For added efficiency, mobile apps integrate with both portable and stationary RFID, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as, RFID and bar-code printers, scanners and voice solutions. To make it even better, today’s smart printers now have built-in intelligence, enabling them to print in seconds by a simple app command.
The role of the smartphone
Smartphones have played a huge role in the adoption of mobile technologies across different business sectors. Commercial grade smartphones are taking the place of rugged mobile computers – they are less bulky, easy to replace and require minimal training. They enable both communications and business applications to run on one device. They are less expensive and provide high-quality functionality for warehouse and distribution environments – lower costs, higher scalability and, most important of all, greater choice.
Mobile Solutions Make Sense/Cents For The Supply Chain and Logistics Industries
The total mobile solutions movement is taking supply chain, warehousing, inventory and logistics functions by storm. Who would’ve believed just a few years ago, that companies could so easily, efficiently, effectively and accurately run, manage and control their supply chain and logistics operations just by pairing a cost-effective mobile app with a low-cost mobile phone!
And, business can now evaluate effective alternatives their bulky, heavy, expensive special purpose hand-held devices.