Mobile devices have quickly become a real game changer for businesses. Distribution centers of all sizes are starting to realize they could also benefit from mobile technology. As many older warehouse managers are retiring and getting replaced by a younger generation, the younger leaders are starting to employ more efficient technology solutions to common distribution center challenges. Technology in the distribution center is not only useful for tracking product data, but also for labor supervision within the warehouse. Specifically designed for the needs of the ever-growing distribution industry, mobility in distribution centers offer solutions could accelerate the pace of your distribution business and increase profitability.
How is Technology Used Currently in Distribution Centers?
When products are first received in the system, they must be trackable. Whether it becomes inventory or is only passing through to another destination does not matter. The picking and shipping areas are where the system picks up speed, and accuracy is key. This is also the area where distribution centers meet most of their challenges:
- Quick turnaround times
- Orders being accurately packed
- Correct shipping information
- Transfer to shipping/delivery service
- Notifying customers of order status
Already, the need for a more adaptable management system is evident for both product and labor. Some distribution centers have added different tiers of inventory including consignments and special orders. Supervisors are responsible for overseeing the normal tasks that need to be done, but also need to address problems. For instance, supervisors are regularly looking to find out where bottlenecks are forming, handling employee issues, and addressing productivity levels that are not where they should be.
Unfortunately, the supervisor’s job involves a lot of running back and forth between the warehouse and his office, where his desktop is. He or she may also need to visit vendors or other warehouses. In this age of mobile technology, having to run to an office to get information more than a few times is counterproductive. With a mobile-enabled distribution center, the supervisor can handle tasks from wherever he or she is, accessing all data and information just as if he were sitting at his desk and using his computer.
As technology advances, these needs will be even more easily met.
The Future of Mobility for Distribution Centers
In the not-to-distant future, the benefits and advantages of mobility for distribution centers will be even better than they are right now. Distribution centers that employ a mobile solution in their business now will be perfectly positioned to take advantage of the upcoming software upgrades that will give the competitive edge over any distribution center who has not embraced new technology and mobility.
Owners and supervisors will have the ability to manage a wider range of tasks including labor management and provide further tracking on all product movements, and even chart equipment maintenance.
For maintenance, improved business analytics will be obtained that can be used to improve the overall operation of your distribution center. Some information gathered will include basic equipment data, and service history of equipment. Reports could include parts usage, labor time, any travel time, error codes, and detailed repair notes. A technician could create notes on follow-up work discovered during services.
For supervisors, mobile apps will free them to spend less time on paperwork and more time on the floor. A supervisor won’t have to trek back to their office for information, giving supervisors the ability to address issues faster using their mobile device. This will also enable them to keep track of employees, productivity, and more – all from their smart phone or other mobile device.
It’s only a matter of time before mobile apps become an everyday tool in distribution centers. Will you be ready?