For many warehouses, the switch to digital processes has already happened. Technology such as barcode scanners, RFID systems, and inventory tracking software have become the norm. Despite the rapid evolution of warehouses embracing latest technology and solutions, 24% of small businesses continue to rely on the traditional method of pen and paper for certain processes.
Transitioning to a paperless warehouse is a transformative step in embracing technology and streamlining operations. By eliminating paper-based systems and adopting real-time, digital warehouse management systems, warehouses can achieve increased efficiency and cost savings. Implementing a paperless system also has positive environmental impacts, reducing the need for ink and paper while decreasing the carbon footprint.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how transitioning to digital processes can benefit your warehouse operations.
Warehouses are not only a crucial part of any supply chain but also serve as the backbone, ensuring the efficient flow of goods, seamless inventory management, and timely fulfilment. Traditionally, some warehouse operations have relied heavily on manual processes that involve the use of pen and paper. While this may have been sufficient in the past, as the demands of modern commerce grow, it has become increasingly apparent that the paper-based system has become outdated and inefficient. Here are some of the problems with paper-based warehouse operations:
Paper-based systems take a lot of time to execute. Employees must fill out paperwork manually, which can be tedious and time-consuming. This, in turn, can slow down the entire operation, leading to missed deadlines and unhappy customers.
Humans are fallible, and mistakes are inevitable when using a manual system. The more paperwork involved, the greater the chance of human error, leading to inaccurate stock levels and shipments.
A paper-based system lacks real-time visibility into inventory levels and product movement. Without this information, it becomes difficult to track orders, leading to stockouts, overstocking, and inefficient use of space.
Paper-based systems can only be accessed at a specific location. This limits the ability of employees to work remotely or on the go, making it challenging to manage operations efficiently.
As these issues show, paper-based systems are not up to the task of handling the demands of modern warehouse operations. Fortunately, technology has come a long way, and digital solutions are now available that can help improve efficiency, reduce errors, and increase visibility.
In the past, inventory management and stock taking were time-consuming tasks that required staff members to manually count products and record data on paper. However, the use of barcode scanners has made these tasks more efficient and accurate.
Intuitively designed software solutions such as Pen Scan can greatly reduce the need for manual input and be picked up quickly by staff with minimal training. Barcode scanners can quickly scan the barcode of a product, capturing the information about the product, including the SKU number, product description, and quantity. This information can then be instantly updated in the warehouse management system, making inventory management and stock taking much more efficient.
One example of a barcode scanner that has revolutionised the way warehouses operate is ProGlove. ProGlove Mark 3 is a wearable barcode scanner that allows staff members to scan barcodes hands-free, saving time and improving productivity.
One of the biggest pain points in any warehouse operation is the process of pick, pack, and dispatch. This process can be highly time-consuming, especially when done using traditional pen and paper methods.
Wearable technology such as hands-free scanners are making waves in the warehouse industry. By allowing workers to scan barcodes without having to physically hold a scanner, they are able to complete tasks more efficiently and with fewer errors. This is especially useful for pick, pack, and dispatch processes where accuracy and speed are crucial.
Workers can simply wear the scanner on their wrist and scan items as they go, freeing up their hands for other tasks. This hands-free approach significantly speeds up the scanning process, allowing workers to easily move around the warehouse and scan items on the go. This improves efficiency and accuracy, as workers can focus on other tasks while still tracking inventory. Devices such as ProGlove Mark 3 also eliminate the need for workers to constantly put down and pick up scanners, minimising the risk of damage or loss.
Another solution worth noting is voice-activated picking systems. This allows warehouse employees to receive instructions through a headset and respond with voice commands. This hands-free approach to pick and pack operations is gaining popularity as it significantly reduces the time needed to train new staff and minimises errors in the picking process.
Voice picking technology also facilitates route planning, which involves assigning specific picking tasks to individual workers based on their location in the warehouse. By streamlining this process, workers can save time and complete tasks more efficiently, leading to higher productivity rates.
By using RFID technology, workers can quickly identify and locate the correct products to fulfil an order. As products are tagged with an RFID tag, workers can use RFID readers to quickly scan and confirm the product and its location. This can eliminate the need for workers to spend time searching for the correct products, saving both time and money.
Another benefit of using RFID technology is the accuracy it provides. With RFID, workers can ensure that the right product is being picked and that the correct quantity is being shipped out. This accuracy can lead to improved customer satisfaction as orders are correctly fulfilled and delivered promptly.
If you're still using pen and paper to manage your inventory, pick, pack, and dispatch processes, it's time to consider upgrading to modern barcode scanners and other smart technology. Not only will this make your warehouse more efficient, but it will also give you a competitive edge in a constantly evolving industry. Contact our team of experts to find out more.