Technology Innovation in Cutting Operations Time in Warehouse

Warehouse Management Warehousing is an important activity in the industry. Whatever may be the nature and size of industry, warehouses are needed to keep the materials safely and provide materials promptly when needed. Warehouse enables the manufacturing companies to store materials and spares required for running, repairing and maintenance of plant and machinery. Warehouses are also used to store the finished goods safely till the goods are needed by the customers. They help in improving the customer satisfaction by quick supply of materials. Customers have not wait for supplies from the manufacturing units, which may be very far off. Transporting the materials would need to cover long distance and longer lead time till it reaches to customer’s site. Warehouse help the companies in developing the new markets and helps in generating the need for the products in the areas close to the warehouse.

Warehousing operations

Receiving the materials from suppliers or production shops, inspection of the materials, placing the materials at the right location, issuing the materials to the customers both internal and external, stock taking, order picking, packaging and dispatching the order quantities are usual operations of every warehouse. Usually large number of workers/operators are required to carry these operations. The management is always concerned about the productivity of the warehouse. Due to the nature of activities in the warehouse and the large number and the quality of manpower employed, it is difficult to increase efficiency and productivity of the warehouse without resorting to technology innovations.

Changeover from manual to automation in warehousing operations

In the early days most of the warehouse operations were manual involving large number of labor. Over the period, management started realizing the need for improving the performance of warehouses to make the organization more efficient and cost effective. The need was to remain competitive in the market with low cost products, quick deliveries and efficient after sales services. Modernization and automation was the natural choice for the industry. Scanners of various designs and sizes were introduced in the warehouses to carry on some of the functions with speed, accuracy and safety. Scanners were a great help to the workers who could do work with great speed and less efforts. Introduction of scanners helped the management to carry on the activities with less work force and also do the work economically, and safely. Today, scanners can be seen everywhere, in malls, shops, airports, and hospitals.

Technology innovation reduces operations time

Scanners became a necessity in the warehousing operations specially in receiving section for counting, inspection and verification of invoice to release payment to the suppliers. Large warehouses have huge inventory and at times it is difficult to locate an item or packet in the warehouse. If the label of the packet is on the backside from the view of the store keeper, it was very difficult to track the item in the warehouse. Scanners greatly solved this problem and were effective to study the complete details of the items even if they are stored inappropriately in a remote corner. Scanners made stock taking very easy and reduced total time taken in stock taking. The order picking also became very efficient.

Warehouses are still looking for further innovations to improve the efficiency and cut the operations time and cost. The “Vision Picking” is a new innovation that is going to replace the hand held scanners from the scene. They are wearable head mounted smart glasses, which are synchronized with the warehouse management software. They are capable of very fast order picking, have less errors as the hands of the workers are free while picking the order. They display information about the product location, aisle, specifications and the quantity. It is estimated that the order picking will become about 25% more efficient with the use of wearable smart glasses. DHL is making trial runs in some of the warehouses to introduce such innovations. The new innovation is going to change the approach in warehousing management.


 

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