Is warehouse management Tough? Say No More with Beacon Technology
Can you pick out the underlying piece that can enhance the operations of logistics?
The IT solution for logistics and supply chain business is warehouse and inventory management system.
Warehouse management system is the handling of inventory operations that is inclusive of shipping, receiving, loading, and picking of goods. Different types of warehouses–climate-controlled, private, automated, and on-demand warehouses–are available to suffice the needs of inventory management systems.
Usually, you would use the term–stock control as well as warehouse management–interchangeably. However, I beg to differ—stock control intends at optimizing profit with the right inventory in the warehouse. In stark contrast, the warehouse management process locates these stocks on the shelf for a speedy delivery.
These days with the advancement of the eCommerce channels, it is crucial that small and medium to even the large retailers have their warehouse checked for efficient management.
Chronicles of Exhaustive Processes in the Manual Warehouse Management System
The current processes are inefficient, owing to the use of barcode for scanning of products and to track their location in the warehouse. Every time warehouse managers pick up products, they first have to identify the barcode and then their position.
Actually, there are five steps involved in the warehouse management process:
The warehouse owners receive notifications regarding the arrival of products. This helps them free up some space for the next lot. In the warehouse that is meant for the distribution, goods are required to be scanned and staged for the putaway. Besides this, there is another important activity that needs 100% attention of the warehouse operators–Inspection.
Products are brought to the warehouse, scanned and inspected for quality. The bigger task commences now. Certain locations are allotted for the product placement, which allows operators to get back to the product and get it ready for quick delivery. This stage also includes the collection of details regarding the size and weight of the product to find out how much weight the locations can bear.
Three decisions to make:
- How is the inventory being stored?
- What is the replenishment time for each of the products?
- Where should the product be stored?
If the first stage of receiving has been properly planned out, the third questions become redundant. However, during scenarios when multiple consignments are dropped into the warehouse, storing becomes a tad complicated.
When an order for a product is placed, a warehouse manager runs an inspection to find out whether the products are available for customers or not. Post this, a guide with the list of the product locations helps pickers to identify the right products from the shelves.
This involves four types of picking: strict-order picking, wherein a picker accomplishes a tour to retrieve a single order for shipping, batch picking, wherein a picker accomplishes multiple packaging at a single time, zone picking, wherein several zones are assigned to different pickers and saves travel time, and wave picking, wherein all orders placed in a single one are collected at once.
Though there is no travelling time involved, shipping indeed is a labour and time-intensive activity. Every product must be labelled properly for delivery men to handle it carefully.
With these five steps, a warehouse appears no lesser than a maze in itself. As eCommerce arises as an influential channel, the warehouse management would get tangled and turn into an unmanageable mess.
“So you mean, you have predicted the problem, do you have a solution?”
Existing Technologies Used for Warehouse Management Process
Warehouse management processes are complicated. However, when we incorporate technologies, it should experience simplicity. If not, then either the technology is at flaw, or it needs another technology.
Numerous warehouse owners have shown a high reliance on barcode technology. As a result, demand for the best warehouse management software has increased. However, the stickers can easily get damaged even with a little friction. Besides this, it needs a direct line of sight for the detection. Hence, it could consume equal or even more time than required.
Another addition to the warehouse revolution has been in the form of RFID technology. Large warehouses are investing in RFID tracking technology to manage their products. However, they are also in for RFID guns for picking their products from their locations.
Ultimately, the very purpose of the technology to control the time and money turns redundant.
Even After Years of Warehouse Management, are we still doing the Management Wrong?
Yes, we are. Every technology that has been so far applied to bring in the required automation to the warehouses have failed at some point. As a result, we are still at the bleachers and not actually able to be in the game in the logistics and transportation industry.
Warehouses are increasing in size, which is good news for the customers and eCommerce companies. On the flip side, do you see how much more complex this additional space is going to create? The rising cost of per square feet area and the travel time are going to demand more working capital. And, do we see productivity over here?
The scenario is blinding!
According to stats, in 2000, the typical size of a warehouse was about 65,000 square feet, which has now increased to 181,370 square feet in 2017. It surely does offset the issue of receiving higher volumes of products.
As the vertical and horizontal sizes of warehouses increase, the rent is also expected to rise. Between 2011 & 2015, warehouse renting rates went up as much by almost 29%. Add to that the increasing labour cost and the travelling equipment, and you are in for a big hole in your pocket.
The question is, can we afford the manual processes?
You cannot, and you should not.
Take inspiration from how the big fishes in the market are operating–Alibaba and Amazon remain heavily invested in the IoT in warehouses to optimize their warehouse and inventory management processes.
Should you follow the footsteps or take the road less travelled by with the latest beacon inventory management system?
Presenting…A Beacon Warehouse Management for Asset Tracking in Logistics
Say Bluetooth-enabled technology or BLE-based IoT solutions.
Beacon inventory management system is a viable solution for receiving a better throughput in the warehouses where RFIDs and barcodes have reached their prime and peak.
Instead of investing in RFID guns and tags, a beacon is fiscally sound for enabling smart warehouse operations. Beacon inventory management system offers a balanced safety stock, efficient asset tracking, and constant flow of information for offering the utmost efficiency.
Actually, BLE asset tags can function in a similar manner as a barcode system without actually requiring you to read a sticker. Warehouse operators do not need to point their scanner to the line of sight when it comes to Bluetooth tag systems. The wireless reader can extend a wireless network into a warehouse to collect the data.
Beacon warehouse management app is dependent on just three components:
- BLE asset tags for Bluetooth beacon tracking
- Mobile scanner to read signals
- Access point to a network
It is definitely not an exaggeration to say that BLE asset technology is highly evolved than the barcode and RFID technologies. If you are going to pass this technology on, I am sure your competitors will incorporate it, owing to low investment requirements.
What can you do with Beacon Inventory Management System?
The beacon-based mobile app has two-folds application–Use of beacons in warehouse management for operators and Admin.
Beacon Inventory Management System for Warehouse Managers and Operators: