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3 Reasons Why Connected Workers are Productive Workers

The secret to success in warehousing is improving worker productivity. Technology innovations in barcode scanning, industrial printing and mobile computing over the last two decades have enabled businesses to speed up transactions, increase accuracy, and make more informed decisions. Connected technology describes the ability to not only connect one worker to another from a communication standpoint, but to create a connection between the worker and the task being performed. This is managed through solutions that offer devices designed specifically for industrial applications, along with software applications that help them perform tasks, manage transactions and analyze data faster.

Here are the top three reasons why workers who are connected through their technology have become more competitive in their market, increasingly profitable, and able to satisfy customer requirements more readily.

Greater Productivity

When a worker must return to a central location to process transactions or pick up the next assignment, they can get distracted by another employee, a pressing issue or simply the time it takes to travel to and from the point of work. Connected workers process their transactions and receive their next assignment automatically using wireless barcode readers and scanners. The time savings improves labor productivity, increases output and improves profitability.

Better Communication

Connected workers are easier to reach because you can communicate through voice, text, messaging and more. In a warehouse of workers that are not connected, time is wasted tracking colleagues down, leaving voice mails or sending emails.  Inventory location information, preparing goods for shipment, checking stock on an order or finding the best route to make a delivery all take much longer to perform if network or data connectivity does not exist.

Today’s customer is not as patient as they used to be. They expect immediate shipment and fast delivery.  They expect to receive what they ordered, on time, and properly labeled. Connected workers can solve issues, answer questions and resolve problems faster, simply because it’s easier to communicate and access data.  Anything that can improve communication improves customer service.

Better Decision-Making Ability

Decisions based on facts are better than decisions based on guesswork or rules of thumb, even when the decision maker has vast experience and the customer’s best interests at heart. A worker without access to the data they need will essentially be making decisions in a vacuum.

A connected worker, on the other hand, has information at their fingertips, which can speed up the process in a situation that may otherwise take hours or days to resolve. The result of the increased speed and visibility is better planning and forecast accuracy, and increased customer satisfaction.

How to Equip Warehouse Workers for Better Performance

Mobile equipment improves productivity. Warehouses report that inefficient processes cost them about 3,000 lost hours per year. Mobile devices like tablets, smartphones, mobile computers and vehicle-mount computers enable more efficient processes, and can drive savings of more than $450,000 per year.

Examples of how connected devices can improve worker performance:

  • Mobile barcode printers can be mounted on a forklift or pallet truck, so workers can easily print labels when needed. Printing the label at the point of use keeps workers safe, can reduce errors and improve productivity.
  • Barcode scanning using a handheld scanner or mobile computer ensures picking accuracy and improves productivity. Workers pick, scan, and move on to the next item without stopping or wasting time on travel. Consider wrist mounted or belt mounted scanners for even more worker flexibility. There are even ring scanners worn on the worker’s finger to enable maximum dexterity with optimum efficiency.
  • Voice is the newest way to work with connected users. Workers wear wireless headsets and receive their picking instructions by computer generated voice. This makes it easy to ask questions for clarification and is fast and accurate.
  • RFID (Radio Frequency ID) tags can automatically send information about the material’s location and status to the inventory management system, improving accuracy and speed. Great for large warehouses and forklift use.

The technologies available today are exciting and always evolving based on market need, consumer demands and industry requirements. The most recent trend for mobile devices is the move to an Android operating system.  With Microsoft discontinuing support for handheld devices, manufacturers are beginning to offer mobile computers with both operating systems, so companies can easily migrate from one OS to the other at their own pace without having to rush to make application changes.  Manufacturers like Honeywell are also offering platforms to make upgrades to new technology more efficient.  Their Mobility Edge platform allows IT teams to easily manage devices in the field, perform updates more quickly and prepare for future growth.

The best way to optimize your warehouse productivity is to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable provider who understands the needs of the warehouse. They can offer recommendation on the latest technology and can match their recommendations to your specific needs.