AML Blog - The Scan

3 Ways a Barcode Data Collection System Improves Warehouse Productivity

In modern warehouses, productivity is the key to success. The inability to properly manage inventory can result in a loss of time, money and customers for your organization. For companies that are currently struggling to manage their distribution operations manually, the time to move to a barcode data collection system may be right. This transition will enable your organization to automate operations within your facility by eliminating unnecessary processes and errors. Let’s take a look at three ways a data collection system can improve warehouse productivity:

Reduce Human Error

Throughout your distribution operations – from receiving and put-away to picking and shipping – using manual tracking processes will leave your organization susceptible to human error. A barcode data collection system allows warehouse workers to scan barcodes on items, packages or pallets into handheld devices instead of keying that data into PCs. Not only does scanning save huge amounts of time, but the accuracy of that data goes up drastically. Item numbers can often be long and are difficult to enter accurately – one wrong number could cause a mistake that may take hours to fix. Think about it – even the most skilled typists make mistakes every couple hundred keystrokes, but errors in barcode scanning are conservatively 1 in 3 million characters scanned. Adding barcodes to receivers, pick tickets, sales orders and even the locations where inventory is stored, can further improve the efficiency of operations. Anywhere data can be scanned instead of keyed in is an automatic productivity improvement.

Real-Time Inventory Tracking

For any size warehouse, the ability to accurately count and track inventory is critical to the success of distribution operations. By incorporating a wireless, or Wi-Fi, network as a component of the barcode data collection system, productivity goes to an even higher level. Inventory transactions are posted instantaneously via the handheld devices operating on the Wi-Fi network, enabling the entire organization to have immediate visibility to inventory movement. Having access to this information on a real-time basis allows the purchasing department to make more prudent buying decisions, streamlining inventory holdings and preserving cash. Sales personnel know exactly what inventory is on hand and where it is in the supply chain. Errors in general are minimized or eliminated, increasing the overall trust in the system. Employees know with confidence what inventory is on hand and where it is.

Reduce Labor Costs

With a wireless barcode data collection system, common tasks that used to take workers hours to finish can be completed in a fraction of the time. Cycle counts can be completed with relative ease and greater accuracy. Complete physical inventory counts can be cut from days to hours with fewer human resources. Workers are freed up to do the jobs they were hired to. Paperwork can be reduced or eliminated altogether. This elimination allows for improved data entry accuracy and will lead to improvements throughout your supply chain.

Managing inventory efficiently is crucial in order for companies to minimize the cash they invested in product, and improving their ability to convert the inventory they do have, back into cash. The streamlined processes, improved accuracy, and better visibility make a barcode data collection system a must for any warehouse operation, large or small. Through the automation of daily operations, these systems offer security, reliability and real return-on-investment results.

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