Competition defines us as a species. In everything from sports to business, games to education, we’re motivated to stand out and be the best.
The logistics industry is no different—speed of delivery, accuracy, prompt order processing, and the constant need to find new methods to improve efficiency drive this industry—and there’s a heck of a lot of competition.
The average logistics IT environment is more impressive and complex than ever before, thanks to ever-evolving technological innovation. A highly integrated logistics technology environment allows for more efficient transactions and higher customer satisfaction—two vital components to gaining the competitive edge in the logistics market.
Want to give your logistics enterprise the competitive edge? Focus on these key technologies…
Mobile solutions are revolutionizing the speed, efficiency and accuracy of logistics. Handheld devices, barcode scanners, and mobile computers and printers are making it easier and faster than ever to receive, process and ship orders. By integrating mobile devices such as tablets, phones, laptops and other handheld technology, order fulfillment time is reduced—and those clunky processes when using manual or isolated systems? Eliminated.
Many mobile-driven processes can be automated, so shipment movements and new data show up nearly instantaneously. And now, with the advent of Voice Directed Warehousing (VDW)—more commonly known as “voice picking”—logistics employees can work hands-free while communicating directly with your WMS and other systems, and without having to be in front of a computer. With VDW, inbound and outbound handling accuracy and inter-warehouse tracking efficiency are greatly increased, allowing you to better serve your customer base.
Radio frequency identification (or RFID) tags are essentially “smart” barcode labels—and they’re an amazingly helpful little piece of technology to incorporate into your logistics operation. Wirelessly communicating with your network, these tags track every single item as it moves throughout your warehouse.
Imagine all packages, tracked automatically—no scanning or keyboard entry required. RFID allows for efficient inventory control, plus each tag also tracks locational information within a warehouse. It’s fast, automatic and contactless. RFID tags are also rewriteable, so they can be used over and over—a clear advantage in overhead savings. Emerging RFID tag technology allows for the most accurate, efficient and speedy freight tracking yet. When your floor managers have confidence in their real-time data readiness and your customers know exactly where their package is—everyone is happy.
Experience Reliable Wi-Fi Connectivity
Warehouses often come with Wi-Fi dead zones innate to their metallic structure and specific shape. The good news? Huge improvements in Wi-Fi technology virtually eliminate warehouse dead spots. Picture this: full wireless communication at all times, across all devices, and with no break in the process chain.
In today’s logistics industry, wireless communication is the backbone on which everything else relies. If wireless communication is interrupted for any reason, processes become sluggish and the whole system grinds to a halt. Perhaps it’s time to eliminate frustrations, reduce costs and improve efficiency with an updated, reliable full-warehouse Wi-Fi connectivity solution.
Shift to Best of Breed TMS/WMS
We’ve noticed that “increased visibility and accuracy in every aspect of supply chain operations” is a big, common 2015 goal for growing logistics enterprises. The issue is often the time and cost involved in consolidating and integrating data and processes from multiple TMS/WMS/ERP/YMS systems—and on top of that, you face the fear of business disruption or technology failure. But just imagine the intrinsic value in a single-source of enterprise-wide data and process information!
It can be done and it can be done well. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to increased visibility and consolidated data, but many logistics enterprises are moving to best-of-breed, cloud-based and full-featured WMS systems. While getting there may seem like an insurmountable feat, there are best practices and detailed methods and processes available to help make the shift as smoothly as possible.
In an industry defined by competition, where improved efficiency and customer service are vital, technology that offers tangible competitive advantages should be explored. The opportunity to drive your logistics business ahead with great logistics IT is here. Let’s make it happen.
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