Posts

intelligent automation DD8701_Avalon-Blog-11-Image-6_15

We’ve been discussing the rising popularity of intelligent automation in today’s warehouses. However, while a vast majority of operations are enhancing teams with multi-functional hardware, many businesses still struggle to use new technologies since well over half of workforces are outsourced and/or cyclical. Outsourcing crucial workflows, such as picking and shipping, creates a challenge in user adoption since new hires must be constantly re-trained, halting productivity and order throughput.

While Android-based devices have been shown to decrease adoption rates through a familiar interface, workers may still face issues when it comes to other core applications such as inventory management, WMS updates, and communication channels. Studies show that almost half of warehouses experience IT breakdowns at least a few days a week, most stemming from:

  • Dropped connectivity
  • Inefficient scan engines
  • Missed software updates
  • Lack of standardization
  • Missed maintenance schedules

To prevent these issues from diminishing the impact of automation efforts, Zebra’s Mobility DNA applications offer an additional level of adaptable intelligence to modernized devices that’s easy to adopt by your changing labor force.

Competitive intelligence is built from the inside out

Designed with simplicity in mind, Zebra’s Mobility DNA apps tackle the pervasive problems of IT breakdowns by:

  1. Securing WiFi connectivity within the four walls – Connectivity is the backbone of unbroken uptime, which is why Zebra’s WorryFree WiFi delivers no-drop WiFi connectivity to protect productivity with near-instant response times.
  2. Integrating intelligent data capture – Digitization eliminates the failures of manual data entry, but applications like SimulScan and DataWedge go a step farther by enabling multiple barcode scanning and instant data transmission for minimized keystrokes and faster throughput.  
  3. Automatic updates and security patches – With the high prevalence of cyberthreats in today’s digital world, companies can no longer compromise on security. Zebra’s LifeGuard works alongside Android’s automatic OS updates with recurring 90-day security patches, extending device lifecycle up to 10 years.
  4. Converting legacy apps without backend modifications – Although touchscreen apps are more conductive for faster adoption, legacy green-screen apps are more familiar to the older workforce and contain a clear workflow layout. That’s where apps like All-Touch Terminal Emulation come in handy in order to convert TE apps right out of the box for immediate use without app rewriting.
  5. Facilitated remote device management – As the workforce grows, so does the need for more devices, which makes device management indispensable. Apps like PowerPrecision held track battery lifespan, virtually eliminating downtime from battery failure.

These are just a few of the benefits Mobility DNA brings. Download the full guide to see more.

Intelligent modernization takes many forms. Create a system that best adapts to your workforce with Avalon. Contact our automation experts for a close evaluation of your current solution to see how you can get started.

Efficient Mobile Computing

Despite the high demand for fast order fulfillment, warehouses nationwide continue to grapple with the increasing labor shortage since pre-pandemic years. As the older workforce ages out, warehouses struggle to retain younger and experienced team members, with 51% of employers citing outdated technology as one of greatest hurdles in keeping operational success. While familiar to a selected few, legacy devices can ultimately lead to:

  • Higher adoption rates for new hires
  • Increased likelihood of user errors
  • Longer processing times
  • Breakdowns in communication
  • Frustrated and/or disengaged employees

To prevent these issues and meet customer demands, Zebra’s latest mobile computers bring a new level of familiarity and ease of use to the supply chain, empowering workers to accomplish more in less time.

Meet a New Level of Efficiency

Built on a foundation of durable enterprise-grade devices and 2020’s demand for flexibility, newer mobile devices like Zebra’s rugged handhelds quickly adapted to eliminate repetitive tasks and workflow complexities by leveraging…

  • Android’s user-friendly interface – Unlike Microsoft’s outdated Windows OS, Android offers a familiar user platform that resembles consumer-grade smartphones, drastically accelerating adoption rates for fast and seamless deployment. Zebra’s EC50/55 takes familiarity a step farther with integrated push-to-talk capabilities straight out of the box for instant telephony functions and decreased TCO.
  • Digitized operational visibility – Inventory and asset identification becomes easier when paper-based systems are out of the picture. Automated data capture and intelligent scanning bypass manual data entry for updates and workflow notifications. This equips the workforce with near real-time visibility on stock counts, available personnel, and pending tasks all through one handheld device such as Zebra’s TC52.
  • Fortified data security – Besides beating consumer-grade devices in rugged durability, Zebra’s handheld computers also maximize security with government-grade encryption, two-factor authentication, and 90-day recurring security patches to keep devices up and running for as long as 10 years. Devices like the MC9300 combine design and computing strength to deliver one long-lasting mobility device that fits even in the most demanding environments.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon facilitates upgrades through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Simply upgrade mobile devices from any manufacturer and get cash back rebates towards your new device.

Modernized mobility can take many shapes. Find yours when you reach out to our modernization experts to see how you can enhance worker performance in your operations today with a new edge of enterprise mobility.

DD8701_Avalon-Blog 9 Image (6_1)

Zebra’s latest Warehouse Vision Study illustrated a very clear picture: Automation has become the center focus of the modern supply chain. Over three quarters of warehouses across the globe have committed to embracing automation by enhancing the workforce with intelligent modernized technologies like rugged tablets and mobile computers. As newer technologies are released and redefine supply chain efficiency, new benefits and features are introduced to fast-paced operations. However, despite product variety, it is still crucial to expect the following benefits from your modernization solution:

  1. Enterprise-ready durability – Whether in the plummeting temperatures of a cold storage unit or the heat of an outside distribution yard, enterprise devices must be designed to retain high-performance functionality despite external conditions. Newer technologies do this by integrating greater IP ratings, condensation-resistant screens, greater drop specs above 5ft., and even disinfectant-ready casing to withstand constant antibacterial wipe downs.
  2. Future-proof operating systems – Without proper security patches and updates, Microsoft’s outdated operating systems can slow down operations while excluding important applications from your enterprise devices. On the other hand, systems such as Android for Enterprise protect uptime with automatic silent updates. Zebra’s Fortified Android goes a step farther by extending update lifecycles up to 10 years.
  3. Simplistic ease of use – Although new devices are capable of doing more than their legacy versions, they should still retain user-friendliness in order to facilitate onboarding and deployment with minimal downtime.
  4. Quick adaptability to change – Whether it be increased labor turnover rates or sudden product demand, adaptable technologies and software can accommodate change through maximized ease of use and/or open app ecosystem. This minimizes disruptions within workflows, protecting productivity rates.
  5. Trustworthy security parameters – For obvious reasons, cybersecurity has become a vital necessity within the Digital Age. Once again, Zebra’s fortified Android exemplifies aggressive data security with recurring security patches, government-grade encryption, and tiered authorization levels for a variety of mobile devices.
  6. Dependable connectivity – When changes occur, the whole supply chain may be affected, which is why sustainable connectivity is key to keeping all departments updated in real-time.
  7. Increased visibility – Lastly, modernized technology should be committed to optimizing operational visibility in order to prevent surprise downtime, bottlenecks, and extraneous costs. For example, mobile computers contribute to enhanced visibility by eliminating manual data entry from receiving and loading docks, boosting inventory accuracy for minimal out-of-stocks.

Come Take the Closer Look

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon will take the next few weeks to dive into the expanding benefits Zebra’s latest technologies bring to the modern warehouse in addition to the ones highlighted above. From new printing standards to a whole new tablet interface, discover a new level of modernized efficiency when you contact our modernization experts today to learn more.

While the healthcare crisis certainly affected supply chains worldwide, it did not replace previous challenges and risks within warehousing. For example, over 1000 data breaches still took place in 2020, costing as much as $500,000 per incident. Labor turnover rates continued to reshape distribution centers, and as expected, the demand for fast order fulfillment has not relented. Maintaining undisrupted productivity continues to be a challenge faced by small and large warehouses alike. To address these issues, businesses are encouraged to unify their teams through:

  • Reliable digitization since it increases data availability across the supply chain while diminishing the risks of manual data entry errors. Digitized storage allows teams to update inventory counts, manage incoming shipments, and verify outbound orders in real time through a handheld device, so when changes do occur, the whole workforce can be readily notified and connected. This helps teams quickly adapt to disruptions without impacting productivity in and out of the warehouse.
  • User-friendly enterprise mobility that integrates familiarity into an enterprise format. By reducing learning curves and adoption times, user-friendly mobile devices can accelerate worker connectivity, allowing them to be productive on their first day and to navigate through warehouse operations without confusion.

Integrating Mobile Digitization with Zebra Technologies

To establish end to end connectivity within the workforce, Avalon partners with leading manufacturers like Zebra Technologies to simplify digitization with intuitive enterprise-ready devices. Future-forward systems like Zebra’s Workforce Connect can be combined with rugged Android devices to:

  1. Streamline crucial workflows through one platform – replace 2-way radios and handheld scanners by combining them both in one Zebra mobile computer.
  2. Certify task completion – Use Workforce Connect’s task manager to assign and manage workflows remotely throughout your operations. When changes occur, simply notify teams via their handheld to minimize disruptions.
  3. Connect groups through secured communication channels – Zebra’s Fortified Android protects sensitive data with recurring security patches and government-grade encryption, so your team can integrate push-to-talk capabilities within their devices without security risks.
  4. Unify field teams – Track delivery status to verify shipping accuracy and driver productivity. Plus, notify field teams of rerouting changes when needed to avoid delays.

To see how zebra’s workforce connect enhances the modern supply chain, download our brochure here.

In unifying teams through seamless connectivity solutions, operations are able to prevent breakdowns, bottlenecks, and costly shortages that impact the customer experience. Reach out to our modernization experts today to explore more connectivity solutions that set your teams one step ahead of change.

 

 

Connectivity, security, and efficiency are the pillars of modernized supply chains, yet as workflows become more dynamic, maintaining all three of these aspects can be complicated. A disconnected warehouse can lead to communication breakdowns and missed deadlines. Lack of data security can result in costly data breaches averaging up to $8.19 million per company. Inefficient workflows directly contribute to high employee turnover, recurrent downtime, and customer dissatisfaction. Although several devices can be used to uphold each individual pillar,  Zebra’s Rugged Tablets meets all goals at once while expanding productivity inside and outside the four walls. 

See how it’s done. 

From Manufacturing to Field Service, Expect More from Your Mobility Solution

Because every business is inherently unique, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all mobility solution. As result, solutions built with Zebra’s Rugged Tablets can easily adapt and grow in a variety of workspaces, ultimately providing six indispensable benefits:

  • Optimized maneuvering in smaller workspaces – Thanks to its versatile mounting options and form factors, Zebra’s tablets can be easily integrated into smaller workspaces without compromising performance. 
  • Android’s enterprise-ready operating system – Combining the ease of a user-friendly interface with the security strength of an enterprise OS, Android delivers faster onboarding times along with an open app ecosystem to run large applications, multiple connectivity options, and crucial programs to streamline inventory and warehouse management through one platform.  
  • Complete workforce connectivity – Equipped with flexible networking, Zebra’s Rugged Tablets connect your teams in and out of the warehouse with real-time alerts, inventory counts, and task lists. Built-in cameras and high-quality voice systems further optimize cellular connectivity for field teams. 
  • Rugged touchscreen for harsh environments – Unlike consumer-grade devices, enterprise-ready tablets sport rugged touchscreens perfected for gloved use and legibility in direct sunlight. Moreover, Zebra’s tablets increase productivity with dependable battery performance lasting over 24 hours with hot-swappable batteries for unbroken uptime. 
  • Digitized data processing and reporting – Eliminate manual data entry errors and hurdles such as accessing crucial data on the go by digitizing reports for easy sharing and storing. As less time is spent recording data, workers have more time to focus on other more important tasks. 
  • Adaptable data entry options – In addition to its modernized touchscreen, Zebra’s L10 X-SLATE and 2 in 1 X–BOOK Tablets can also come with built-in intelligent scanners and rugged keyboards to provide adaptable data entry that matches your needs. 

Dive into the full benefits of the ultimate enterprise tablet when you download our fact sheet.

 Make the Switch with the GO Zebra Trade-In Program 

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon simplifies optimization through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Experience the power of Zebra’s rugged tablets firsthand when you upgrade your mobile devices from any manufacturer. Plus, get cash back rebates in three steps:

  • Purchase your eligible device
  • Submit you reclaim form within 90 days of your invoice date
  • Trade in legacy devices for cash rebates up to $100 per tablet. 

Start optimizing your operations with technologies designed to thrive in the most challenging environments. Reach out to our modernization experts today to see how you can bring the power of Zebra’s tablets into your workforce for dependable connectivity, security, and enterprise-ready efficiency.  

Innovative technologies, such as machine learning and real-time locationing, have long served as prime examples of today’s modernization efforts in warehousing, yet these disruptive initiatives have also been seen as “too complex” and “far off” by many operations -largely because of common misconceptions such as:

  • “Modernization requires extensive piloting and time to produce measurable ROI.”
  • “Modernization is only suitable for large-scale operations.” 
  • “Modernization will replace human operators.”
  • “Modernization is too expensive.”

With at least 69% of businesses claiming to have poor visibility into their supply chains, the time for misconceptions such as these is over. Because the digital era demands both speed and accuracy equally, outdated warehouse processes are no longer suitable to keep you competitive. However, modernization doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think, which is why we wanted to bring clarity to the four statements presented above:

  • “Modernization requires extensive piloting and time to produce measurable ROI.”

Design and piloting allow your team to test and tweak your solution for best results; however, extensive testing can drain budgets while causing downtime due to longer training periods. Nevertheless, modern touchscreen interfaces and Android’s user-friendly platform are developed to help minimize training for faster deployment and ROI. As a matter of fact, TE-app converters such as Zebra’s All-Touch Terminal Emulation help convert “green-screen” apps right out of the box without backend modifications for faster integration. 

  • “Modernization is only suitable for large-scale operations.” 

Working with a wide range of clients, from small and growing businesses to Fortune 500 companies, we’ve seen modernization solutions built with enterprise-grade technologies readily adapt in various-sized businesses. By streamlining multiple tasks through one device, technologies like the MC9300 computer can accomplish several specialized tasks through one intuitive interface, adapting to different workloads while accommodating growth.  

  • “Modernization will replace human operators.”

This is a common -and serious- concern regarding warehouse modernization, yet studies show that over 70% of warehouses actually plan to enhance human labor with partial automation. Simply put, while computers can intelligently gather and deliver information, human minds are still crucial to executing final decisions. For example, Zebra’s MotionWorks solution incorporates future-forward RFID locationing to track in-motion inventory and provide actionable insights that allow your workforce to make accurate plans to meet future needs and overcome challenges before they happen. By automating repetitive tasks, a modernized warehouse can also empower the workforce to deal with more high-level tasks.   

  • “Modernization is too expensive.”

Because effective modernization does not require a complete restructuring of your operations, it may actually be more affordable than previously imagined. On the flipside, outdated technologies can lead to high inaccuracies, missed compliance codes, multiple device servicing contracts, and frequent tech support and downtime – all greatly contributing to operational costs.  As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon works hard to make modernization as seamless and cost-effective as possible. Upgrade legacy devices from any manufacturer through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program to get cash back rebates up to $650 per device towards your upgrade. 

Every operation possesses its own unique requirements, which is why we know there may be other concerns and misunderstandings beyond what was covered. Contact us today to see how efficient modernization can help ease your doubts and turn challenges into opportunity. 

One of the biggest challenges set to impact supply chains in the years to come is reestablishing customer trust. The coronavirus pandemic simply enhanced previous concerns many customers already had surrounding product fabrication, compliance, order accuracy, etc. From retail goods to manufacturing parts, studies show consumers are more and more skeptical of supply chains, increasing the demand for transparent traceability to soothe worries such as: 

  • Brand’s ability to ensure safety – Only 35% of consumers actually believe the food industry is technologically capable of ensuring proper safety guidelines.
  • Delayed order tracking – Since 2017, it’s been estimated that over 90% of customers expect to be able to track their orders from start to finish, preferably in real-time.
  • Seamless returns in the event of inaccurate orders – At least 96% of customers admit to returning to a business that offers easy returns, which means complicated reverse logistics can deter over half of prospective clients.

Whether you run a business-to-business or a business-to-customer operation, no company is immune to disruptions, and these disruptions -whether via a cyberattack or a sudden spike in demand- can either weaken or strengthen your brand’s identity. While disruptions can happen at any given moment, traceability solutions offer preventive measures to protect consumer trust and minimize damage. Below are 5 ways companies are re-establishing trust in the New Normal: 

  1. Verified contact tracing and social distancing – Needless to say, health concerns are far from gone and will most likely be around for a while. That’s why contact tracing solutions have remained crucial to prevent mass germ spread while targeting potential infections without completely halting productivity. Efficient systems like Zebra’s MotionWorks Proximity have recorded a 75% reduction in proximity events within one week of deployment all while providing an easy-to-follow traceability system between events for scheduled alerts.

  2. Real-time notifications – Time is now more than money. It is also safety and possibly your first defense against sudden changes. Real-time visibility, whether through RFID technology or high-speed WiFi connectivity, equips your workforce with valuable updates as they happen, allowing your teams to respond proactively to change. 

  3. Dependable data security – To mitigate cyberthreats, businesses continue to migrate to supported operating systems such as Android. Zebra’s fortified Android goes a step further by embedding automatic OS updates, government-grade encryption, two-factor authentication, and customizable security parameters along with recurrent security patches. 

  4. Long-range networking to connect customers and field teams – To enable tracking for field teams, long-range and flexible networking systems must survive in difficult environments at all times. Not only does this allow customers to track orders, but it also connects field teams to any real-time updates and changes in the warehouse. 

  5. More safety stock – Depending on inventory type, increasing safety stock may be helpful to prevent stockouts during spikes in demand. To efficiently increase stock quantity without losing track of in-house inventory, we recommend adding automated data capture technology that connects to your inventory management system, along with easy-to-ready durable labels.

To see how you can adapt any of these methods into your business, reach out to our modernization specialists and see how you can set your operations on a firm footing to face 2021’s new and recurrent challenges. 

Last year, when looking ahead to what 2020 would bring, technologies such as RFID tracking, Internet of Things, and Wearable Computers were cited as revolutionary initiatives to redefine the year. Now, standing at the end of a historical year, it’s pretty clear our list was too short. Facing a long string of challenges, dangers, and changes, warehouses have relied on several indispensable technologies, which will most likely continue to secure efficiency within warehouses in the years to come.

Save Warehousing

Avalon Integration have noted the following innovations as crucial warehousing advantages

While this list is by no means exhaustive, the experts at Avalon Integration have noted the following innovations as crucial warehousing advantages in 2020:

  1. Disinfectant-Ready Devices – Since discovering that pathogens can last from hours to days on surfaces, operations utilizing multiple screens and handhelds required rugged devices that could handle abrasion, chemical exposure, and constant wipedowns. Made for tough environments, enterprise-grade devices rose to the challenge by providing undisrupted performance in the midst of recurrent disinfection and sanitation.
  2. Contact Tracing – As businesses began to reopen, many of our clients sought a way to welcome back their teams without risking dangerous exposure. To minimize employee density and effectively track possible contamination, exposure awareness, and contact solutions were deployed across the nation. New contact tracing initiatives can be neatly embedded onto your handheld devices like Zebra’s Motionworks Proximity or added on your employee’s wrist like Accent’s Exposure Awareness bands. Both methods protect employees’ safety as well as their privacy, which brings us to the next point. 
  3. Android’s Dependable Operating System – After Microsoft ended its support for Windows’ Mobile OS, warehouses needed a new operating system to safeguard their data. Android has served as the best option as it provides recurrent security patches, silent OS updates, and an open ecosystem to house current and new applications to better prepare operations for future changes.
  4. Vibrational Social Distancing Alerts – In addition to contact tracing, vibrational alerts have also helped in securing appropriate social distancing within operations.
  5. RFID Tracking – Facing a major influx of online activity, supply chains were overwhelmed with moving inventory and rising demands from the pandemic onset all the way till the holiday peak season. RFID tracking empowers teams to manage inventory levels in real-time while tracking in-motion products, assets, and resources accurately and quickly to fulfill needs with a faster turnaround time.
  6. Fast Long-Range Data Capture – By combining intelligent scanning with long-range data capture, manufacturers like Zebra Technologies were able to equip workers with ergonomic devices that read labels while keeping workers apart. In the retail landscape, modernized data capture can help alleviate checkout lanes by scanning products quickly and at a safe distance.
  7. 2-in-1 Tablets – As the term “office” gained a new meaning, 2-in-1 enterprise tablets like Zebra’s L10 tablets packed ease-of-use, operational visibility, and adaptability for on-the-go workers. Operating as either a tablet or a laptop, devices like the L10 give remote teams more flexibility without hindering data entry and connectivity.  
  8. Handsfree Technologies – Minimizing touchpoints throughout the supply chain became a chief goal amongst warehouses. That’s when hands-free technologies such as heads-up displays, ring scanners, and even Zebra’s newest WT6300 rose to popularity as they helped workers process orders faster with less movement and wasted labor. Studies suggest nearly 70% of warehouses now plan to integrate hands-free and wearable technologies by 2023 to continue expediting tasks and meet new customer demands for speed.  
  9. High-Speed and Long-Range WiFi – In April, over 50% of Americans cited internet connectivity as an essential tool. In warehousing, connectivity secures communication channels, diffuses crucial information, and sustains visibility solutions beyond the loading dock. Zebra’s flexible networking and WorryFree WiFi enables dependable connections to keep the essential business running.
  10. Push-to-Talk and Videoconferencing Features – Lastly, whether it be Zoom or any other service, videoconferencing and push-to-talk capabilities proved to be essential in keeping teams connected and supply chains running smoothly.  Zebra applications such as WorkforceConnect provided wall-to-wall connectivity in both the warehouse, retail, and grocery setting, allowing your teams to work together in real-time despite any distance.

But, we can’t forget the biggest game-changers of the year. As we close in 2020, we would like to give a special thank you to all the essential and healthcare workers as the ones who truly saved this year. From our team to yours, Thank You!

With 2021 less than a few days away, we are eager to see what other devices, solutions, and innovations will continue to reshape our futures. For more information on how to implement any of these solutions into your operations, contact our modernization experts today.

Facing an increase of demands for seamless real-time tracking, many businesses are being forced to revisit their tracking systems in search of improvements. As a result, Avalon Integration has made it a priority to make sure our clients understand the differences between the top tracking technologies within today’s markets: RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). 

Download the Warehouse Vision Study

Click here to download the Warehouse Vision Study

Last year’s Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study estimated over a third of surveyed warehouses will invest in RFID and locationing technologies by 2024. From optimized picking to verified packing, to real-time inventory management, RFID and BLE serve as more than mere tracking systems as they both give you contextual intelligence to restructure operations based on trends and available resources. While they are both similar and useful, several key differences must be understood before choosing your next locationing system.

What will you need?

Zebra RFID Devices

Avalon and Zebra can help you deploy a complete RFID locationing system

Although both solutions can be customized to fit specialized needs, they both have set requirements when it comes to hardware. To deploy a complete RFID locationing system, you’ll need:

  • An Antennae – Your RFID antennae will connect the reader’s signal to the tags. Needless to say, damaged or subpar antennas can damage the whole operation as they can “lose” signals.
  • A Reader – Capturing up to 1000 codes with one trigger pull, your reader can be customized to match frequency type, delivering 99.99% accurate scans in less time than conventional barcoding.
  • Your choice of an active or passive tag – While RFID is significantly more expensive than other locationing systems, it provides greater flexibility in tagging options. Passive tags are more cost-effective since they don’t have any integrated power sources and can reach up to 82ft in the reading range. Active tags can track high-value assets more accurately with embedded power within the tag, covering a range of up to 328ft.

On the flip side, a BLE solution requires:

  • A BLE tag – These tags contain their own power source, which requires less energy from your operations. Tags generally communicate within ranges as high as 20ft.
  • A Reader – Because Bluetooth technology was developed within the same era as most smart devices, many consumer phones and technologies have Bluetooth capabilities and can serve as readers, reducing hardware costs. However, when it comes to securing reliable device performance in harsher environments, Avalon recommends pairing your BLE tags with enterprise-grade hardware instead.

How will your system communicate?

Complete RFID Tracking System

RFID tags communicate via radio-frequency waves with the antennae

RFID tags communicate via radio-frequency waves with the antennae, pinpointing tag location for real-time tracking. Your reader is then able to digest scanned information and transpose it onto your inventory management interface. This communication pattern empowers workers to:

  • Eliminate manual data entry 
  • Accelerate scanning without requiring line of sight
  • Integrate long-distance data capture

Bluetooth locationing differs from RFID in allowing tags to communicate with each other, eliminating complicated networks and wasteful energy. Readers can sense nearby Bluetooth beacons, providing real-time tracking without constant scanning along with:

  • Easiest implementation
  • Trackable users and assets 
  • Smaller power drain

BLE provides a simplified way to integrate real-time visibility into your operations, while RFID serves as a scalable and adaptable tracking system. Nevertheless, there are many other tracking choices you may want to consider.

Final Considerations

Warehouse Employee Scanning with RFID

Whether you choose an RFID or BLE tracking system, both methods will require an interface to collect and display your data. Once again, this is where consumer-grade devices are unsuitable since they would add extra weight to workers who already carry other enterprise-grade devices. To maximize worker comfort and device performance, modernized tracking solutions are tailored to fit into your mobile computer. As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon provides intelligent Zebra mobile computers that accommodate both BLE and RFID tracking systems onto a user-friendly Android system. To see how your mobile device can fit into an optimized tracking solution, contact us here.

As industries continue to navigate through the “New Normal”, several distinct shopping patterns have risen to prominence such as click-and-collect. Way before the pandemic, click-and-collect had already climbed 47% within the 2017 holiday season. During the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, click-and-collect purchases skyrocketed 443%, and it is estimated to continue rising as customers adapt to a new more convenient way to shop. To remain competitive in today’s retail landscape, more and more stores are turning to click-and-collect services. However, because every enterprise is inherently unique, Avalon Integration recommends the following questions to ask yourself before committing to a new order fulfillment system.

Does your team have access to inventory visibility?

Warehouse worker using a powercart

Inventory visibility is crucial

Now more than ever, customer expectations drive engagement. Reports indicate that nearly 85% of customers consider returning to retailers who allow them to track their orders. Those same expectations carry over to click-and-collect services, which is why inventory visibility is crucial. Superior inventory visibility empowers you, teams, too:

  • Mitigate surprise out-of-stocks by replenishing items before they reach established risk thresholds 
  • Locate inventory more promptly to increase throughout 
  • Prepare for purchase surges by tracking high-demand inventory

Have you secured reliable communication between team members and customers?

Two warehouse workers checking inventory in a warehouse

Reliable Communication between Team Members is key for any warehouse

To further meet customer expectations and diminish worker stress, companies are encouraged to maintain secured communication channels within the supply chain to avoid any surprises. While there are many connectivity options available, superior options are marked they their versatility and flexibility, such as Zebra Technologies various connectivity systems:

  • Zebra Workforce Connect – Easy to deploy, Workforce Connect brings your mobile device to a new level by integrating push-to-talk and PBX capabilities and secured text messages into your devices without interruptive backend changes. Scalable and cost-effective, Workforce Connect allows users to create groups and assign roles within an adaptable architecture, streamlining communication channels into your mainstream operations.
  • WorryFree WiFi – As part of Zebra’s family of Mobility DNA applications, WorryFree WiFi helps secure wall-to-wall connectivity to enhance device performance anywhere in the warehouse, making sure your device is able to receive order changes as they come since it remains connected to WiFi. Accelerating response times, WorryFree WiFi also delivers better voice quality and network diagnostics to maximize uptime.
  • Complete cellular network flexibility – Zebra’s line of ergonomic compact touch-computers can provide safe communication channels that fit your current operations, connecting your warehouse and field teams through their current mobile devices. Choose from either cellular, Bluetooth, or WiFi connectivity all protected by Zebra’s fortified Android interface.

What is your staff size?

Two warehouse workers moving a pallet

Click-and-collect solutions generally require a smaller team to operate

Last but not least, to accommodate a smaller workforce within a more demanding market, click-and-collect solutions generally require a smaller team to operate, diminishing unnecessary labor efforts and 3PL expenses. This also allows other team members to focus on different tasks without impacting throughput. By refocusing in-store tasks, click and collect services can empower you to enhance:

  • Inventory management
  • In-store customer service
  • Delivery services
  • Online couponing

Simply put, click-and-collect opens up a myriad of opportunities if integrated correctly. To see if click and collect are right for your business, contact us today.