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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.

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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.

With supply chains operating at unprecedented speeds to meet increasing demands, several novel digitized solutions have arisen to help set businesses ahead of change. However, not every modern device delivers the same results. When it comes to optimized enterprise printing, warehouses commonly seek the traits outlined below:

  • Printing Speed – This is an obvious factor due to the growing demand for faster order fulfilment. A modern printer should operate practically invisibly, delivering identification labels with little to no wait time. Mobile printers and powered workstations take this a step farther by eliminating travel time and bringing efficiency directly where you need it.
  • Dependable Security – Cyberattacks have become all the more prevalent in the past decade since they can target any digital device, including printers. As a result, printing security must now be optimized to ward off unauthorized users from viewing past printed data.
  • Quick Flexibility – Change can happen at any given moment, which is why printers should be able to easily adjust between high and low demand without impacting label quality. Configuration -and reconfiguration- should be doable for your teams without involving extensive IT visits in order to minimize downtime.
  • Durable Build – When operating in more stringent environments, such as manufacturing plants and field service, printers must be designed to withstand environmental challenges such as constant dust, icy temperatures, condensation, and abrasion.
  • Reliable Printing Support – After printers are installed, companies still expect dependable tech support in the event of any future issues. This puts pressure on resellers to provide both instant and knowledgeable assistance to keep printing solutions running smoothly.

How Avalon does it all with Zebra Technologies

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon has been consistently equipping supply chains with these benefits through Zebra’s enterprise-ready printers. From lightweight mobile printers to heavy-duty industrial printers, eliminate inefficiency from your workflows with printers designed to optimize the factors listed above plus:

  • Quick deployment – To minimize training time, Zebra’s printers sport a user-friendly touchscreen with simplified navigational tools and easy media loading. Moreover, quick tap-and-pair Bluetooth connectivity can help printers seamlessly connect to mobile devices to enable remote printing.
  • Optional RFID encoding – Reduce RFID costs with optional RFID encoding that fits directly onto your industrial printer.
  • Expanded printing visibility – Leverage Zebra’s Visibility Services application to monitor printer performance remotely via a cloud-based system. This can help prevent breakdowns and costly downtime.

Check out our full range of enterprise printers here.

As customer demands continue to increase worldwide, Avalon Integration remains committed to empowering operations with solutions built for triumph. Reach out to our printing experts today to see how you can start accelerating throughput in your operations with next-generation printing power.

 

 

As long as new technologies continue to be released, modernization will continue to be a redefining trend in the enterprise landscape. However, efficient warehouse modernization doesn’t have to be complex or involve drastic changes to the workflow. Small adjustments in crucial tasks such as product labeling can eliminate inefficient, costly patterns while freeing up the workforce to concentrate on other bigger areas of optimization. Although there are many ways to modernize warehouse labeling, three key components stand out as central to ensuring labeling efficiency:

  1. A printer made for sudden high-volume – Changes in demand can happen unexpectedly. As a result, warehouse printers should be ready at any notice to work longer hours without compromising label legibility or continuous uptime. Furthermore, high-volume seasons may also cause the workforce to grow, which means selected printers should strive to incorporate some form of user-friendliness to their functionality in order to lower adoption rates for new hires.
  2. An intelligent scanner – We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Manual data entry leaves room for error. On the other hand, intelligent scanners can automatically transmit one or more barcodes to your warehouse management system without paper-based reporting, essentially establishing near-real-time accurate inventory visibility. This allows warehouses to sort, pick, and move inventory based on verified stock counts reported on their inventory management system.
  3. An enterprise-ready label – Standing at the center of your optimized labeling solution, the actual tag itself must be developed with both application and storage requirements in mind. Labels that fail to do so can end up fading before time, peeling around the edges, and unsticking when temperatures change. All of these issues eliminate product identification, leading to missed delivery timeframes, order inaccuracy, product spoilage/depreciation, and overlooked compliance codes.

Where to start?

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon simplifies optimized labeling by pairing your workflows with enterprise-ready printers, scanners, and labels, creating a future-forward system that…

  • Survives in rough work environments. Whether it be high heat or cold-storage’s freezing temperatures, Zebra’s industrial printers and ultra-rugged scanners are designed with a tough exterior and intelligent productivity applications to safeguard uptime under pressure. Likewise, Zebra’s Certified Consumables can be customized from over 300 pre-tested materials to develop a tailored label that matches application and storage environments.
  • Lessen deployment time. Efficient modernization shouldn’t be disruptive. With this in mind, Zebra’s next-generation printers leverage a touchscreen interface and easy media loading to simplify deployment. Scanners, both handheld and hands-free, streamline deployment with simplistic tap-and-pair and WiFi-Friendly connectivity to get devices productive from day one.
  • Are easily upgradable without overstepping budget constraints. Zebra’s printers and scanners are available with cash back rebates up to $550 per device when upgraded through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Simply trade in devices from any manufacturer and submit your reclaim form to qualify. As for labels, Zebra’s Printhead Protection Program helps drive down operational costs by offering free printhead replacements when you make Zebra’s Certified Consumables your exclusive label of choice.

Reach out to our labeling experts for a free preliminary assessment of your workflow to target optimization opportunities in your current operations.

 

 

Way before the global pandemic, modern order fulfillment had already proven to be both complex and fast-paced. As e-commerce continues to fuel the now-economy, today’s fulfillment centers and supply chains find themselves in a competitive landscape to meet evolving customer demands such as:

  • Faster order delivery falling between 1 to 5 business days
  • Ability to track orders as they move down the supply chain
  • Certified worker safety, disinfection, and contactless transactions
  • Continuous stock availability 
  • Seamless and free returns

Failing to meet any of these requirements can hinder the customer experience, ultimately impacting brand loyalty, satisfaction rates, and profitability. While there are several ways to optimize each requirement, data capture automation stands as a simplistic method to start securing efficiency and greater visibility across the whole supply chain with less workflow modifications. 

What to look for in your automated data capture solution?

Studies indicate that while 72% of businesses are investing in technologies designed to reduce TCO, about a fifth of companies still struggle to implement effective automation. Easy-to-deploy and cost-effective, automated data capture has taken center stage as a bridge to softly allow businesses to modernize without restructuring their operations. To accomplish this, modernized data capture should…

  • Integrate intelligent capabilities – While general-purpose scanners can effectively capture barcodes within a controlled setting, warehouses may be operating in busy and/or extreme conditions. That’s why intelligent scanners must be able to capture small, fading, and even scratched barcodes in a variety of surfaces, sometimes multiple codes at once. Applications like Zebra’s SimulScan and Multi-Code Data Formatting (for mobile computers and handheld scanners respectively) illustrate this by capturing specific barcodes within one larger document. Intelligent PRZM imaging also helps expand scanner performance by accelerating data capture and deciphering inferior barcodes for accurate scans. 
  • Connect with your data processing system – Your digital devices are merely an extension of your team, which means they should strive to connect teams. Solutions combining data capture and computing within one device cut complicated workflows by keeping your data accessible and safe through one platform.  Collected data can be converted to actionable insights and timely updates to prevent future complications before they arise.
  • Be scalable and adaptable – Demands can change in a blink of an eye. Consequently, a modernized scanning solution should be able to readily adapt to fluctuating workforce size, stringent disinfection cycles, longer shifts, and increased order throughput without increasing training times or radically changing crucial applications. This is where intelligent rugged scanner design combined with an intuitive software can help maintain uptime in the midst of change, freeing up your teams to focus on other opportunities for growth. 

See how Zebra’s DataCapture DNA continues to simplify scanning automation in our video:

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration works with a wide variety of enterprise-ready scanners and mobile computers to seamlessly automate data capture. To see how you can start upgrading your scanning systems without disrupting operations, contact our modernization team for a free assessment.  

In the digital age, efficient innovation can take many forms, which is why Avalon’s modernization experts are constantly watching and experimenting with the latest trends. As solutions like robotics, machine intelligence, and time-efficient automation continue to reshape the post-pandemic world, we’ve invited our team to share valuable insights as to how you can benefit from these new modernization initiatives. Tune into our podcast to learn more:

With over 70% of warehouses planning to enhance the workforce with automated solutions, there has never been a riper time to start modernizing. To see how you can start integrating future-forward technologies into your workflows, reach out to our team for a comprehensive assessment of your opportunities.

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. 

The concept “if it’s not broke, why fix it” does not apply to efficient warehousing. While legacy systems can provide comfortable workflows, prioritizing outdated familiar systems can supplant streamlined operational intelligence, which is crucial to remain competitive in today’s now-economy. Despite the several modernized technologies offered by today’s top technology manufacturers, at least 90% of global organizations still rely on some form of paper-based data processing. As more warehouses make the switch to automated workflows, it’s time to revisit outdated habits still present in most modern-day warehouses. 

Operating within dynamic supply chains, the following five warehousing habits can actually produce more harm than good as demands continue to increase. 

  1. Printed picking lists – Printed picking lists require employees to handle two things at once and can’t be readily updated in real-time. As faster order fulfillment becomes a global standard, hands-free systems can direct picking while updating orders in real-time, all without requiring your team to keep looking down.
  2. Relying on centralized printing stations – High-density areas are no longer preferable in the post-pandemic world as they can increase exposure risks and cause bottlenecks. In place of centralized stations, consider mobile workstations and mobile printers to diffuse printing power throughout your warehouse.
  3. Keying in data in the receiving dock – To prevent errors from entering your operating from the start, automated data capture and RFID can certify your incoming inventory is properly identified as soon as it enters the warehouse and moved to the appropriate storage space.
  4. Overlooking battery cycles at the end of each shift – As more tasks depend on mobile devices, verifying devices are fully changed is crucial to mitigating sudden downtime in the middle of your workday. The more devices deployed, the more careful your battery management efforts must be to make sure all devices are properly stored and charged between shifts. 
  5. Integrating consumer-grade hardware – Research has shown that consumer devices are three to five times more likely to break within the first year of deployment, causing downtime and surprise expenses. On the other hand, enterprise-grade devices not only survive tough conditions, but they are also equipped with faster processing power and more memory storage to keep up with your operations. 

Enter the digital age with a new standard for efficient warehousing 

To facilitate your transition into the digital age, Avalon continues to partner with Zebra Technologies in the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Built to eliminate the bad habits discussed above, Zebra’s enterprise-grade hardware substitute legacy systems with:

  • Hands-free picking systems enabled by adaptable wearable technology
  • Mobile printers with longer battery life, easy tap-to-pair, and RFID printing capabilities
  • Intelligent and long-range data capture that can scan multiple codes at once, accelerating throughout without impacting accuracy
  • Device management and tracking applications deployed on your devices for maximum visibility of your digital fleet’s performance
  • Industrialized durability that endures extreme temperatures, drops, tumbles, condensation, humidity, and scratches all without impacting functionality

Trade-in outdated devices from any manufacturer with the GO Zebra Trade-in Program before December 31st, 2021 and get up to $650 in cash rebates per upgraded device. Download our program details to see how you can qualify. 

Facing a multitude of unpredictable demands, your operations don’t have to settle for comfortable inefficiencies. Contact us today for a free assessment of your workflows to see how you can expect a bigger ROI when you eliminate bad warehousing habits.

Whether in the storefront or on the warehouse floor, mobility and visibility have proven to be essential assets in securing dependable productivity. However, facing increasingly complex supply chains – brought about either from the rise of e-com and/or new BOPIS purchase patterns – companies must learn to maximize both mobility and visibility in order to meet demands without compromise.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration is able to explore multiple ways to leverage both mobility and visibility within today’s operations. From enterprise-ready rugged tablets to on-demand RFID mobile printers, modern warehouses can take a variety of pathways to building a mobility solution that enhances visibility. That’s why we’re exploring three mobility solutions that directly maximize visibility. 

Warehouse Handheld Enterprise Mobility Solutions from Zebra

Mobility Solutions for any warehouse

  • Enterprise Mobile Computing – According to surveys conducted by Zebra Technologies’ specialists, over 70% of warehouses are currently investing or seeking new ways to invest in mobility solutions. Failure to do so may damage your competitiveness. Operating with high-speed connectivity and flexible networking options, Zebra’s line of handheld computers secure viable communication channels inside and outside your warehouse, enhancing:
    • Inventory management
    • Order processing times
    • Efficient reverse logistics
  • Migration to Android – While migration may seem like an overwhelming task, it also opens doors to new opportunities such as secured data protecting and facilitated onboarding. Moreover, Android houses Zebra’s exclusive line of productivity applications, Mobility DNA, that allow you to:
    • Deploy push-to-talk features
    • Scan multiple barcodes simultaneously
    • Remotely manage battery performance and life cycles
    • Convert green-screen apps to touchscreen right out of the box
    • Track missing Zebra devices
  • Real-Time On-Demand Tracking – To meet new demands for faster delivery and fulfillment transparency, real-time locationing systems help track your inventory and/or assets. However, Zebra has taken tracking efficiency a step further with the all-new ZQ511/521 mobile printer, which can print 3 to 4 inches of RFID labels on-demand, virtually eliminating wait times and mislabeling errors since labels are readily available when and where needed, so you get:
    • Rugged mobile printing and RFID power fit for field service
    • Efficient workflows in and out of the warehouse
    • High battery performance that survives your longest shift
    • Adaptable printing speeds and darkness to accommodate temperature conditions

Have more questions about RFID? Ask Roi.

Avalon ROI Robot and Zebra

Needless to say, none of these solutions are mutually exclusive, which is why our modernization specialists work diligently to create custom solutions that adapt to your business.  Contact us to see how modernization can maximize mobility and visibility in your operations.

Technology has always been one of the greatest drivers of change in any industry. From steam engines to the internet, it is estimated that technological advances have been responsible for a tenfold increase in labor wages within the past 200 years. Not only are advances smarter, but they are also faster. For example, in 2010, collected data intelligence from global outlets comprised 2 zettabytes of information. As of 2019, that number has jumped to 41 zettabytes, which is enough data to fill over 10,000 billion DVDs, collected in a span of nine years.

As our world continues to change, warehousing efficiency continues to adapt to meet new consumer demands. To stay ahead of change, Avalon Integration is taking a closer look at three productivity-enhancing technologies permeating warehouses nationwide.

Take a look in our video:

  1. Breakthrough limitations with virtual reality – Maximizing both worker safety and productivity, hands-free technology such as Zebra’s HD4000 keeps your workforce focused and directs workflows through one lightweight adaptable solution.
  2. Overcome change with the adaptable EC30 – Compact yet strong, the EC30 helps eliminate future software and application issues since it can house your updates without losing functionality over longer periods of time, compared to consumer devices. That means you can continue to add changes and/or new users without recurrently purchasing new devices.
  3. Accelerate efficient picking with voice technology – Boost productivity by 15% when you combine the power of enterprise headsets with Zebra’s WT6000 and ring scanners to optimize order accuracy with high ergonomics. Create intelligent pick paths while providing secured connectivity channels and reliable data capture that expedites order fulfillment without hindering accuracy.

Three Technologies for use in the Warehouse

Three Technologies for use in the Warehouse

Where do these technologies fit?

While there are many different sorts of technologies available, Avalon’s experts make sure your workforce is equipped with solutions that work for them. Stay ahead of change when you create a custom modernization solution, tailored to your needs.