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In any given industry, workforce labor is both the biggest expense and the largest asset to a company. From the production floor to the retail storefront, your workforce keeps operations running smoothly to create a seamless supply chain. However, as demands continue to reshape the enterprise landscape, labor may not be appropriately distributed in the workspace. Whether it be in warehousing or retail, ill-distributed labor can lead to:

  • Higher turnover rates
  • Missed delivery dates 
  • Overlooked compliance codes and worker safety
  • Inaccurate order fulfillment 

To accommodate changing workforce sizes and evolving customer demands, several warehouses have turned to the popular and versatile modernization solution: RFID technology. 

What can RFID Bring to your Operations? 

According to Zebra’s 2019 Warehousing Vision Study, RFID technology was expected to grow by 6%, yet post-pandemic demands for both speed and safety have accelerated adoption in warehouses and retailers alike. Next-generation RFID solutions such as Zebra’s MotionWorks can expand operational visibility while increasing workforce productivity by…

  • Providing real-time operational visibility – Unlike conventional barcodes, RFID technology can be used to track in-motion inventory and assets all in real-time, providing you with a clear view of where your workforce is at any given time. 
  • Complying with worker safety protocols – New worker safety initiatives such as Zebra’s MotionWorks Proximity allows you to trace exposure risks and integrate social distancing protocols into your handheld device by tracking high-density workspaces in real-time. 
  • Tracking labor-intensive workflows – When demand increases suddenly as it normally does for peak holiday seasons, RFID data capture can help track intensive workflows and guide employees through multiple pick paths at once, eliminating superfluous wait times. 

See how Zebra’s Savanna does it all and more in our video

Whether you’re tracking assets, inventory, or your workforce, expect dependable visibility when you optimize operations with Avalon. Contact our automation experts today for a free evaluation of your workflow to get started. 

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.

Rapid advances in technology have left little room for errors to be tolerated by today’s customers. RFID technologies, faster data processing, and high-speed connectivity have helped shape new customer expectations, yet fulfilling these expectations without complete operational visibility may be difficult. As more brands move towards partial and full automation, warehouses must track and manage several crucial performance indicators to:

  • Spot bottlenecks before they cause downtime
  • Reduce inventory misplacements to prevent out-of-stocks
  • Adjust to surprise changes in product demand
  • Streamline workflows for faster processing and reduced labor costs
  • Lower overall operational costs without reducing efficiency
KPI Warehouse Tracking

KPIs warehouses have cited as top priority indicators to track in order to remain competitive

Next-generation visibility solutions can help expand control over your operations, yet in addition to implementation, one must consider which indicators to emphasize. Below are several KPIs warehouses have cited as top priority indicators to track in order to remain competitive in today’s highly digitized age.

  1. Cost of Order Processing Per Order – By measuring labor costs per order, you also gain insight into worker productivity and average estimated cycle time.
  2. Resource Utilization – From your mobile devices to your docks and storage, every part contributes to overall expenses, which is why it’s crucial to make sure every resource is properly used and maintained to prevent downtime.  
  3. Picking Accuracy – With so many businesses offering similar products, order accuracy, and positive customer service have become differentiating factors that can make or break a purchase. As a result, tracking order accuracy provides insight into possible customer retention.
  4. Carrying Costs – Stored inventory can lead to either possible revenue or financial loss over time. By tracking carrying costs, you are able to manage low and high-risk inventory, ultimately regulating stock levels.
  5. Inventory Turnover – What was cited as one of the most important KPIs, inventory turnover is directly linked to customer demand as you can track how often inventory comes and leaves the warehouse to travel down the supply chain. 
  6. Rate of ReturnAbout 51% of customers report abandoning a business after one bad experience. Tracking return and backorder rates can give better insight into how your customers are interacting with your products after purchases are complete.

RFID tracking has become a popular visibility solution gaining traction across several industries; however, despite its high accuracy rates and promising future, it may not be suitable for everyone. Consequently, Avalon’s experts have teamed up with Zebra Technologies in the latest Avalon podcast to shed greater light on the versatility of RFID.

In the event RFID does not sound suitable to your operations, Avalon specializes in many other visibility and identification systems such as:

  • Bluetooth Low-Energy  Locationing – More adaptable to smaller budgets, BLE can help locate assets for greater worker productivity, managed device utilization, and less downtime and misplacements. 
  • Enterprise-grade Data Capture – As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon provides pretested labels and consumables that retain product information from production to checkout. 
  • Versatile Mobile Computers – Modernized mobile computers and enterprise-grade operating systems such as Android OS can help streamline workflows while connecting your workforce in real-time either through high-speed connectivity or push-to-talk capabilities. Access our portfolio to explore all of Zebra’s enterprise-grade mobile computers.
RFID KPI Warehouse Visibility

Expand your RFID Visibility with Avalon Integration

To see how you can expand operational visibility, reach out to our RFID and automation specialists for a free assessment of your workflow, and integrate a future-forward solution tailored to your goals.

As we approach the end of the year and 2020’s peak season, Avalon Integration has begun to dive into the key traits that make up efficient inventory management and streamlined workflows. After dealing with an unimaginable yearly increase in online purchases over the year, retailers, e-tailers, and warehouses have cited several common pain points, including:

  • Crashing order sites
  • Fast-draining inventory
  • Surprise out-of-stocks
  • Unavailable delivery for non-essential items
  • Delayed shipment due to overworked 3PL services
  • Spoiled inventory lost in different steps of the supply chain

Despite the effects, COVID-19 brought upon supply chains worldwide, Salesforce researchers estimate in-store services such as curbside pickup and click-and-collect will see a 90% increase as over a third of holiday shopping will be conducted online. Since omnichannel shopping already makes up almost 20% of purchases in the U.S., organizations must stay ahead of inventory management by increasing identification efficiency, communication, and predictive analytics.

Increasing Identification Efficiency

Increasing Identification Efficiency

Zebra Certified Consumables that deliver

Today’s product variety has placed a greater demand for efficient on-the-go identification to avoid order inaccuracy. That means your labels must be strong enough to retain information from the door to dock to the shelf to the customer. Underperforming labels can slow down productivity by falling off, fading away, or scratching printheads. Constant label reprints can add up financially in the long run while also causing bottlenecks. 

To avoid these pitfalls, Avalon continues to recommend Zebra Certified Consumables to bolster label efficiency. Built with pretested materials, Zebra’s labels eliminate the effects of subpar labels by delivering barcodes that:

  • Survive in extreme temperatures and humidity
  • Remain sticky in and out of the warehouse for continuous identification
  • Consolidate identification information with RFID technology for lower TCO
  • Eliminates residual adhesive and debris that can damage printheads

Increasing Communication

Increasing Communication with the MC9300

The MC9300 goes the extra step for streamlining data entry

Researchers suggest that out-of-stocks may be more damaging than lost sales since it impacts brand identity in the long run. To keep inventory levels from dwindling too quickly, several organizations have invested in real-time connectivity within the supply chain. This also helps minimize the shipment costs spent on quick replenishment and storage.

Modernized warehousing has given room to next-generation mobile computing, which can assist in diffusing crucial information throughout your workforce via WiFi in near real-time. Zebra’s mobile computers such as the MC9300 and TC7X go a step farther by streamlining data entry with real-time visibility, so your teams have access to current stock numbers while monitoring:

  • Incoming orders
  • Picking pace
  • Estimated time of delivery
  • Returned shipments

Increasing Predictive Analytics

Increasing Predictive Analytics

RFID Tracking for any warehouse

While the future is always full of change, Avalon Integration works hard in equipping clients with predictive analytics that provide actionable insight into operations, so you can best prepare for change based on current and past trends within your own unique operations. 

Real-time locationing systems such as RFID tracking and Zebra’s Visibility IQ (built with SavannahTM) consolidate several metrics into meaningful digested analytics for easy KPI tracking. A few KPI’s to keep an eye for include:

  • Accuracy of available inventory 
  • Inventory turnover
  • Carrying costs
  • Rate of returns

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration increases predictive analytics with next-generation locationing technologies. Download our RFID brochure to explore Zebra’s full portfolio.

Avalon RFID Portfolio Brochure Download

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that it is never too early to be prepared. Contact us today to begin assessing your inventory management system for a smoother and more profitable peak season.