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The ever increasing demand for more efficiency and accuracy in warehouse operations leaves no room for errors. At the same time, many warehouses are processing more orders and juggling more SKUs, adding to the challenge.

Picking is one area where delays and mistakes happen. You can reduce these problems by automating the process with mobile technology. Your pickers can verify every item they pick and achieve this heightened accuracy with more accuracy than ever before.

Mobile-Powered Cart

Power Carts

A mobile-powered cart acts as a workstation on wheels, allowing your pickers to keep all of their technology close by and powered up. Eliminating the unnecessary movement between aisles and a central workstation increases efficiency. A mobile-powered workstation, like the EcoCart, delivers 8 hours of battery power and the heavy-duty reliability to withstand the tough conditions of a warehouse or distribution center. Equip it with a mobile computer, like an enterprise-grade tablet (e.g., Zebra ET50), and an industrial printer (Zebra ZT230), and your employees are connected with all the information and output they need.

Mobile Computers for the Hands-Free Approach

tc8000-accuracy

Mobile computers, like a Zebra TC8000 handheld computer, are multi-functional. They enable your workers to view orders on the screen, scan and verify products, check product locations, and instantly update inventory. This particular rugged mobile computer has been shown to increase productivity by 14%, the equivalent of one hour per worker per shift, which contributes to a rapid ROI.

The hands-free, voice-directed picking (VDP) approach to wearable technology increases efficiency even more. The combination of a ring scanner, wearable wrist terminal, and computer headset provides total freedom of movement to use both hands for picking orders. The picker responds to a voice command, points the ring scanner, and confirms the accuracy. There’s no device to carry, wrist strain is reduced, and your team picks more orders per shift, which boosts your profitability and helps you meet your operational goals.

Technology Allows for More Accuracy in Your Warehouse

According to Zebra, one of the industry leaders in mobile data collection technology, voice-directed picking solutions result in 99% accuracy and increase warehouse productivity by at least 10%.

Zebra’s research also presented some interesting statistics that support the decision to invest in better mobility solutions that enable multi-modal picking. With this approach, users achieved these results:

  • 14% less walking time to complete an order
  • 18.1% less time to pick all items in an order
  • 15.4% less time to fulfill an order
  • Error rate that is 63% less than those with voice-only systems

Technology will enable you to tighten control over your warehouse operations. Automating processes, like picking, overrides human error, allows you to process orders more quickly, optimize your labor costs, and achieve real-time visibility. Acquiring technology is not an expense, but an investment in the strength of your business.

Avalon Integration specializes in technology solutions for warehouses and manufacturing. Use our mobility expertise to customize the solutions for your business. Contact us to realize the potential.

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Warehouse Environment with SR61 in use

Two technologies dominate in barcode scanning: laser and imaging. Each has specific strengths that make it more suitable in some applications than in others. Whether it’s an effort to make inventory management more manageable, tracking assets more streamlined, or giving your forklift operators greater flexibility on the go, the content below will help you decide which type of technology might be best for your application.

Ability to Read Multiple Symbols

In general, a laser handheld scanner can only scan 1D codes, making them unsuitable if you need to do any 2D barcode scanning. As 2D symbologies become more popular because of the increased amount of information they can hold, laser scanners may become less viable.

Scanning Distance

In inventory management or warehouse management use cases, a laser handheld scanner is ideal for hard-to-reach, out-of-the-way items stacked on high racks and shelving. An image scanner might struggle with long-distance scanning; although there are options designated for ‘extended range’ scanning that can be quite competitive. In general, however, laser is relied upon as the scanner of choice for long-range scanning tasks.

Motion Tolerance

Laser technology is highly tolerant to motion. Historically, laser scanning was superior to image scanning, but the latest imaging technology has narrowed the gap considerably. 2D imagers have superior capabilities for omni-directional scanning, making these devices better for odd-angle scanning (think retail, warehouse operations and picking/packing operations). Because the technology has become so advanced in terms of tolerance to motion, wearable image scanners (ring scanners and wearable computers) have been a successful way to improve worker productivity without compromising accuracy.

Ability to Read Poor-Quality Barcodes

Image scanners can often compensate for hard-to-read or damaged bar codes, producing a useable read even in conditions where lasers can’t. If you’re dealing with aged labels, labels exposed sunlight or harsh conditions that can cause deterioration of the label, an image scanner will be a better choice because of its superior reading capability.

Discrimination

If you are scanning frequently used bar codes from a list of grouped codes, it can be difficult for some image scanners to segregate and focus on just one code, although for close-range scanning either technology will perform satisfactorily. For long-range scanning, laser scanning is a likely choice for scanning selected barcodes.

Laser Scanner Use Cases

  • A laser scanner works well in applications that use only 1D bar codes
  • They are ideal for use in indoor locations where users may be scanning from a distance, such as vehicle-mount scanning
  • They also work well when selecting barcodes from a pre-printed sheet that holds an array of frequently used codes such as inventory transaction codes or locations

Image Scanner Use Cases

  • Image scanners work for either 1D or 2D bar code scanning
  • They do well in activities that occur outdoors, especially in sunlight
  • They work best when the barcodes are close to the scanner
  • Imaging technology is popular for wearables and cordless scanning to improve user mobility

Selecting the right handheld scanner can be complex, so it often pays to speak with an expert who can provide insight and guidance before you invest in a new solution. Contact us to learn more.