A warehouse is no longer just a storage facility for goods but has shifted primary focus towards distribution. The priority is ensuring items are in stock, so they can be distributed quickly and efficiently to the customer with near to no room for error.

Every day, these warehouses and distribution centres may be losing valuable profits and resources due to wastage caused by employees working from conventional desktop label printers located at workstations around the warehouse. Upgrading conventional desktop printers to mobile technology can make processes leaner and more streamlined, tackling the two major consumer demands.

3 Key Wastes of Desktop Printing

Although long considered to be a cost-effective label printing solution, large, high-volume warehouses relying upon one or two stationary desktop printers are suffering wastage in several key areas:

1. Floor space: large workstations can put a severe strain on limited floor space which could be better utilised as extra storage space for goods or freight.

2. Time: multiple trips between fixed labelling workstations and storage point of goods is time-consuming, especially if the workstation is not located near the area the operator is working in or if there is a high volume of staff all requiring the use of a single label printer.

3. Accuracy: high risk of errors in correctly labelling goods, especially if operators attempt to print large batches of labels per trip in an attempt to save time lost in travel to the labelling workstation. This could have further implications for losses by the business if the labelling error is not recognised by the operator and the incorrect goods are shipped to the receiver and subsequently rejected.

Advantages of Mobile Technology

From a warehousing perspective, the main factor that can prolong the time it takes a customer to receive their goods, is the time it takes to pick and pack the order. Having a streamlined process is a good start to ensure efficiency and quicker supply to the customer. However, if staff are having to go back and forth in the warehouse to a central location to print and collect labels it creates a lot of wasted time. It can also lower staff morale as the action takes longer than it should and becomes a tedious task.

The use of mobile label printers can reduce time-in-motion and consequently the time it takes to pick and pack the goods. The quicker staff can complete their tasks means you will get more output for the same amount of time and in turn increase staff morale. It also means a reduction in label errors caused by double-handling, with just-in-time labelling as the items are picked.

If consumers are already wanting faster supply, they definitely wouldn’t have the time to have items incorrect or missing when they receive their delivery. Consumers have become very time poor and they can come to rely on an accurate delivery. By the time you resolve the issue or ship a replacement order, they probably need it yesterday, and it has cost you more in transport, labour and written-off stock. These issues can become very common if the root cause of the problem is not identified and just put down as human error.

Scanning barcodes is a way of error-proofing and ensuring 100% accuracy of the items being picked. The use of mobile scanning in the picking process can confirm every item should be getting scanned, reducing the chance for error. It can also identify any incorrect labelling or items packed in the wrong location. Ultimately, when you reduce error it minimises the amount of returns or write-offs which in turn saves you time and money.

Implementing mobility solutions can have a positive impact in all aspects of distribution; from day-to-day operations to customer experience. Constructing a streamlined process, mobile printing and scanning can reduce time-in-motion, double-handling and unnecessary errors. In turn, unnecessary labour, transport and write-off expenses will be diminished, output increased, and staff morale enhanced. With all elements combined, mobility solutions can lead to a better customer experience providing a quicker and more accurate supply.