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Drive Warehouse Productivity Up And Errors Down With Wearable Devices

Wearable devices provide the flexibility to build a portfolio that you can mix and match to meet your budget, technology and performance needs. Read on to find out how this can help improve warehouse productivity.

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The Challenges

The need for increased visibility, accuracy and efficiency within warehouse environments is stronger than ever.

The role of today's warehouse is changing; gone are the days where a warehouse is simply a space to store inventory and exchange goods. Warehouse operators are working in fast-paced and often decentralized environments and under time-sensitive schedules, to keep up with consumers' 'need it now' culture and meet their service expectations.
Consumers' expectations are shifting; they expect to be able to place an order with a retailer and receive overnight delivery, or collect the order at their local store the next day. This growing demand for overnight order fulfilment requires faster order picking to meet delivery expectations, resulting in increased pressure for businesses to maintain both accuracy and consumer satisfaction standards.

According to a study by Roy Morgan, Australians spent $41.3 billion on e-commerce last year, and 79% of Australians prefer purchasing goods online (in comparison to traditional in-person shopping). This growth of e-commerce brings increased complexity for warehouse operations, shifting from shipping cases of items to a store, to delivering individual items to consumers' homes. This is estimated to result in a 60% increase in warehouse SKUs by 2020.

Warehouse process complexity is going to amplify with a predicted 74% increase in the volume of items shipped over the next five years, and a 64% inventory turnover annually, resulting in an increased need for inventory visibility, accuracy and efficiency.

To compete in today's hyper-competitive market, accuracy is more critical than ever, as anything less than perfection in order fulfilment can result in a lost customer. As a result, businesses are constantly on the lookout for productivity and accuracy enhancing solutions for their warehouse and distribution centres to achieve competitive differentiation within the market.


The Solution

Visualize a warehouse where operators are able to freely move around and perform their duties more efficiently, without the constraints of a desktop computer or tethered scanner. A warehouse that is able to process and ship more orders per day- without adding staff. Where the correct items are delivered on time, satisfying consumers' expectations and as a result, increasing consumer satisfaction and loyalty. This is all possible with wearable technologies. While warehouse operators have been using wearable computers for years, we are now seeing a new generation of wearable technology. These devices offer a new standard in enterprise wearable technology that not only delivers superior hands-free mobility, but also provides in-depth information to direct users to a pick item or show them how to lift an item safely. In addition, the advancement in the device ergonomics, superior manageability and intuitive interface empowers users to work smarter and faster by receiving real-time updates and instructions with the aid of hands-free devices.

The Advantages

Wearable devices can enable businesses to achieve increased productivity in daily operations, and offer flexibility in building a solution you can mix and match to meet your budget, technology and performance needs. Often referred to as 'wearables', these devices are either worn autonomously or in conjunction with other devices worn on the body. Start with the wearable computer and add customised accessories such as ring style scanners, headsets and multi-modal speech-directed solutions.

A recent survey by VDC Research found that 85% of users are motivated to invest in warehouse wearable initiatives in order to increase employee productivity. Benefits also include improved operational efficiencies, increased order accuracy and delivery times, simplified processes for employees and improved workplace health and safety - resulting in increased employee and consumer satisfaction.

Increased Productivity

Wearable devices increase employee productivity by 15% when used as part of a total wearable solution, by eliminating the need for operators to hold a tablet, radio or scanner while completing tasks. Leaving both hands free to complete operational activities means daily tasks such as replenishing inventory, moving packages or picking orders can be completed quickly and more efficiently.

Faster Delivery Times

The productivity-enhancing benefits that wearable devices provide assists warehouse operators in managing the growing demand for faster order turnaround. Staff can pick orders faster and more accurately, meeting delivery expectations and protecting customer satisfaction levels.

Increased Order Accuracy

When wearable devices are used for order picking, customers can count on receiving the correct items in every delivery. With wearable computers, order pickers view the pick location and a map displaying the most efficient route to pick the order. When used in conjunction with a Bluetooth 1D/2D ring scanner you have a 39% reduction in picking errors and the perfect enterprise-class wearable solution.

Simplified Processes

These intuitive and easy to use devices are on par with smartphone usability. Requiring minimal operator training, new staff are up and running within a day. Work processes are simplified and the superior ergonomics improve user comfort. The Android OS allows users to take advantage of a familiar interface, reducing the time taken to train staff and implement new devices.


The latest generation in wearable technology

Zebra WT6300 Wearable Computer

Operators can easily view information on the display screen of their WT6300 (such as a photo of the product to pick), enter information via the touchscreen or keypad (such as the quality of the item picked) and take a picture to document item damage. Operators can capture real time information using this wearable device and make informed decisions that will benefit the customer.

Zebra RS5100 2D Ring Scanner

Operators can seamlessly capture RFID tags and scan barcodes to verify and pick items using their RS5100 ring scanner. Programmable line-of-sight LED colours direct users' activity, improving picking speed and accuracy.

Honeywell CT40 Wearable Wrist Pad and Corded 1D/2D Ring Scanner

The multi-purpose PDT CT45 mobile computer is a flexible approach to hands-free computing. Primarily a mobile computer, this device also supports purpose-built wearable accessories such as a wrist strap with corded 1D/2D ring scanner. This offers workers the flexibility to convert the mobile computer into a wearable device when required for hands-free tasks.

Honeywell 8675i 2D-Flex-Range Ring Scanner

Improve workflow productivity with the 8675i ring scanner, a small, lightweight, ergonomic, high-performance scanner that mounts on the user's finger. FlexRange technology offers expanded scan distance, enabling improved efficiency in workflows that could previously only be solved with bulkier, heavier handheld devices.

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