Upgrading a business’ legacy operating system is always a big decision, and this is particularly true of a warehouse operating system (OS), which has to be able to connect to and manage a number of moving parts and processes.
As with many new business developments involving technology, change is being primarily driven by upgrades to consumer services, where ease of use and adaptability takes centre stage.
But a business needs to ask itself - and answer - a number of questions before rushing into a wholesale refit of its operating infrastructure.
One of the biggest changes in recent years from an operating system standpoint has been the shift from Windows systems to the primary mobile OS, Android. This is especially true for warehouse OS, where customer expectations on delivery times have put more pressure on speed and accuracy of fulfilment.
So, will upgrading to Android make a difference to warehouse operations? And what are the benefits of upgrading an OS to integrate with more mobile and connected warehouse devices?
Consumer experience in enterprise
Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system, with an estimated two billion monthly active devices, according to Google.
With so many workers using and understanding this operating system on their personal mobile devices, it makes sense for enterprise devices to support this system as it provides a familiar user experience right out of the box, while also reducing training time.
Considering that warehouse managers and operatives are constantly busy logging, storing, finding and shipping inventory, it is necessary to provide them with the kind of equipment which they can easily use and configure.
Outside of work, employees are now able to purchase intuitive mobile devices which they can easily configure to meet their usage needs and are also provided with a range of downloadable applications which makes managing their daily lives easier.
This is a convenience they increasingly expect to have the same experience in their professional lives.
Taking advantage of Android adoption
Within the warehouse space there are any number of ways the increase in Android use can improve productivity and efficiency for operatives and managers.
Mobile devices installed with secure but easy to use apps can improve warehouse operations by making it easier to connect communications across the warehouse.
Being able to easily communicate with managers or operatives on different sides of the warehouse is essential to meet the 24/7 fulfilment requirements of the modern supply chain, something which can only be accomplished with the best technology and devices.
Embracing ‘mobility DNA’ within warehouses is essential to get the most out of new operating systems, for instance upgrading legacy green screen warehouse software into modern touch screen apps, which operatives are already familiar with.
Accelerating warehouse processes – from goods in to ship out – with the use of technology means goods can be received faster, with forms being populated via single scans through mobile data capture.
The leading products improving warehouse operations
A key development in tandem with the uptake of Android and new warehouse operating systems is the rise of rugged mobile equipment which can be used within a warehouse environment.
Modern wearable computers with the right apps installed effectively mean operatives are carrying their mobile offices.
For instance, these Android mobile devices can be configured with apps to improve productivity through the use of real-time data collection, enabling managers to identify bottle necks in the supply chain and solve problems before they escalate.
Similarly, devices can be equipped with solutions which integrate a complete chain of suppliers and customers, promoting co-ordination and trade exchange among customers, suppliers and partners.
This technology can also reduce the chance of human errors within the supply chain, for instance through the use of two-way communication with field personnel enabling the instant update of customer and pricing information as orders are sent in.
This eliminates the time-consuming process of faxing or phoning in orders.
The benefits of upgrading operation systems
What all this new equipment and improved operating systems mean is that warehouses, and every stage of the supply chain, becomes more efficient and cost effective.
Handsfree equipment allows workers to locate and scan items quickly and communicate with managers from anywhere in the warehouse, improving efficiency while the real-time data collection and sharing reduces human error.
The use of consumer level OS platforms, coupled with enterprise level mobile equipment allows for greater cost and time savings – improving the bottom line while streamlining processes.
Considering the speed and accuracy needed to serve the modern supply chain it is now becoming necessary to provide these solutions for businesses to compete.
To learn more about how Zebra for Android can optimise mobility in your warehouse, click on the link below to download our solutions guide: