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The Right Angles For Increased Warehouse Productivity

Posted by Amanda Honig

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April 25, 2016 at 7:00 AM


To succeed in today’s global economy, businesses have to play all the angles. For retailers striving for sustainability in the fast-evolving marketplace, there are a number of angles that are key to enhancing productivity and increasing revenues and profitability. 

Especially important is maximizing worker productivity in today’s omnichannel warehouses and distribution centers. In certain crucial use cases—like picking, packing, put-away and inventory cycle counting—they must cope with an issue that quite literally involves a mathematical angle. 

Playing the design angle

When Zebra researched warehouse processes, we found that the dual-plane angle of gun-style handheld computers was a hidden drain on worker productivity. By forcing workers to first scan the item, then tilt the computer screen up to make sure the task was successfully completed, these traditional handhelds were causing increased worker fatigue and decreased productivity.

Zebra’s research, highlighted in Addressing Productivity Barriers in the Warehouse, culminated in the development of the revolutionary TC8000 handheld computer. The TC8000 now provides the industry with the right angle—a single-plane, line-of-sight angle—that eliminates the non-value-added “tilt-and-verify” actions, significantly enhancing warehouse worker productivity.

Green screen vs. browser-based interface

But there are other angles to play that aren’t quite so literal. For more than twenty years, warehouse managers have become used to using key-based, gun-style handheld computers running legacy “green screen” terminal emulation applications.  Although they want to increase productivity, management is leery of moving to a browser-based application. They’re concerned costs would skyrocket, requiring significant training and investment, as well as implementation that risks causing interruption in warehouse processes and workflows.

Changing workplace demographics

They can’t ignore the fact, however, that the warehouse has changed. Workplace demographics are skewing much younger.  The warehouse workforce of today and tomorrow—including seasonal workers—is more familiar with a smartphone-type interface than with a “green screen key-based” interface. Forward-looking organizations realize that these graphical interfaces will be the drivers of added productivity in the future. The TC8000 handheld empowers warehouse management to lessen the growing pains of change. It automatically updates existing terminal emulation to a touch screen interface with a virtual keyboard, creating a familiar, intuitive user experience that:

  •         Increases accuracy
  •         Enables faster data entry
  •         Reduces training costs

Replacing “green screen” interfaces

Many warehouse managers are also nervous about moving to an Android OS; they have a hard time imagining running their application on an all-touch platform that doesn’t include green screens and keys. The problem is, those are old and outdated technologies and form factors. Zebra’s TC8000 offers the solution of the future today. No other industrial devices are currently running Android, and therefore no other devices can offer the user interface enhancements or the easy transformation of green screen to all-touch TE.

Revolution in the warehouse

The Zebra TC8000 handheld computer offers omnichannel warehouse managers significant productivity increases and superior user experiences without disrupting their backend systems or workforce operations. Its ergonomic design provides an innovative new angle that:

  •         Eliminates “tilt-and-verify” activities
  •         Reduces worker fatigue by almost 25%
  •         Increases warehouse worker productivity by 14% on average

The Zebra TC8000 is the handheld computer that helps organizations play all the right angles to increase productivity in omnichannel warehouses and distribution centers.

To find out how the TC8000 can help you increase warehouse productivity, read the white paper Addressing Productivity Barriers in the Warehouse. 

Amanda Honig is the Americas Product Marketing Manager for Handheld Enterprise Mobile Computers at Zebra Technologies. Amanda works closely with Zebra’s product development and global marketing teams to introduce new mobile computing solutions to customers across all industries.

Topics: North America, Warehouse Management, TC8000, Warehouse, Productivity