Forklifts are a key part of warehouse efficiency and the supply chain as a whole.
Historically thought of as a ‘dumb’ piece of equipment in that they were totally reliant on the operator, forklifts have recently come to symbolise the digital transformation within warehouse operations.
The rise of ‘intelligent forklifts’ has completely revolutionised workflows: reducing material handling costs, improving fulfilment rates and streamlining stock management and tracking processes – all while driving better safety standards.
The modern nature of warehouses and the need for fast, slick processes to meet shorter turnaround means that the idea of a manager just sitting in their corner office, only answering questions when workers come to the door, is a long way from reality.Managers now must be able to communicate with warehouse operatives one to one, at any time, as well as with multiple workers – in multiple parts of the warehouse – at once.
Italian wire and cables manufacturer, General Cavi, has boosted its warehouse productivity by 15% since deploying Zebra Technologies TC8000 Touch Mobile Computer.
Dealing with returns has become an essential customer service function in recent years.
The rise of online shopping in particular has led to an increase in the number of customers buying items over the internet – especially during sales – without being totally sure about the purchase with the expectation they can return them once they’ve arrived.
Leading premium sports and lifestyle brand ASICS trusts in Zebra Technologies and Dalosy, its Enterprise Mobility partner of over ten years, to increase productivity and efficiency at its European warehouses.
It’s a competitive market out there. Distributors need the most efficient practices and a first-class supply chain in place, so they can fulfil customer orders accurately and fast, whilst remaining profitable.
Madison – the largest supplier of bicycle parts and accessories in the UK – has just deployed Zebra’s TC8000 Touch Mobile Computers in its Milton Keynes warehouses with two key aims:
- To drive warehouse productivity
- To have a single reliable handheld device that can be used for all warehouse processes
With global online sales predicted to reach $8 trillion by 2020* – pretty much all of our customers speak of a number of common challenges: warehouses are carrying more items, orders are more complex, peaks are extreme, new workflows need to be introduced (e.g. processing returns) and the pressure’s on to deliver next-day.
Has any industry undergone such rapid change in a short period as warehousing? From being seen as a line item cost, businesses now look to warehouses to create a competitive edge by improving the quality of customer service, and the speed and accuracy of deliveries. What’s more, innovation is necessary as the sheer volume and challenge of warehousing work is changing. Our customers tell me that orders are more complex, SKUs are rising fast, peaks are ever more extreme and new workflows need to be introduced (e.g. for proof of delivery and processing returns).
Warehouses are predicting a 42% increase in SKUs and 70% increase in volume of items shipped by 2020. And with customers demanding ever fast delivery and flawless fulfillment the pressure is on to deliver. Temporary workers are crucial to ensuring that warehouses can cope – especially around peak times that are becoming ever more extreme. Some of our larger customers can employ hundreds and sometimes thousands of workers at these times.