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How Mobile Computer Workstations Increase Warehouse Organization

January 2, 2018
Author: Definitive Technology Group

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If you're a warehouse manager looking to improve organization and efficiency at your facility, it's important to look at mobile workstations as a primary driver of productivity. Mobile workstations make everything at your facility better - they help your employees save time, take fewer steps per shift while getting more actual work done, avoid distractions, and stay organized.

In the highly competitive logistics industry, warehousing enterprises that keep organized facilities stand to benefit in the form of increased profits, increased order picking and packing accuracy, reduced labor costs, and streamlined processes that save time. This article discusses how warehousing operations can leverage mobile workstations to help improve warehouse organization, reducing the incidence rate of errors and improving their profits.

Why Keep an Organized Warehouse?

It should go without saying that warehouses are more profitable when they are better organized, yet some warehouse managers seem to overlook the potential benefits that come with optimizing workflows and layout. Here are some of the benefits associated with a highly organized warehouse:

Optimize Your Packing and Put-Away Workflows

Keeping an organized warehouse begins with your treatment of new stock that comes into the building and the workflows that you use to categorize, label, sort, and put away the newly received stock. In an inefficient warehouse, workers travel between the receiving area and a distally located workstation to print stock labels and determine where a new product should be stored.

With mobile computer carts, the process of unpacking and storing new products is streamlined, requiring the minimum number of steps from start to finish and producing the highest possible degree of accuracy. An employee can take a product from the shipment, look it up on the computer to determine its correct storage location, and print the labeling required for it, all without taking a step.

This means fewer distractions, fewer errors, and significant improvement in one of the critical processes that determines the organization of your warehouse. The easiest time to address a problem is before it happens - ensuring accuracy in your order put-away process means fewer items lost in your warehouse and fewer errors down the line.

Optimize Your Warehouse Layout for Order Picking

Mobile computer carts can play a significant role in how you optimize order picking at your warehouse. In most logistics settings, the 80/20 rule applies; up to eighty percent of your orders are for just twenty percent of your inventory items. By understanding which items are picked most frequently, you can organize your warehouse layout to best facilitate access to those items.

If an employee has to travel between the shelves and a workstation in order to pick items and print shipping labels for them, most of the benefits of this type of organization are lost. With mobile computer carts, you can situate all of your most popular inventory close together in the warehouse and take advantage of a mobile workstation that lets you pick items, print shipping labels, and get them into the "outgoing" pile in the shortest time frame.

You can also store items closely together that are routinely bought together - if you put the baseballs next to the bats and gloves, you'll find your order picking get even easier, whether or not these items represent your best sellers.

Organize Your Workstations - Organize Your Warehouse

Mobile workstations themselves play an active role in maintaining organization at your warehouse - they serve as a hub of both action and organization at your facility. Items like portable scanners for RFID, clipboards, pens and pencils, and other essential daily tools can all find a home on your mobile workstation, meaning you won't lose or misplace these items around the building in the hustle and bustle of your work day.

Traditional workstations make it difficult to keep track of equipment - scanners, mobile devices, and other tools are constantly in use throughout the warehouse and are frequently left in inconvenient or forgotten locations. A mobile computer cart naturally helps you keep track of the extra tools you need to keep things moving on your busiest days.

Reduce Walk-through Traffic and Limit Distractions with Mobile Workstations

Warehouse organization means more than having a place for everything and everything in its place - it also encompasses the way you organize your workers and allocate other resources to get the best results and the most productivity. An organized warehouse is one where workers know their jobs and are empowered to work on their own, or in teams when required, to complete the tasks required.

It goes without saying that mobile workstations are a great way of facilitating faster rates of task completion and attention to detail among your staff members while minimizing distractions. An employee that has just picked an order and is now walking to a stationary workstation to print a label is vulnerable to distractions from coworkers that waste time in the best cases, and in the worst cases can lead to costly errors.

Instead of letting employees get distracted, smart warehouse managers invest in technology that keeps them on-task and productive throughout the day.

Leverage Efficiency Gains to Boost Maintenance Activities

In a busy warehouse, it's easy to find yourself playing defense more often than you're playing offense. Put differently, a busy employee is reactive about getting things done, and high-stress times leave little space for proactive measures that make things better, like organizing an obviously messy area or sweeping floors at the end of a shift.

Mobile computer carts enhance worker productivity, meaning that warehouse managers are immediately in possession of more human resources that they can allocate to the upkeep and organization of the warehouse. When the high-value, high-priority tasks get done quickly and more efficiently, the leftover resources can be allocated towards tasks that make everyone's life easier. Warehouse managers that get their teams working efficiently have more resources to focus on maintaining warehouse organization and a focus on constant improvement.

Conclusion

Mobile workstations are having a big impact in the logistics industry, allowing warehousing companies to reduce errors and increase profits by staying organized like never before. Businesses that successfully adopt technologies which enhance productivity and reduce waste stand to benefit greatly in the form of increased profits and business viability in the coming years.



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