"We're Losing Track Of Warehouse Goods: How Can We Reduce Losses And Improve Asset Visibility?"
By now, most warehouses have embraced data-capture technology - like Zebra Technology scanners, printers, and mobile computers - to manage goods and generate reports on breakages, returns, and more.
This blog will explore how warehousing operations can improve their visibility of goods, in real-time, and prevent assets from going missing, or being stolen,
What Are The Symptoms Of Poor Asset Visibility?
When customers reach out to MiTEQ about digital transformation for warehousing and distribution facilities, they tend to be faced with three key challenges: delayed deliveries, increased overhead costs, and increased transportation risks. Each of these challenges is a symptom of poor real-time visibility.
When goods move throughout a traditional supply chain - relying on legacy point-in-time systems - it is practically impossible for stakeholders to accurately monitor variables such as vehicle locations, driver performance, ETAs, and on-ground activities. This can lead to chaotic chains of communication, product losses, and tarnished supplier credibility. In the long run, delayed deliveries convert into bad customer experiences; which, in turn, convert into lost business; all, because you didn't decide to invest in best-in-class real-time location system solutions.
Increased Overhead Costs:
Without real-time visibility of your supply chain, you cannot identify where fuel consumption could be minimised, damages could be prevented, or processes could be made more efficient. Point-in-time systems are brilliant at communicating information at specified check-in points along a good's journey, but they leave you blind to seeing how goods are being handled, transported, or treated between any two check-in points. The outcome is less-than-optimal productivity, and increased overhead costs.
Increased Transportation Risks:
You cannot predict every mishap that occurs between check-in points; however, without real-time visibility, you will struggle to proactively communicate problems, rectify errors, and overcome developing obstacles - such as excessive traffic, theft, or accidents - without real-time visibility of goods.
Areas To Consider When Addressing Warehousing Visibility
So, what does "real-time visibility" mean, and how can it be created?
Real-time visibility means generating live information relating to the whereabouts, condition, and status of your goods at any given point along their journeys. Within supply chains, real-time visibility is critical for helping business leaders to quickly identify changes to workflows, so that business leaders can act upon unexpected challenges in an effective, timely way.
Initial steps that can be taken to improve real-time visibility include:
Implementing a Warehouse Management System - to allow you to keep more accurate, less corruptible records.
Maximising managerial visibility - to help business leaders stay attuned to what is happened throughout your facilities at any given point-in-time. Mobile computing technologies are particularly valuable for these rapidly changing environments.
Improving Product Labelling - so that warehouse staff can easily identify, spot and pick items.
There is one technology that adds value to each of the bullet-points mentioned above: RFID (radio-frequency identification) Technology.
The Benefits Of Using RFID Technology
RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology means warehouse operators can gather more accurate and reliable information about assets, in real-time, without having to scan individual labels one-by-one (yes, MiTEQ can help you optimise for multi-order picking).
Loss Prevention Magazine interviewed several of the largest European logistics brands - collectively purchasing 1.87 billion RFID tags a year - and discovered that RFID technology was helping businesses to...
Improve inventory visibility and accuracy (between 65-75%, and 93-99%).
Optimise stock holdings (including reduced capital outlay and improved productivity)
Reduce shrinkage losses
Reduce staff costs
Generate greater overall returns
Exploring Your Options
When deciding how to make best use of real-time visibility solutions, such as RFID technology, it is important that you work with a supplier that has experience deploying real-time location system solutions. The MiTEQ team has a wealth of experience within Transportation, Logistics, and Field Service sectors, and can help you to source, provision, and deploy best-in-class mobile technology solutions: to track assets, minimise downtime, maximise productivity and generate meaningful returns.