Saturday, 06 October 2018 07:46

Five Reasons to Modernise Warehouse and Supply Chain Communications

The modern nature of warehouses and the need for faster and seamless processes to meet tighter deadlines, means that Manager must now be able to communicate with warehouse operators one-to-one, at any time, or with multiple workers, in multiple parts of the warehouse – all at once.

Workers need to be able to reach a supervisor instantly – there is no contingency for time spent locating and informing a manager of a problem. This enhanced communication needs to be introduced throughout the entire process across multiple locations – including stores, warehouses and distribution centres, and even the end customer.

But while all this sounds great and in line with expectations of a modern warehouse operation, what exactly does it mean for operations – and what are the benefits of modernising warehouse communications?

The backbone of an effective warehouse

Despite modernisation, warehouses are still big, loud and sometimes disorganised environments. Instant communication is essential to keep processes flowing – whether between managers and staff, warehouse supervisors and operatives, or between different points of the supply chain network.

New technology can streamline warehouse communications ensuring maximum productivity. Mobile communication, for instance, means staff and managers can be ‘connected’ at all times, reducing the potential for delays. The need for a single line of communication across the entire network is now more important than ever for warehouses to operative effectively.

Responsive operations

While warehouses are still primarily geared towards a model of shipping bulk items to stores, they must now also deal with smaller direct to customer deliveries – capable of picking-up and redistributing returned items. With so many moving parts, any delay in communication within the supply chain and the warehouse will ultimately lead to customer delivery delays.

Older communications like telephone stations and loud speakers are not effective in a modern warehouse environment. Operators now need access to mobile devices, which allow them to communicate and track each other’s movement around the warehouse, speeding-up fulfilment rates.
 
Optimised order management

Warehouses have become a bigger part of direct to customer shipping fulfilment. The need to meet next day and same day commitments alongside store deliveries means that operators are under more pressure to optimise processes.

From the warehouse, to delivery, to returns – being able to track and communicate the progress of both supplies and finished goods is now essential.

Connected mobile devices, equipped with scanners and location tracking technology, enable operators to monitor the process of orders from the warehouse floor, instantly locating items anywhere within the supply chain, significantly increasing accuracy.

From the warehouse, to delivery, to returns – being able to track and communicate the progress of both supplies and finished goods is now essential.

Connected mobile devices, equipped with scanners and location tracking technology, enable operators to monitor the process of orders from the warehouse floor, instantly locating items anywhere within the supply chain, significantly increasing accuracy.
 
Network-wide collaboration

Communication with an operator at the warehouse floor is now only a small part of the fulfillment process.  Collaboration is required across the entire supply network to track and monitor stock – including through the distribution and transport stage.

Mobile computers, which can be connected to the same voice and data communications, at any point in the supply chain, keep the supply chain moving, as issues are raised and solved immediately.

For instance, in the past, the only time a wrong delivery could be identified was when the driver got to the end point. Now, the ability to directly scan items during transit means stock can be confirmed and identified – expediting delivery.

Operational alignment

Aligning operations throughout the supply chain ensures the smoothest and most efficient delivery journey. In an environment where different sized orders are being distributed to stores and customers, it becomes even more important to improve communication and co-ordination. Any breakdown in communication can instantly supply chain efficiency – costing time and money.

New technology, particularly wearable technology and mobile computers, let’s operators stay in constant contact while activities are optimised, and productivity maximised.

Implementing across the network has become a fundamental component of the modern warehouse and modernising communication is now the only way the supply chain can handle current consumer lead demands.

To learn more about modernising your warehouse communications, click here.

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