Automating Warehouse Processes and Production with Rugged Tablets

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To an outsider, a warehouse may look like a hub for chaotic activity. You have employees sorting, organizing, and packing goods, while others monitor and move the products from place to place. In order to keep track of deliveries and shipments, a high degree of organization is required. With tablets, many of the necessary processes can be streamlined. Here are a few ways that tablets can automate functions within a warehouse.

Better Inventory Counts

Warehouses are used to store merchandise and goods, making them the halfway point between the manufacturer and the consumer. In order to keep track of the goods, they have to be carefully logged and transported every step of the way. Inventory counts can be simplified with rugged tablet applications, and employees can move freely with the mobile computer in hand. What used to be a time-consuming and bothersome task is now efficient, making time for other important things.

Increase Organization

When employees know where everything is, you save time locating and moving product from one place to another. RFID and barcode tags can be used to organize shipments, so employees don’t have to open it or locate paperwork to figure out what’s inside. Information about where the shipment is supposed to go can also be included within the barcode/RFID report, making it easy for the shipments to meet their destination.

Better Employee Management

Employees are the heart of any operation, no matter how much of the process is automated. With rugged tablets, you can give employees the tools they need to do their jobs faster, better, and more efficiently. Tasks can also be tracked and assigned digitally, making sure that there’s no confusion on the warehouse floor. By replacing stationary computers with tablets, employees can carry their work with them, making things easier on all involved parties.

Less Paperwork 

Paperwork is quickly becoming something of the past, and papers can easily become lost or ruined in a warehouse setting. When employees are constantly identifying, moving, and recording shipments, they cannot keep editing and printing out paperwork to match. With rugged tablets, all the necessary data can be kept safely on an internal hard drive and connected to the mainframe or the cloud. Protected against water, dust, and shock damage, rugged tablets are far more durable than consumer grade devices.

With purpose-built technology, warehouses can increase efficiency, reduce downtime, and improve both employee and customer experience. While we’re a long way from fully automating our warehouses, tablet technology is a step towards a simpler, more efficient system.

 

4 Points at Which Rugged Tablets Improve Supply Chain Efficiency

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Mobile technology has come a long way since its inception, and the advancements have made them the ideal tool for both manufacturers, retailers, and transport workers. Time is the most invaluable resource in supply chain operations, and rugged tablets can increase efficiency at every turn, saving time and money. Here are four ways that rugged tablets can optimize an operation, from the production floor to the retail department. 

Tablets for Manufacturing Operations

For manufacturers, putting out high-quality goods on time is the key objective. Rugged tablets can help manage machines and applications, keep track of employees, and keep customers updated on the status of their goods. Specific orders can also be handled individually via barcode/RFID scanning. Along with increasing organization, real-time updates help manufacturers identify a problem before it halts production, and they can use tablet applications to solve the matter quickly.

Tablets for Warehouse Use

Chaos in the warehouse can lead to mistakes, lost goods, and injured employees. Tablets can help improve organization and efficiency, saving time and preventing delays or interruptions in warehouse flow. Tablets can replace both mounted and fixed-station computers, and their barcode/RFID capabilities make them ideal for scanning, tracking, and managing orders.

By putting all necessary information on a mobile computer, companies have decreased errors and increased efficiency. The moment an asset reaches the warehouse, its contents and destination can be discovered via scan. From there, employees can manage the order accordingly before moving on.

Tablets in Transit

Transport and delivery are arguably the most hectic parts of handling goods, but tablets can simplify this process and make it easier for all parties involved. When mounted within vehicles, tablets can serve as GPS systems for drivers, and then easily removed for other duties. Companies can track their orders via GPS, and this real-time tracking lets them know when to expect delivery. No need for downtime, and no confusion over lost or late orders.

Tablets on the Retail Floor

While the retail environment is the destination, it’s not the end of the line for many products. Many retail stores are utilizing mobile devices to increase efficiency and organization in the workplace, and they can even be used for shelf management on the sales floor eliminating the need to print and post stocking images. Barcode/RFID scanning can be utilized here, as well. Employees can simplify inventory tracking by using barcodes and RFID tags to identify goods, and logs can be digitized for easy management.

Rugged tablets benefit the supply chain at multiple points and can streamline your logistic operation from manufacturing facility to the retail floor.

5 Ways Rugged Tablets Support Connected Supply Chains

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Rugged tablets have become one of the fastest growing markets, becoming widely used in many businesses. The integration of mobile technology has improved performance in both manufacturing and retail, and they’ve filled a niche but vital role for many companies. With Windows operating systems, fully integrated data capture options, and the latest networking capabilities, they’ve become the most reliable form of mobile technology on the market.

Fully operable both on the move and in stationary, mounted positions, mobile tablets are easier to use than laptops, smartphones, and desktop computers combined. Without the bloatware and planned obsolescence of consumer-grade products, they’re becoming the best investment a company can make, no matter the industry.

Rugged tablets can be used to track merchandise every step of the way, from the manufacturing site to the retail floor.

  • Manufacturing:Rugged tablets can track the status of projects, access schematics and schedules, and keep management updated. Once the work is done, workers can pass tablets off to the next shift, or leave them mounted for easy access.
  • Warehouse:RFID and barcode scanning, wireless communication, and other management applications can be accessed with a fingertip. Both fixed-location computers and forklift monitors can be replaced by rugged tablets, all without disrupting the flow of the workplace.
  • Tracking:GPS can be used to track shipments every step of the way, from the second they leave the warehouse to the moment they are delivered. Customers can receive updates on where their merchandise is, who has it, and how long their delivery will take.
  • Transportation & Delivery:With rugged tablets, companies can eliminate paper-based systems and establish a more organized business record. Real-time weather, traffic, and emergency updates can be used to immediately map the best possible delivery route, saving time, gas, and money.
  • Retail:Whether they’re being used for shelf management, to check inventory delivery, or in the hands of sales clerks, rugged tablets can be invaluable in retail. RFID and barcode scanning can streamline inventory management, and add-ons can allow for credit card scanning and other uses on the retail floor.

While consumer-grade products may seem like a viable option for professional use, they fall short in many ways necessary for a business environment. In situations where consumer-grade tablets may be rendered useless, rugged tablets can resist damage and are easily updated. Waterproof, drop-proof, and protected against a number of other physical dangers, they are designed for long-term, real-use scenarios.

Rugged Tablets Increase Collaboration and Integrate Technology in Logistics

Tablet-used-when-packing-boxes-onto-truck3-tNo matter how efficient supply chains become, there will always be industry-specific challenges for logistics workers. Because of the nature of their work, workers need to be mobile at all times, and they need a device that can keep up. Ruggedized tablets have filled a niche but vital role in logistics, providing real-time data, constant communication, and other necessary tools.

While tablet PCs are designed to adapt to many situations, many companies will find that their own systems can be improved by incorporating mobile technology. Some things will always remain the same, but tablet systems can make certain processes faster, easier, and more efficient. Tablets have become an integral part of the way supply chains operate on a day-to-day basis.

Here are a few of the ways tablets are working overtime to improve the logistics industry.

Compatibility with Rail Traffic

As truck and driver shortages arise, trains are becoming the more reliable transport option. With better infrastructure and service, they are quickly becoming the primary method of transportation. With rugged tablets, the switch to rail traffic can be easy and painless. Built-in RFID scanners can help track inventory at all times, giving you real-time updates on where shipments are, where they’re going, and how long until delivery.

In-House Freight Billing 

Freight bill payment firms are quickly becoming obsolete, thanks to mobile technology and DIY payment software. With rugged tablets, companies can eliminate the middleman and focus on their own profits.

Coordination with LSPs

LSPs (Logistics Service Providers) can become a vital third-party for cost-conscious companies. Rugged tablets can help companies stay connected and informed when it comes to their LSPs, and better coordination can improve business transactions and deliveries.

Better Training and Productivity

With tablet computers, managers can collect data and communicate with employees seamlessly, establishing a system to monitor productivity. With the information they collect, they can improve their training and boost productivity across all platforms.

Service-Based Pricing Options

With electronic signatures, payment capture, and real-time routing, rugged tablets can help companies established a more enhanced delivery system. Customers can pay for services based on a tiered pricing. Faster delivery costs more, but they can get their products overnight, whereas other customers can settle for regular deliveries.

Domestic and international shipping companies need to keep up with rising demands for mobile technology, reliable tracking, and real-time updates. Rugged tablets are exactly what workers need to keep up with shipments, wherever they are in the world.

4 Ways Rugged Tablets Support Real Time Positioning for Streamlined Logistics

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Streamlined logistics is a top-of-the-list goal for many companies, but practical solutions have been difficult to realize and implement. Logistics presents multi-faceted challenges ranging from packaging and labeling through warehousing inventory and picking, to transportation and delivery.

Rugged tablets can provide accuracy, flexibility, functionality, and real time access to information and updates at every point in the supply chain. The ability of a tablet to be earmarked for a specific shipment or assigned to a loading dock or even a transport vehicle can help streamline operations and enable tracking of every item throughout the entire logistics process.

Former tablet solutions for logistics fell short of expectations, with software that didn’t integrate smoothly with inventory solutions, or hardware that couldn’t stand up to the harsh conditions of warehouse and transport use. Consumer grade devices quickly gave way to a new level of tablet – the rugged tablet for logistics. Rugged tablets can provide both purpose-built functionality and higher levels of durability required for continual use in warehouses, loading bays, trucks, and freighters.

The right match of software and hardware creates the ideal solution for real time positioning in logistics. 4 highlights of rugged tablet tech for this industry include the following features:

  • Multiple ways to capture real time data, including keyed input; touchscreen and digital pens; barcode and RFID scanning; instant image capture; signature capture; payment card reader; and shipment / package release or delivery acceptance fields.
  • Simplified digital mapping in-warehouse or on route during transit is simplified with rugged tablets. Handlers can quickly locate the right pallet, crate, or package, follow it step by step through the loading process, provide directions for shipment and delivery, and track each stop and transfer in real time until the cargo reaches its final destination.
  • Communication is rapid and real time, with seamless integration between systems and instant updates. Both information input and access are supported with hand-held tablet tech, and notifications can be sent from the tablet in case of weather issues or traffic problems during transit for real time adjustments.
  • Security and privacy can be ensured with encryption. Lost or stolen tablets can be tracked to locate them, or even wiped of data remotely in case of theft or accidental loss. With data transferred on the fly, backups can be scheduled, and information can be retrieved from multiple parties and collated for a full “big picture” view from central HQ.

Purpose built tablets can withstand rough working environments, be mounted to vehicle dashboards or static terminals, used in wet docks and ports thanks to weather and moisture resistant features, and read in almost any lighting condition from bright sunlight to complete darkness. For the logistics industry, there’s no innovation that has quite the same impact for real time positioning and information accessibility as the rugged tablet.