Traditionally speaking, mobile technologies – such as tablets and smartphones – haven’t been major players in the world of warehouse management.
In the past, IT managers have resisted the idea of wireless and mobile devices in the warehouse because of their inherent security issues, while warehouse managers have deemed the devices too fragile for the perilous life of warehouse equipment.
However, it seems that both IT and warehouse managers are changing their tune when it comes to mobile and wireless devices, and the potential that these devices have to increase warehouse efficiency.
Automation World magazine recently (Nov. 6, 2012) published an article that outlined how smartphones and tablets are making an impact in industrial environments, from real-time inventory adjustments to automated equipment control.
In a Nov. 11, 2012 article, Packaging World magazine’s VP and Editor, Pat Reynolds, touched on the same topic.
While covering the 2012 Pack Expo, Reynolds, was introduced to the new tablet controlled CombiScale Primo. He reported that the Microsoft Windows tablet run scale garnered so much attention at the Expo that CombiScale ran out of marketing and sales sheet handouts.
Other companies are also jumping on the technology bandwagon. Sealed Air, the company behind the Bubble Wrap brand, recently issued a press release announcing a new web based parts catalog for their Shanklin shrink packaging equipment.
The online catalog will allow service vendors to look up part pricing and availability from any Internet connected computer, laptop, tablet and most smartphones. Onsite technicians will be able to provide lead time and pricing information to their customers, gain approval and order the necessary parts, all in a matter of minutes – instead of days.
In addition, service vendors using this new online catalog will be able to see a picture of the part they are ordering, which could lead to increased accuracy and, therefore, even less downtime.
Other major companies, like Motorola, are getting on board with warehouse technology needs by making their equipment tougher. By revamping their equipment, while keeping costs down, technology companies hope to infiltrate the rugged environment of the industrial warehouse.
Demands to “go paperless,” be more efficient and increase accuracy have forced company strategists to consider the issue of warehouse technology.
With the capabilities of wireless devices continuing to increase while their costs decrease, it’s no surprise that the industrial warehouse is starting to embrace the idea of mobile technologies. After all, warehouse managers are constantly seeking ways to meet and exceed demands.