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Recover and Thrive: Future-Proofing Your Warehouse

Posted On: 
May 12, 2021
Business Unit: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many existing liabilities and susceptibilities in company supply chains and warehouse operations. Some are examining and changing their processes and business models, some are discovering growth opportunities and future competitive advantages. 

The pandemic has exposed that warehouse operations are generally not equipped to accommodate large fluctuations in demand on top of previous issues such as labor shortages, labor cost reductions, higher perfect order rates, lower cost of errors, and improved storage utilization; especially when dealing with the limitations imposed by legacy technology.

As organizations reinforce their ability to thrive, they need to optimize for cost, service, and resilience; which means incorporating enterprise-grade technology solutions that will enable supply chain objectives. For the warehouse, utilizing enterprise-grade technology and planning for future upgrades are essential. 

As organizations reinforce their ability to thrive, they need to optimize for cost, service, and resilience; which means incorporating enterprise-grade technology solutions that will enable supply chain objectives.

What ARE Enterprise-Grade Solutions?

Enterprise-grade solutions mean rugged, durable, high-quality computer equipment that can work reliably in harsh environments, and that have been tested to meet quality standards for those environments. This includes shock and impact testing, vibration testing, liquid submersion, touch screen functions that respond to workers wearing gloves, and other industry-specific testing that contributes to increased operational efficiencies, reduced downtime and a significantly lower overall total cost of ownership (TCO). 

Although TCO calculators are widely available to compute the difference between consumer and rugged devices, it doesn’t take a calculator to understand that consumer-grade devices would shatter if accidentally dropped on concrete, or would fail if submersed in water (or rain, or high humidity), or extreme heat, or cold, or sand, or dust. Not to mention the differences of additional capabilities of updated technology, like increased speed, uptime, data lookup, scanning and labeling abilities, and countless features like gloved hands utilizing touch screens.

And in our safety-conscious times, many employers are opting for lighter wearable devices that create less strain and offer ergonomic alternatives to cumbersome tools of the past. As more Gen Z workers enter the warehouse workforce, the ability to onboard them quickly becomes vital, and familiar technology that's Android- or touchscreen-based most quickly enables warehouse workers to reach peak productivity.

A few additional facts about enterprise-grade rugged devices: 

  • Battery: rugged devices have much longer battery lives, many lasting an entire shift on a single charge.
  • Life Cycle: consumer-grade devices get phased out quickly, rugged devices do not, and can therefore be supported for years.
  • Longer Scan Distances: rugged devices scan from far greater distances than consumer models
  • Purpose-Built: rugged devices can be customized to meet the specific needs of your operation
  • Service: rugged devices (in most cases) come with cost-effective service contracts offered by General Data and the manufacturer covering both defects and damages.

The differences do not stop there – rugged devices are upgradable in the field, most have hot-swappable batteries for round-the-clock use, and many times can be repaired remotely; all contributing to fewer repairs, less downtime, and greater productivity. Rugged devices are also available in many different sizes, weights, and types; for example, ring scanners worn on the finger as opposed to hand-held scanners. So don’t be fooled by an up-front price tag on a consumer-grade device that appears lower; but will ultimately cost you and your organization substantially more by having to update, repair and replace existing devices.

Enterprise-grade rugged devices include mobile computers and tablets, industrial scanners, mobile and desktop printers, RFID handheld readers, and more; all possessing integration capabilities with technologies like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems such as PLEX, and enable such capabilities as voice picking, item identification, serialization and aggregation with cloud-based storage, quick and easy access to product identification and full traceability as well as regulatory compliance, all while combating counterfeiting and securing production and distribution channels.

The Thriving Warehouse

The warehouse that will survive demand fluctuations, labor shortages, logistical issues, changing compliance standards and other operational challenges in the future needs to utilize technologies that will meet your needs today and tomorrow. 

Enterprise-grade technology solutions can help solve warehouse inefficiencies. General Data can help you create a solution that incorporates rugged, durable, high-quality computer equipment that provides increased long-term productivity, a lower overall total cost of ownership, and operational efficiencies to future-proof your warehouse. Contact us today … we’re looking forward to the future!