Are Wearables the Correct Choice for Your Warehouse?
Smart glasses and multi-functioning watches are two types of wearable technology available to warehousing and distribution workers today. Wearable tech is evolving and customizing to the needs of everyday users and employees in different industries. The use of these value-added services in the warehouse is growing rapidly as it drives performance improvements for companies by streamlining receiving, stocking, sorting, picking, shipping, and other labour-intensive tasks. Are wearables the right solution to your third-party (3PL) warehousing strategy? Here are some factors to consider.
More Agile and Location-Aware
Using wearable technology to integrate with your company’s warehouse management or inventory logistics system can provide huge benefits to employees, overall productivity, and costs savings. These include wearable scanners, voice picking technology, and headsets that issue voice commands. Employees can also communicate through the headset, which allows them to steer, load and offload items without stopping to scan data. Some systems allow for visual cues to be added to the workflow, such as smart glasses, which allow the wearer’s field of vision to assist with sorting and scanning. They display the quantity and type of item required, read barcodes, and identify the correct placement of each item. Smart watches can list potential voice commands or provide an image of the item to improve accuracy.
Multi-Modal Speech Solution
Multi-modal solutions such as hand-free mobile computers allow workers to fulfill their orders faster and more efficiently. These computers enable workers to scan barcodes and use touchscreen capabilities to enter and receive data more accurately than using hardcopy files. Workers can then handle more orders with less fatigue. The multi-modal system includes a wrist-worn computer, wireless headset, and a ring-style scanner, all of which work together wirelessly. Employees can have free hands to do their manual tasks without needing to constantly fiddle with the technology.
Wearable Technology: Three Key Points for Warehouses
Wearables reduce warehouse transaction times by making the process a fluid motion and leaving the hands and eyes free. Smart glasses can scan items for employees instantly, so they won’t need to waste time picking up a scanner, scanning, and putting down the scanner. Large distribution centres and manufacturing plants can save time on hundreds of transactions per day, increasing efficiency and providing monumental cost savings.
Some wearable tech can provide better accuracy than traditional barcode scanners. Ring scanners may provide the same results as handheld scanners, but the simplicity of the ring helps leave the hand free to work better. The level of accuracy depends upon the technology you are choosing—smart gasses are one of the more refined options as the technology is new and nearly limitless in its capabilities.
Since wearables reduce user fatigue, they require fewer repetitive motions and add to safety. Workers can keep their eyes on their task and use both hands for added control. Combined with sensors around the warehouse, wearable tech can also track worker locations and equipment or items that pose potential dangers. Voice-enabled wearables can alert forklift driver about the presence of a worker around the corner and prevent a collision in advance. Wearable tech not only provides information, it also collects it to identify and analyze patterns of workflow to inform management.
How Is Wearable Tech Shaping the Warehouse?
Wearable technology lets workers do their tasks freely without the constraints of computer workstations or scanners that set back the work flow. Incorporating multiple hands-free devices allows workers to follow real-time updates and instructions in their line of sight so they can work faster and smarter. Reducing error rates, keeping the workplace safer and more productive, and adding excitement and anticipation to the warehouse through modern technology will give you company an advantage in customer service and reputation over your competitors.
Streamline Your Logistics and Warehouse Management at Lean Supply Solutions
Lean Supply Solutions’ warehousing and distribution centres in Toronto and Vancouver can help your warehouse management goals work better than ever before. Our third-party logistics order fulfillment company provides outsourced supply chain roles that streamline processes for better success. We live by the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to clients’ supply chains. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, accurate, and quality results. To learn more about outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions or to ask any questions, contact us at 905-482-2590.