Business Automation and Software Blog

Mobility Improves Distribution Automation and Efficiency

Posted by Robert Baran on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 @ 03:19 PM

A mobile ERP is one of the most valuable technology tools for warehouse management to enable distribution automation. As the need for speed increases, mobility provides the person-to-person communications and collaboration required to increase productivity through more efficient processes and better data. Mobile technology is especially effective where business models rely on rapid inventory turns, tight schedules and thin margins. 

Mobile devices like bar code scanners and tablets have been used successfully in inventory management for some time to provide real-time information and product tracking. However, there is great opportunity in supply chain management to conduct business processes with mobile technology as well. Mobile devices can be used across the entire supply chain from the front to the back of the warehouse.

  • Receiving: Capture inventory data from the point that it arrives in the dock. Incoming shipments can be automatically verified against purchase orders and instructions sent to an employee’s mobile device
  • Storage: Put away is expedited by the system providing the best path to the right storage location or outbound location. Maintain visibility without the use of a paper trail
  • Inventory Control: Replenishment is facilitated by hand-held mobile devices. Requests can be handled in seconds and workers directed to the right location by the quickest route
  • Order Fulfillment: Picking operations are made more efficient with accurate order and storage information
  • Packaging: Packaging operations can be automatic with error-free order validation
  • Shipping: Shipments can be scanned, verified and staged for the proper truck

Using mobile technology with a warehouse management system (WMS) like Sage 300 provides many benefits by automating and integrating processes to keep your entire company aligned and running smoothly.

  • A mobile ERP will save costs and improve efficiency. Mobile data collection sends real-time data into your ERP system eliminating manual entry and reporting errors. Better data mean better inventory management and efficiency which in turn lead to lower costs and higher profitability
  • Using mobile technology will result in improved performance and greater customer satisfaction. When you update and change information as it happens, replacing manually-intensive inventory processes, you can create value-added services and a seamless consumer buying experience.

Of course, there are challenges in implementing mobile technology to improve distribution automation. 

  • Devices may not be made for the abuse of a warehouse environment. In some cases, more rugged devices will be needed. Careful selection and research need to go into choosing the right technology for each process. Next-generation tablets and smartphones offer a number of advantages especially in cost, integration with other business systems, and the ability to visually communicate information
  • Technology costs can be inhibitors for small to mid-sized companies. However, in many cases, personal mobile devices offer a cheaper solution to RFID devices or other rugged devices, especially in remote locations. Cloud-based models can also offer cost-savings
  • Mobile technology requires a cultural shift. With a mobile ERP, managers can move out of their offices and onto the warehouse floor. They can roam the aisles with their devices and have access to information for real-time decision-making. As employees become more comfortable with technology in their personal lives, they will be able to make the shift

As you can see, mobile technology will continue to impact your warehouse management system as technology changes and becomes more inexpensive. Please contact us to learn more about enabling mobile technology in your ERP.  For more information on WMS with mobile capabilities, visit here

Download our whitepaper, “Supporting Workplace Mobility with ERP”, for a comprehensive look at how to support workplace mobility with a modern ERP software solution. Through the whitepaper, you will learn the impact that mobility could have on your business. In addition, the whitepaper will identify the advantages to implementing mobile ERP in your company as well as the challenges that you will need to address in implementing mobile ERP solutions.

Topics: Distribution Automation, Warehouse Management System, WMS