Finding the right warehouse wireless solutions is essential if you want your operation to keep up with the times.
At the heart of every mobility solutions is a wireless network, the key enabler that carries the steady flow of information to and from the mobile devices that drive your business processes — and your success. But wireless networks are evolving, and the pace of evolution is increasing: 4G is evolving into 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E have arrived, and the notion of a shared spectrum wireless network is gaining momentum.
As an enterprise, you have probably started discussions about how this next generation of wireless networks can impact your current mobility solutions, your near-term mobility plans, and your overall mobility strategy.
You need to be able to take advantage of internet dependent tools like inventory systems and digital picking. If you can’t, your competitors sure will at some point (if not already). Fortunately, getting warehouse WiFi solutions in your warehouse is now a fairly straightforward task.
Just follow the advice in this post and you’ll open up a whole world of potential for productivity driving digital tools and systems in no time. Your customers will definitely see the difference.
As companies strive to respond more quickly and accurately to customer demands, the value of efficient inventory storage, movement and control is hard to overestimate. Today’s warehouses have become bigger, taller and more densely packed than ever. There are more SKUs, shorter cycles and a premium on fast, accurate fulfilment, as well as high worker turnover and escalating labour costs. Finding the right warehouse WiFi solution is key to efficiency.
More manufacturers, wholesalers, logistics companies and retailers are turning to wireless networks to help them automate and streamline operations.
Warehouse WiFi solutions can enable automation and mechanisation of labour intensive processes such as receiving, put-away, storage, cycle counting, picking and packing, loading and shipping. They can also deliver high performance in difficult cold storage environments such as refrigerators, freezers and chillers.
Industrial wireless systems deliver mobile, telnet or browser-based access to the Warehouse Management System (WMS), providing a robust and reliable user interface to enhance worker productivity. They can provide persistent connections and roaming on fast moving warehouse equipment such as forklifts and crawlers, as well as connectivity for all handheld scanners and mobile computers in use across the space. The networks can also help assure efficiency with locationing capabilities that identify the presence of workers, assets and vehicles for optimal task management. The result is streamlined end-to-end operations in warehouses and distribution centres, as well as throughout the entire supply chain.
Every warehouse business is concerned with productivity and efficiency. The problem however, is that many struggle to gain the right amount of visibility into their operations that allows them to make better informed decisions. In order to avoid increasing operational costs, many warehouse businesses have turned to wireless technologies, software and real-time data to solve their operational issues.
The key to your success is having the proper foundation to support those new initiatives; this is where having a fast, reliable and secure wireless network becomes a critical utility.
Ask yourself the following key questions to ensure you get industrial strength warehouse wifi that can meet your daily demands and ensure all your software solutions such as your cloud WMS run efficiently.
- Can your WLAN support reliable mobile connectivity in a complex and dynamic environment?
- Can your network support a plethora of consumer and industrial strength devices?
- Can your industrial network deliver the optimum amount of bandwidth for each voice, data and video application?
- Do you have the tools and/or resources to monitor and manage your industrial wireless network and devices in real time?
- Can you deploy a unified corporate-wide WLAN optimised for both carpeted and industrial environments?
Key Benefits of State-of-the-art Warehouse WiFi Solutions
Wireless and mobile technologies have revolutionised the efficiency and productivity of warehouse operations. Wireless network connections give retailers a clear, real-time view of all activities happening in the warehouse and enable them to efficiently count and track inventory, improve order fulfilment accuracy, and provide workers with real-time communication.
Here are some reasons why –
Through wireless network connectivity, organisations can automatically track all warehouse assets in real time, enhancing both worker and machine productivity. By outfitting each item with RFID tags in constant communication with a system’s network, organisations have a way to track the whereabouts of each item at all times. This aids not only in loss prevention, but in the rapid fulfilment of orders.
No retailer wants to be without the most popular products, but neither do they want to overstock. Excess inventory creates unwanted expenses. Accurate inventory counts provide retailers the data they need to precisely predict product demands and stock inventory accordingly. Accurate inventory counts also allow retailers to provide up-to-the-minute information to customers, particularly important when a specific product is no longer available or is in short supply.
Voice and data communications:
Real-time voice and data communications enhance workers’ task and project management. Mobile communication devices give supervisors a way to see what is happening on the warehouse floor while receiving real-time project updates from the network. Wireless voice communications have proven particularly useful to big-box, warehouse-style stores like Costco and Home Depot. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi-based VoIP systems, as opposed to cellular-based systems, provide sales associates in warehouse stores with strong, clear signals for incoming calls, allowing associates to answer telephone queries from anywhere in the store, even deep within the racks, closing more sales and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.
It’s surprising how many organisations have been using Wi-Fi technology that isn’t the right fit for them.
Industrial environments require far more than a standard wireless solution to cope with day to day operations, and an inconsistent connection can seriously impact productivity, reliability and efficiency.
In complex working environments such as plants, warehouses and ports which are open to interference and extreme temperatures, industrial networks need to be reliable, persistent and surpass expectations, no matter what’s thrown at them. However, matching the power and performance needed to guarantee a dependable connection for everyday use is no easy task.
If you are experiencing any of the following warehouse wireless pain points and your WMS is not performing at its best, then it’s time to review your Warehouse WiFi Solutions.
Sheer size – As warehouses increase in size, a lack of seamless nomadic communications with workers roaming the space can cause costly inefficiencies in virtually every function – from receiving to picking to shipping.
Downtime and unavailability – With automation and mechanisation so critical to warehouse process efficiency, unreliable technology leads to downtime that can wreak costly havoc in operations, customer satisfaction and ROI.
Bottlenecks and congestion – Older, outdated warehouse technology is too often unable to deliver the high levels of bandwidth needed to overcome efficiency-sapping operational bottlenecks.
Device proliferation – An inability to support today’s wide variety of devices – laptops, handheld computers, tablets, barcode scanners, mobile printers, RFID readers and more – leads to unreliable communications and process automation.
There is no single best-practices roadmap to help enterprises determine how and when to transition to the next generation of wireless technologies. Start with a thorough examination of all of the applications you use today and the applications you have planned over the next three to five years. Then you can assess each application’s requirements individually and determine which of the three wireless protocols is best suited for each application. It comes down to speed, bandwidth, reliability and latency needs. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, chances are you’ll need to layer two (or all three) of these new wireless technologies to meet all of your needs.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.