4 Fast Ways to Automate Your Warehouse for Better Efficiency

The last few years have been a wild time for warehouses, with the e-commerce boom, COVID-19, and now supply chain disruptions and labor shortages making it tough to keep up with demand.

This is why it’s now a crucial time to be thinking about ways you can automate more of your warehouse workflows and processes for better efficiency, so you can fulfill more orders in less time, with the most efficient use of labor, and at the lowest possible cost.

Fortunately, we have a lot of cost-effective technologies and solutions available to help us achieve that level of efficiency and actually get ahead of demand rather than constantly struggling to react to it.

  1. Implement Hands-Free and Voice-Directed Picking

Hands-free, voice-directed picking is one of the fastest-growing innovations in warehouse efficiency, and it’s the absolute best way to dramatically increase your picking speed and accuracy almost overnight.

Voice-directed picking is a multi-modal system where your warehouse workers are equipped with a wrist-worn mobile computer, a finger-worn ring barcode scanner, a headset, and a mobile version of your warehouse management system that provides voice-directed instructions and visual cues.

Using their wearable computer, they can access an order or pick list, and the software and voice direction tell them which items need to be picked, where they’re located, and how to get to those inventory locations on the most efficient path. The ring barcode scanner can then be used to scan and verify correct picks, and all of this happens while keeping workers’ hands free to handle inventory without having to juggle mobile devices or scanners.

Warehouses that implement these systems see immediate improvements in picking speed and accuracy thanks to all of the time and labor-saving automation. But it also helps make warehouse work more attractive to prospective workers because it helps reduce the amount of walking to fulfill orders and makes the whole process more efficient and less labor-intensive.

  1. Go Paperless by Capturing Form Fields and Signatures Digitally

Most warehouses use barcode scanning every day to identify and track their inventory and to help automate their processes. But relatively few take full advantage of all the automation and data capture capabilities that are now possible with barcode imaging.

Barcode imaging is the next evolution in scanning technology, and it enables much more than simply scanning a barcode label. With barcode imagers, you can also capture form fields with OCR text recognition, and you can also capture signatures. This can help you go completely paperless and remove the last vestiges of manual data entry or re-entry that’s required when dealing with all the documents and forms you may have to manage from third parties.

In addition to form field and data capture, the latest barcode imagers, such as Zebra’s 3600 Series Ultra-Rugged Scanners, can also capture multiple barcodes with a single trigger pull. You can use your scanner as a “wand” and move it around a box to capture up to 20 1D and 2D barcodes at one time, and you can also use Zebra’s scanning tools to automatically parse specific information you need from those barcodes and get it into your systems in the right format, right away.

  1. Improve Teamwork with Unified All-in-One Mobile Communication

Warehouse teams that can connect, collaborate and communicate faster and in real time will always be more productive and efficient. This is why it makes sense to improve teamwork by unifying all your communications through a single mobile, all-in-one solution, to connect your managers and workers, even across a massive warehouse.

With Zebra’s Workforce Connect, you can do this with a simple and easy-to-use mobile solution that brings together push-to-talk, voice calls, secure texting, and even PBX phone access on a single mobile device.

Instead of having to juggle multiple devices or walk back-and-forth to an office or desk area to access PBX calls and voice mails, workers and managers can communicate in real time through their preferred methods, wherever they happen to be. It’s a great way to get teams working together more seamlessly and efficiently because they can save time and cost by staying connected and collaborating on urgent issues or just everyday work whenever needed.

  1. Automate Your Inbound Receiving and Put-Away

When it comes to order fulfillment, we tend to focus on getting goods out the door as quickly and accurately as possible, and most of the time we look at our picking, packing and shipping processes.

But truly efficient and accurate fulfillment starts in receiving and put-away. Make sure that you’re receiving and put-away are as automated and streamlined as your picking, packing and shipping.

This might mean using mobile computers and your warehouse management system to print labels on demand, start tracking your inventory as soon as it arrives in receiving, and direct workers to the right put-away locations on the most efficient pathways. Or it might mean using RFID to remotely identify and track inbound items even before they reach the dock door and as

How to Extend Your Industrial Printer’s Life and Usability with Zebra’s ZT Series

Zebra industrial barcode and RFID printers are known worldwide for their unrivaled performance and durability, to the point that most businesses rarely replace their Zebra printers until they need new capabilities that legacy hardware can’t provide.

Inevitably, there comes a time when you need to think about replacing your aging and outdated hardware, especially if you have changing printing and business needs. But if you’re in the market for an upgrade, the good news is that you can potentially get even more years out of your next printer by investing in Zebra’s new ZT Series Industrial Printers.

Built on Zebra’s legacy for ultra-rugged durability and outstanding printing performance, the ZT Series offers a way to upgrade your printers while future-proofing yourself against replacements by providing optional, field-installable upgrades so you can add new capabilities when the need arises.

For example, the ZT Series can support both barcode and RFID label and tag printing, with the option to start with RFID capabilities or start off with a barcode-only printer and later add UHF RFID encoding with a field-installable upgrade. You can also add other field-installable options such as a label rewinder, cutter and peeler, so you can easily scale up and adapt your label printing as your business needs change.

In addition to these upgrade capabilities, another big breakthrough with the ZT Series is that it also adds more intelligence to your printer, so you get a combination of industrial brawn and future-forward connectivity, flexible configuration, and more labeling flexibility.

The ZT Series also offers both 4” and 6” print widths and can support 600 dpi printing for labels as small as 3mm. Each label is accurately printed, no matter what the size or resolution, so there’s now greater flexibility to print even the smallest labels for circuit boards, microchips or other miniature components.

There’s also complete flexibility in connectivity, with options including serial, USB, gigabit Ethernet, dual USB hosts and Bluetooth. Two open communication slots also mean you can add other connectivity options such as parallel, 802.11 a/c Wi-Fi, an applicator port, IPV6, and Bluetooth LE.

With Zebra’s Link-OS operating system, it’s also amazingly easy to configure, integrate and manage your printers, even remotely from a centralized and cloud-based browser interface. You can deploy, update and monitor any number of networked Link-OS printers with apps that simplify updates and configuration, plus simple dashboards for system diagnostics, guided instructions, and feedback.

Importantly, ZT Series printers are backwards-compatible with Zebra Xi Series Printers and their existing applications and label formats, plus current printer languages such as Zebra, ZBL and many non-Zebra languages.

Day-to-day operation of these printers is also very simple and intuitive. Simpler side-loading of media includes interior illumination to show you the ribbon and media paths, and the paths change color if an error occurs, so you can quickly locate and resolve issues.

There’s also a color graphic display that’s highly visible from afar, with easy-to-understand icons, menus, and local language support. The display turns red when there’s an error or yellow if the printer is paused, and in the event of a problem, the display also offers QR codes so you can scan them and link via mobile device to help videos to help with troubleshooting.

However, as with all Zebra printers, troubleshooting will likely be a rare occurrence, especially given the unparalleled durability and rugged performance of the ZT series.

Each printer is built with all-metal structural components and has built-in thermal management and the highest quality print mechanisms and internal components, so you can handle the most demanding print jobs in the harshest environments. These printers are proven to operate 24/7 and uninterrupted, at the highest volumes, even in places where dust, dirt, debris, and extreme temperatures typically wreak havoc on other devices.

In all, the ZT Series adds up to a truly future-proof printing solution, with a great combination of brains, brawn and adaptability that can make your next printer upgrade a truly long-term investment that you won’t have to worry about for years to come.

If getting more out of your hardware and extending the life of your devices is a top priority, then we highly recommend Zebra’s new ZT Series Industrial Printers.

To learn more about these devices, including available models, specs, options, and specialized pricing for your business, contact us now to get a quote and request more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zebra’s Healthcare Companion Scanners Are the Ideal Nursing Tool

Scanning barcodes to capture patient, specimen and medication data is one of the best ways to ensure safe and accurate patient care. But using conventional handheld barcode scanners can be a bit cumbersome and inconvenient for nurses and technicians, especially if you have to carry and handle a bulky device or keep one tethered to a cart.

Fortunately, Zebra, a global leader in healthcare data capture and mobile computing, has created a compact and ideal solution in the form of what it calls a companion scanner.

Zebra’s companion barcode scanners are durable and enterprise-grade devices that are designed specifically for healthcare use, and they are small enough to fit in a pocket or to be worn on a lanyard.

One example is Zebra’s CS4070-HC companion scanner, which is a small, lightweight and wireless device that delivers high-performance barcode scanning with push-button simplicity. It’s small enough to be carried at all times, either tucked in a pocket or worn on a lanyard, but it’s made with durable, disinfectant-ready plastics that can withstand multiple 5-foot (1.5-meter) drops to concrete without missing a beat.

The disinfectant-ready design and IP52 sealing help prevent the spread of dangerous germs, allowing safe wipe-downs with a variety of harsh chemicals for regular cleaning.

The scanner itself is powered by Zebra’s advanced scanning engine and algorithms, which allow nurses and lab technicians to instantly capture virtually any 1D or 2D barcode in any condition, even if it’s smudged, dirty, poorly printed, or it’s being shown on an electronic screen.

The CS4070-HC also has day and night “do not disturb” modes where you can choose from a visual green light or red light as well as between haptic vibration or an audible tone for scanning result feedback.

Since the device is designed specifically for healthcare settings, it also includes battery technology that delivers full 12-hour shift scanning, and the battery is field replaceable and can be easily changed on the go. An LED battery indicator lets you know when a battery change is going to be needed, and you can just swap in a freshly charged battery for continuous power.

Zebra has also introduced a new series of healthcare companion scanners with its CS60-HC device. It’s lightweight and ultra-compact scanner that delivers corded, cordless, and hands-free presentation scanning wherever you need it.

Like the CS4070-HC, the CS60-HC pairs easily with other mobile devices with the tap of a button and foolproof Bluetooth and NFC technology. It also has a high-resolution megapixel sensor and Zebra’s exclusive PRZM Intelligent Imaging for incredibly fast and accurate decoding of barcodes on patient wristbands, medical vials, IV bags, specimen trays and more.

You can tuck the CS60-HC in a scrub pocket, wear it on a lanyard, or use it as a hands-free presentation scanner on a mobile cart or an in-room workstation. It delivers total mobile freedom with cordless and tether-free scanning, plus the ability to use a USB converter for corded operation when desired.

The CS60-HC also features an enhanced design for even better safety, with specialized disinfectant-ready plastics, improved IP65 sealing, a monocoque design, and inductive touch buttons to eliminate places where germs can hide. It also enables safe wipe-downs with the widest selection of aggressive healthcare disinfectants.

Also, thanks to a highly visible and green LED aimer for safety, the CS60-HC can be used in clinical areas where laser aimers aren’t advised.

Either one of the Zebra’s companion scanners is a great, convenient and effective tool to help streamline and improve nursing and laboratory workflows. It all depends on the level of scanning or imaging capabilities you need, as well as the safety features and flexibility you might prefer for your use case.

Our healthcare customers who use these devices rave about them and just how compact, reliable and durable they are for their nurses and staff. So, we certainly give Zebra’s companion scanners our highest recommendation.

To learn more about these devices and get full specs, a price quote and more details, contact our team at Tri-State Business Systems now, and we’ll be happy to help.