Manufacturers around the world have adopted ERP in one way or another over the past several years, and are getting better results on their bottom lines because of it. However, there's always the possibility to make these programs work a little harder, and that can often come in the form of taking advantage of the latest technology. For this reason, mobile data collection is really starting to catch on among manufacturers.
When companies move to adopt this kind of ERP technology, it comes with a little bit of additional up-front cost in many cases, according to a report from Apparel. Mobile devices that can be tracked around a warehouse or factory floor – like a smartphone or tablet, or even specialized data devices – may cost a few hundred dollars each, but can pay for themselves quite quickly through increased efficiency, depending upon the size of a business. These devices can be used to track all the materials and items coming into and going out of a facility over any given period of time.
Realizing the opportunity
Indeed, a recent poll found that 75 percent of executives from the manufacturing and retail industries believe that getting digital information about the supply chain is at least important to their ongoing success, the report said. Half actually said this kind of effort is "very important." And to that end, 7 in 10 say they have already started the process of adopting inventory management software that gives them a bird's eye view of their ongoing situations. That, in turn, can help them identify trends that appear over time, and avoid a greater number of pitfalls that may have hurt them in the past.
What does it help with?
Mobile warehouse inventory management – which will often include NAV barcoding – helps companies skirt a number of issues that are quite common in the manufacturing field, according to a report from Hackaday. For instance, many manufacturers have likely run into issues where they produce more than they need to, and consequently have products collecting dust on shelves for a while. This is also true of companies that have, in the past, bought more materials than they needed at any given time, and ended up using warehouse space to store it that they otherwise might have put to better use.
Further, these systems can sometimes also track the movement of the employees using them to scan items in or out of a system, and that, too, can provide useful information, the report said. That's because they can track motion around a factory floor, and see if users are undertaking more motion than they otherwise might need to. If every minute of an employee's shift is valuable, finding ways to streamline where they have to physically travel can significantly reduce man-hours over the course of a year.
For more information on improving efficiency with barcode technology, download the free white paper entitled "Keeping the Physical World and the Virtual World in Sync" from Insight Works.