As we approach Earth Day (April 22), Avalon Integration continues in its dedication to efficiency, not only for today’s enterprises for tomorrow’s generations as well. That’s why we turn to minimize paper waste, which accounts for nearly 25% of the total generation of municipal solid waste, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Paper-based data entry systems, such as the ones still prevalent in many warehouses and distribution centers, alongside the rise of e-commerce, contribute to the dilemma. 

Because American businesses can no longer rely on exporting waste to be recycled internationally, recycling costs have escalated. At the same time, e-commerce has increased the usage of cardboard boxes and packaging. To keep operational costs low while maintaining sustainability efforts, we’re bringing tips and hints to minimize packaging and paper waste while still meeting customer demands.

Unwrapping the Packaging Problem

Unwrapping the Packing Problem with  liner-less labels

Showcasing a liner-less label

It seems as if online shopping has disrupted every aspect of the global market, and recycling is no different. Reports from Fast Company estimate close to 165 billion packages are shipped around the US each year. In 2017 the EPA documented around 32 thousand tons of cardboard end up in landfills. One way to stop unrecyclable goods from reaching the landfill is by eliminating unnecessary paper during the order fulfillment process. Integrate sustainable practices in your operations by:

  • Reducing “air” shipments when possible – To ensure shipped orders reach their destination in one piece, businesses resort to double-boxing and/or adding air pads to protect inventory. Most of the time, plastic air pads can’t be recycled along with boxes, further maximizing environmental impact. Moreover, this can increase shipping costs as businesses essentially “ship air” along with their inventory.
  • Eliminating excessive manual data entry – In addition to increased error risks, manual data entry creates more paper waste over time. By digitizing your inventory management system, your operations benefit from more accuracy, simplicity, and accessibility since data can be transferred through a shared interface. Newer enterprise technology such as Zebra’s latest mobile computers go a step farther by streamlining data capture with connectivity through one rugged and ergonomic device of your choice. As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon helps you integrate digital processing through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program, where you can trade inadequate devices for newer technology and cash rebates.
  • Selecting sustainable labels – Labels are crucial to your operations, but their liners can add up to your enterprise’s waste. To solve this issue, we recommend Zebra’s Liner-Less Label, which delivers quality barcodes without unrecyclable liner paper.
Selecting Sustainable Labels

Selecting Sustainable Labels for your warehouse operations

See what the liner-less label is all about in our video:

Wasted materials ultimately equals wasted money since resources must later be replaced. While larger sustainability practices might seem daunting, little changes to your supply chain are a perfect place to start. For more information about paperless sustainability, reach out to our warehousing specialists, and see how your operations can help the environment, one sheet of paper at a time.  

$30 million dollars – That’s the average amount companies expect to lose in one single recall. As technology continues to advance and consumers become more conscientious of their decisions, safety compliance standards and guidelines continue to evolve across multiple industries, from healthcare to manufacturing to agriculture. In-depth scrutiny measures have contributed to a 10% increase in recalls between 2013 and 2018 in the food industry alone. While increasing recalls don’t necessarily mean products are becoming more unsafe, they do create a higher demand for reliable traceability systems to handle the high recall influx.

  • One out of four children’s products were recalled in 2018.
  • Over 1.3 million cars were recalled in 2019 alone.
  • The USDA reported 97 Class I (based on “reasonable” chance of health issues) food recalls in 2018.
  • As of February 2020, there have been 20 drug recalls issued by the FDA.

To better serve consumers, each product must be traced throughout the supply chain and beyond.

Equipped with both tested expertise and enterprise-grade technology, Avalon Integration optimizes traceability with Zebra’s best tracking technologies. From versatile rugged handhelds to pretested consumables, track and trace your inventory with technology made for complete visibility in and out of the warehouse.

Meet the Dream Team for Efficient traceability

Efficient traceability can be a valuable asset in any industry. From counterfeit prevention to batch numbering, traceability can give you insight into inventory composition and movement through complex workflows. To increase consumer safety and lower costly risks, we recommend automating previously manual data entry systems. By optimizing your data-entry process with Zebra Rugged Tablets and certified consumables, you can integrate accurate visibility that facilitates efficient tracking.

Why Rugged Tablets?

Why Rugged Tablets for Traceability

Streamlining data capture and workforce connectivity through one device

Zebra’s latest line of rugged tablets are built to handle tough environments and adapt to multiple uses. Integrate barcode scanning, unbroken connectivity, and simplified data sharing all through one ergonomic device. Lowering operational costs sustainably, L10 tablets carry high-performing functionality by:

  • Preserving up to 24-hour uptime with hot-swappable batteries
  • Housing Zebra’s versatile Mobility DNA apps which augment productivity
  • Streamlining data capture and workforce connectivity through one device
  • Adapting to your space constraints with 3 form factors (XSLATE, XPAD, XBOOK)
  • Sustaining long-range connectivity so even your remote team members stay connected

Download our e-book to learn more. 

Why Zebra Tags?

Why Zebra Tags for Traceability

Zebra Tags can be tailored for specific applications

Tested for continuous performance beyond the moment of application, Zebra certified labels preserve your inventory’s crucial data, making it easier for your team to scan and share information. Plus, because they can be tailored for specific applications, labels can be matched to fit:

  • Size and color requirements
  • Temperature durability for direct or thermal transfer printing
  • RFID inlay requirements
  • Individual compliance codes 
  • Perforation styles
  • Front and backside printing

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon provides customized tools to optimize your tracking and inventory management systems. Speak with our visibility specialists today for a free assessment of your inventory management solution and integrate crucial visibility back into your operations. 

In our commitment to our clients’ and partners’ safety, Avalon Integration is closely monitoring the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as it’s estimated to disrupt nearly 75% of supply chains nationwide. As the second-largest economic power in the world, aggregating over $14 trillion in GDP, China plays a central role in most order fulfillment and manufacturing processes, and with the viral outbreak, several business impacts may be expected such as:

  • Delayed Travel – Because symptoms can take up to two weeks to manifest, several travel bans have gone into effect, impacting common business destinations. 
  • Halted Production – With less people on the warehouse floor, it is only expected that productivity will slow or stop completely until further notice. 
  • Social Distancing – To further prevent the spread, many organizations -both in and out of the warehouse- are closing on-site activities, further increasing delays. Quarantines also contribute to this as well.

What happens in Mid-March

Cleaning Zebra Devices

Keep your Zebra devices clean

While there is no way to concretely predict what will happen within the coming weeks, reports suggest that at least on the business end of this pandemic, companies should expect a spike in halted production by mid-March as the last round of produced goods should have arrived by late-February. For companies who will continue to operate during these times, we would like to share a few key takeaways from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention and our partner, Zebra Technologies.

  1. If you already have severe or chronic respiratory, consider delaying travels and taking extra precautions to avoid the disease.
  2. If you currently live in a community that has been affected by COVID-19, and your present symptoms, consider contacting your doctor as soon as possible and staying home. 
  3. For on-site team members, be sure to refer to the User Guide of your handheld devices to make sure proper cleaning and disinfection techniques are followed.  
  4. Whether or not you work directly in healthcare, consider revisiting your cleaning and disinfection strategies to reduce the spread of germs.

Alongside the CDC’s valuable COVID-19 mitigation strategies, Zebra Technologies has also shared prevention insight in their whitepaper, Cleaning and Disinfecting Mobile Devices.

To learn more about how you can best integrate healthy cleaning strategies in your operations, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Labeling expenses don’t account for even 10% of operational costs, but nevertheless, they are essential to your supply chain. While seemingly unimportant, your labels can dictate whether or not your products make it past the loading dock since they carry crucial information such as delivery addresses, compliance standards, safety instruction, identification, and more. By choosing poorly made cheap labels, you run the risk of setting up operations for disaster. 

Portrait of Raymond Scipioni

Portrait of Raymond Scipioni

Simply put, operations screech to a halt without labels. If labels peel easily or smudge under heat or abrasion, crucial asset information is lost creating delays, bottlenecks, and out-of-stocks. All of these can lead to heavy fines, missed delivery dates, and loss of revenue. To prevent these issues, we recommend assessing your labeling operations.

How do I know my label is poorly made?

Poorly made labels often show tale-tell signs before application. Because they are not made with quality materials, nor are they tested before application, inferior labels tend to:

  • Leave behind residual fiber pileup, which clogs printers and distorts information.
  • Overwork or distort printheads, leading to premature printhead failure.
  • Leak adhesive from inconsistently manufactured rolls.
  • Fade under extreme temperatures and humidity.

If your labels present any of these signs and more, then it is time to switch to a better alternative.

How do I spot a good label?

Zebra Quality Labels Are Designed for Your Warehouse

Zebra Quality Labels Are Designed for Your Warehouse

Quality labels such as Zebra’s Certified Consumables should be made from quality materials that withstand both application and storage environments. Moreover, proper labels should be certified to meet compliance standards of whichever industry they will serve; otherwise, your inventory runs the risk of being sent back to the warehouse. Lastly, quality labels maximize your printer lifespan, reducing bottlenecks, printer downtime, and frequent IT visits.

Can I just buy the most popular label to resolve printing issues?

There is no one-size-fits-all labeling solution because the application and budget requirements vary greatly from business to business. There are also different compliance standards certain kinds of products (like food for example) need to follow.  Non-compliant labels can prevent or delay your product from reaching the consumer, forcing them to look elsewhere. For example, suppliers can pay fines up to $500 per late order or more from major retailers. Fortunately, Avalon offers Quality Compliany Zebra labels of all types, which gives you the ability to customize label composition, size, color, and many other factors to create a system that fits into your workflow.

Where can I find better labeling alternatives?

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, we work with a wide variety of labeling solutions. Plus, with Zebra labels, you can work with us to create a cost-effective labeling system with both quality consumables, durable printers, and enterprise-grade scanners.

To start your labeling assessment, reach out to Raymond Scipioni and maximize your label’s efficiency with our vast portfolio of quality consumables, designed to meet your application requirements while exceeding your expectations.  

E-commerce and the drive for personalization are adding to the complexity of today’s operations. Modern-day customers expect a unique shopping experience centered on their needs as well as faster delivery anytime and anywhere they desire. As a result, warehouses and distribution centers must adapt to meet demands. According to Zebra’s 2019 Warehousing Vision Study, 79% of organizations plan on expanding size within the next two years. Once devoid of large warehouses, bustling urban areas like New York City have seen an exponential rise in new warehouse leases as companies scramble to get closer to customers to provide better (and faster) service. As extreme as these efforts may sound, they all depend on a crucial factor: visibility.

Managing stock quantities, labor efficiency, and asset usage, visibility solutions such as RFID tracking, Internet of Things, and Blockchain can optimize your workflow. Implementing solutions like these and more for over twenty years, Avalon Integration has seen up close how greater operational intelligence changes businesses by:

  • Connecting disparate teams within your supply chain through accessible data
  • Providing trackable purchase and shipping patterns in and out of peak seasons
  • Delivering manageable collected data to create a more personalized customer experience
  • Reducing bottlenecks and inefficient labor through greater device availability

However, before experiencing any of these reliefs, one must start by identifying the warehouse’s dark spots.

Signs You’re Working the “Dark”

Dark Empty Warehouse Interior

Signs You’re Working in a Dark Warehouse

While every business is intrinsically unique, there are a few common consequences to the lack of transparent visibility which can suggest your workforce is operating in the dark.

  • Stocked inventory seems to be recurrently out of place or difficult to find, causing order fulfillment processes to stall.
  • Order accuracy is difficult to maintain as inventory is wrongly picked. Consequently, more inaccurate orders are returned, clogging up your reverse logistics processes.
  • Workers take too long to accomplish tasks either because of bottlenecks or missing crucial assets.
  • Necessary devices such as printers, scanners, and forklifts, are rarely located close to where they are most needed, increasing worker travel time.

Turn on the Light with Zebra RFID

Turn on the Light with Zebra RFID to help with a Dark Warehouse

Zebra’s next generation of RFID technology.

Out of the many locationing solutions available today, we are excited to recommend Zebra’s next generation of RFID technology as an enterprise-ready and efficient tracking solution. Maximizing visibility with rugged handheld scanners and high-accuracy antennas, Zebra RFID can track moving assets and inventory, empowering you with manageable and intelligent insight into your everyday operations.  

As a proud Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration offers complete RFID solutions, from software implementation to testing, to maintenance. Integrate modernized visibility with:

  • Pretested rugged RFID labels
  • Adaptable RFID industrial printers
  • Highly ergonomic handheld readers
  • High-capacity reader antennas

It’s not too late to see these technologies in action. Contact us for an RFID demonstration at your convenience with our automation specialists to enhance your operations from the inside out.

In less than a week, from March 9th through 12th, Avalon Integration will join over 900 technology experts in navigating through the modernized landscape of efficient supply chain systems at the Modex 2020 Tradeshow. While there are countless different technologies redefining operations, our innovation specialists explore RFID locationing in-depth as it enhances inventory management. Expanding visibility from door to dock, RFID improves order accuracy, a goal no operation can afford to overlook. 

With e-commerce complicating warehouse operations, achieving transparent inventory management has become complex yet necessary in order to remain competitive. Committed to optimizing operations, Avalon Integration investigates the unceasing importance of inventory accuracy and how RFID can help maximize transparency within the digital age.

Oversight that Leads to Insight

RFID Locationing Improves Accuracy

Learn More about RFID locationing when you visit us at Modex.

Out of the many solutions taking the warehousing industry by storm, RFID locationing has risen as a key strategy in improving accuracy. Precise and efficient, RFID can be used to:

  • Mitigate risks – Maximizing visibility, RFID allows you to pinpoint moving assets and purchase patterns, giving you insight into possible influxes, bottlenecks, and lulls within operations. 
  • Enhance customer experience – As one of the newest prime differentiators between online stores, customer service is closely tied to proper inventory management since customers cannot expect to purchase products that are unaccounted for or unavailable. RFID antennas and readers can track incoming inventory, allowing you to better manage in-stock items. 
  • Reduce product shrinkage – Whether due to theft or misplacement, product shrinkage drained over $50 billion in 2018.  Increased product visibility and tracking can minimize lost items while preventing shoplifting.
  • Manage storage space – Just as problematic as out-of-tocks, over-stocks can devalue your products while also occupying valuable storage space. By tracking how fast products are purchased/moved, you can avoid overstocking and better distribute warehousing space.

When considering RFID, Avalon recommends Zebra’s RFID technology for its durability, extended accuracy, and versatility. From long-range readers to rugged handheld scanners to pretested tags, Zebra’s RFID technology is engineered for dependable functionality in any environment.

How to Start?

As with any optimization strategy, RFID requires careful planning before outright deployment. Consider the following steps when beginning your RFID strategy:

  • Establish measurable goals using key performance indicators
  • Identify specific pain points to be addressed by your new solution
  • Certify all solution participants (operators, administrators, store associates, etc.) are on board with change
  • Verify tag and application requirements

See these steps in action in Zebra’s RFID Pilot Guide.

Get a closer look into the best RFID solutions on the market when you join us at booth #3607 at Modex 2020 or start building your solution today with our knowledgeable team of automation experts.