Posts

E-commerce alone has been responsible for over 4 trillion in revenue within the past years, accounting for a much larger significant part of global retail sales compared to five years ago. Combined with current labor shortages and breakdowns in international logistics systems, warehouses must navigate through a series of challenges to keep up with demands and growth. Studies conducted by leading automation experts have highlighted the following challenges affecting today’s warehouses and distribution centers:

  • Labor shortages and low retention rates
  • Low warehouse capacity compared to higher product demand
  • Rising number of dynamic e-commerce transactions (BOPIS, rentals, direct-to-customer, etc.)
  • Employee safety, particularly at the loading dock, where 25% of worker accidents happen
  • Adaptable cyberthreats targeting digital devices, including peripheral hardware like printers

It’s important to remember that these issues come alongside challenges unique to individual warehouses such as location, cold storage management, peak seasons, and other possible impacts. To minimize downtime and complications, Avalon partners with Zebra Technologies to highlight four solutions developed to secure productive uptime amidst today’s challenges. 

  1. Consolidated data capture and processing – Manual data entry is both time-consuming and complex, making it difficult for new hires to adopt. Moreover, inefficient reporting can create problems later down the road if data isn’t readily available for audits and compliance verification. As warehouse management systems are selected, supporting devices should streamline automated data capture and computing for real-time inventory and workflow visibility. Zebra’s newest WS50 wearable computer exemplifies this by integrating an intelligent scanner within a lightweight touchscreen device that mounts to the worker’s wrist and connects with the WMS. 
  2. Automatic Mobile Robots (AMRs) – To address both labor shortages and employee safety concerns, AMRs come alongside the human workforce to empower faster picking with less travel time since they can move pallets and orders between loading docks. Although many warehouse workers may fear robots will displace their jobs, studies show that at least 73% of decision makers are actually looking to support human labor with robotics in partial automation plans. This means employees would be empowered to work smarter with less physical strain while robotics do the literal heavy lifting. 
  3. Touch-free validation scanningOne in five online shoppers will return an order because the wrong item was shipped. As a result, order validation has become crucial to securing long-lasting customer loyalty. Because workers face shorter delivery timeframes and increased thoughts, touchless order validation through systems like Zebra’s SLS portals have proven beneficial to check order accuracy without pausing productivity. As orders are validated at the loading dock, warehouses can notify customers of accurate orders, thus also satisfying demands for real-time tracking. 
  4. Adaptable RFID data capture – Because of its 99.9% accuracy rate, it’s no surprise that at least 35% of warehouses are choosing to deploy RFID. However, not every RFID system accommodates varying device types. Adaptable devices like the RFD90 can adjust to iOS, Windows, and Android devices to enable RFID scanning with your preferred device, consequently lowering training times since workers don’t need to upgrade entire handheld systems.  

Small steps can take you far.

While these new technologies represent the latest edge in modernized warehousing, effective adaptability can start with smaller implementations such as automating data capture and reporting or migrating to Android. Programs such as the GO Zebra Trade-In provide a cost-effective start to upgraded modernization. By swapping out legacy devices to newer Zebra hardware, operations can integrate:

  • Automated data capture 
  • Secured data protection
  • Greater device durability
  • Faster printing speeds 
  • Mobile printing 
  • Push-to-talk connectivity
  • Adaptable WiFi support 
  • High-volume printing 

Because every business is inherently unique, Avalon recommends starting an operational assessment before selecting possible modernization strategies. By meeting with a technology expert, businesses can prioritize optimization areas to decide between large-scale implementations or smaller changes. By ensuring scalability, warehouses can best prepare to address new future obstacles that are sure to come.

Gone are the days where single-use products are the norm. Standing amongst several customer demands, sustainability has been an initiative driving changes across the supply chain. While there are many reasons behind this, a few notable factors fueling change in warehouses are:

  • Shared belief among decision-makers – Recent studies show that over 90% of chief executives see sustainability as a top priority to ensure future success.
  • Warehouse packaging contributes to a great deal of waste in landfills – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that container and packaging have continued to as much as 82.2 million tons in solid waste, of which 37% was landfilled.  
  • Customers believe brands should take corporate responsibility – Over 75% of today’s consumers are seeking brands that focus on taking better care of the planet in addition to more personalized and meaningful experiences.
  • Material shortages leave little room for unnecessary waste – Supply shortages for raw materials have impacted manufacturers by lowering production rates, making reverse logistics crucial to expand product availability since returned items could be resold to help prevent out-of-stocks. 

3 Ways to Prioritize Sustainable Warehousing 

As technology continues to advance, more sustainable solutions continue to develop. While there are many large-scale changes available, Avalon continues to push small-scale changes alongside bigger implementations for greater savings in a smaller carbon footprint. A few of these changes involve:

  1. Maximizing the use of reusable containers – To reduce the number of disposed packaging and pallets, distribution centers have turned to reusable containers and removable labels such as the 8000D Dissolvable Labels to properly identify products without slowing operations as containers need to be re-identified. 
  2. Streamlining inventory control through a shareable WMS – Studies show that a properly functioning WMS can increase inventory by upwards to 30%, minimizing risks of out-of-stocks and overstocking. Moreover, a digitized WMS removes the need for paper-based reporting, further reducing waste while maximizing data accuracy and accelerating easy data sharing across the supply chain.   
  3. Choosing an upgrade path that integrates recycling – When outlining a modernization strategy, the fate of your legacy and decommissioned devices should be a crucial factor to avoid contributing to more e-waste.  As a Zebra Premier Solution Partner, Avalon works alongside businesses to facilitate eco-friendly modernization with the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. By accepting devices from any manufacturer, Zebra upgrades ensure traded devices are properly recycled and destroyed without adding to landfills.  

Sustainable modernization is not a contradiction. Reach out to our team to explore further steps your warehouse can take in creating an eco-friendly optimization strategy that still embraces the latest edge in innovation.

Mobile devices have become the foundation of effective modernization since they keep crucial data and connectivity right at your fingertips. They also successfully bridge the gap between teams within a supply chain, automating data capture and sharing through a digital interface. Consequently, handheld devices have become popular across multiple industries, from high-demand manufacturing plants to family-owned storefronts. As customer demands for faster and more accurate fulfillment increased, mobile devices have been enhanced to provide flexible connectivity options, consolidate disparate workflows, and last beyond the standard 8-hour shift. 

Despite these enhancements, traditional handheld computers and scanners may still be bulky for workers traveling between different locations. For more on-the-go teams, handheld devices must prioritize automated intelligence alongside ease-of-use and ergonomics. 

That’s where touch computers come in.

Today’s cellphones have shaped the expectations for easy-to-use technologies. In as little as zero clicks –thanks to voice commands– users can access files, navigate the web, and send messages. Similarly, Zebra’s touch-computers combine the intuitiveness of consumer-grade touchscreens with the enterprise functionality of traditional rugged handhelds. The result looks a little like this:

Zebra’s latest TC52AX touch-computer is a prime example of user-friendly handheld mobility; however, it is not the only option available. Because different workloads may require different levels of functionality, experts recommend assessing your options with the following three considerations:

  1. Will scanning capabilities be needed? – While some touch-computers can capture data up to 50ft away, not every workflow requires this. For example, while the TC20/26 may not offer the widest scanning range, it makes up for the difference in long-lasting battery power that surpasses double shifts. 
  2. How far will workers travel? – When it comes to communication outside of the four walls, devices like Zebra’s TC7x offer greater connectivity flexibility, providing secured communication through cellular, 5G, LTE, WiFi, and more. 
  3. Will you be adding additional devices? – From wearable devices like ring scanners and headsets to mobile printers, additional devices will impact worker mobility and comfort. Lightweight devices streamlining multiple workflows benefit workers by minimizing strain and connecting workflows simultaneously. 

To help you answer these questions, Avalon recommends scheduling a workflow assessment to select a device that best adapts to your operation. Once a device is selected, automation experts can also assist in procuring and preparing devices for integration through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program for cost-effective and intelligent modernization.

The mobile computer has become the face of modernized automation in today’s industries. From healthcare clinical devices to field service communicators, mobile devices have progressed technologically to streamline vital workflows for simplistic usage and upgrades. As a result, unique challenges have created a variety of different mobile capabilities, giving businesses more flexibility when selecting a modernized device. On the other hand, more options may equate to more confusion, which is why it’s important to assess your computing needs with the following questions:

  • What sort of workflows am I consolidating?

Android’s open ecosystem allows businesses to implement new applications to expand device functionality without extensive recoding; however, rugged devices like the new MC3300ax are built with integrated scanners, WiFi 6, and push-to-talk connectivity, enabling 2-way communication and automated data capture right out of the box without additional hardware. Learn more about the new MC3300ax in our video.

  • What scanning range do my employees need?

A field technician may not need to consistently capture barcodes 75ft away. Flexible scanning ranges such as the ones available in the MC3300ax allow businesses to reduce deployment costs by selecting devices perfected for the size of their space. In addition to scanning range, connectivity range should also be considered since captured data should essentially be digitally transmitted onto your WMS’ database without any disruptions.  

  • How rough is the work environment?

Micro-fulfillment warehouses located inside of stores or smaller urban areas can get by with less rugged devices compared to cold storage facilities. Zebra’s EC5x provides superior connectivity, data capture, and ease-of-use for store associates and growing warehouses whereas the ultra-rugged MC9300 can be customized with a freezer-ready screen and glove-friendly keyboard to withstand the temperature changes of cold storage environments. Regarding field service, the TC7x stands apart from in its class due to its flexible connectivity networks to protect long-range communication channels and its rugged outdoor-ready design. 

  • Do my workers need a keyboard?

Touchscreen devices have been shown to minimize training times since they resemble consumer-grade devices. However, keyboards facilitate heavy data entry without forcing workers to travel to a centralized computer station. Zebra’s TC8300 combines touchscreen simplicity and warehouse data applications within one touchscreen device to reduce the errors of manual data entry. For previously keyed workflows such as TE applications, Zebra’s All-Touch Terminal Emulation can convert green screen apps to fit touchscreen interfaces without extensive app rewriting. 

  • Which disparate devices are included in my solution? 

If workers will carry other devices such as mobile printers or scanners during their shift, a lightweight wearable computer like the WT6300 may be a better option in order to maximize worker comfort and integrate additional devices without overwhelming workers. 

Look through our complete Zebra portfolio to learn more about next-generation devices. 

How to start your upgrade

To select the best fit device for your mobility solution, we recommend first meeting with a modernization specialist to assess current workflow challenges and outline realistic implementation goals. Depending on your selected upgrade, your devices may be eligible for cash rebates if upgraded through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Eligible devices can be traded in for cash rebates in three steps: 

  1. Purchase your eligible Zebra device
  2. Submit a claim form within 90 days of your invoice date
  3. Trade in outdated devices from any manufacturer for up to $650 in rebates per device

Meet up with an Avalon modernization specialist today to get started.

As warehouses and distribution centers race to welcome the end of the year surge in online orders and shipments, it is important to include maximized data security as part of optimization strategies. Studies show that cyberattacks may increase by as much as 57% during the holiday season since most IT departments may function with smaller workforces at the end of the year. While many attacks target online shoppers, big businesses are not exempt. In 2019, 40% of surveyed retailers admitted to losing revenue as a result of cyberattacks. Although thorough security plans are highly beneficial in preventing costly breaches, individual device security is also essential to mitigating attacks. To prioritize data protection, the following recommendations provide a safe place to start:

  1. Make sure operating systems are updated – An outdated OS such as Windows Mobile incur greater vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Without updates, operating systems cannot provide the necessary patches to close security gaps. This is one of the many reasons why Android for Enterprise has grown in popularity within modern warehousing. Not only does it facilitate onboarding and app integration, but it also offers recurring and silent OS updates to protect data without disrupting workflows.
  2. Certify non-screen devices are also secured – With the rise of IoT comes additional vulnerabilities through points of entry previously unimagined such as a barcode printer. Security applications such as Zebra’s PrintSecure allow workers to prevent connections by unauthorized users while also encrypting printed data from an extra layer of security within operations.
  3. Ensure all employees are familiar with basic security measures – Studies show that human error alone has been responsible for as much as 43% of data breaches. With the modern workforce being composed of mostly 18-30 year-olds, complicated green-screen devices may pose a risk for data security along with delayed productivity. Consequently, modernized and easy-to-use handheld devices can help prevent human errors that result in breaches, thus maximizing data security.

Modernizing Security in Three Steps with Zebra Technologies

To remove the hassles of modernized device security, Avalon continues in its partnership with Zebra Technologies in simplifying upgrades through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Replace outdated devices with Android handhelds and get up to $650 in cash rebates per device by following 3 simple steps:

  1. Purchase your eligible device
  2. Submit your claim form within 90 days of the invoice date
  3. Trade in legacy devices from any manufacturer for cash rebates.

From optimized visibility to dependable data security, create a modernization solution built to thrive in today’s challenging environments both physical and digital. Contact our modernization experts today for a free consultation of your workflows to get started.

When operating in today’s fast-paced supply chains, one hour of inefficiency can result in incalculable losses such as missed sales, shipment delays, data breaches, and maintenance costs. As warehouses continue to automate repetitive tasks such as data entry and order verification, a new issue arises: where do legacy systems fit in modernized warehouse operations? Legacy devices may seem more comfortable at face value due to their familiarity; however, their complex workflows may enable costly downtime.   

In the transportation and logistics industry, where over 40% of businesses still rely on paper-and-pencil manual data entry, legacy systems have been directly linked to as much as 14 hours of downtime per worker, per month, worldwide. Unable to support remote device management or real-time connectivity, incapacitated legacy systems can bring operations to a grinding halt. To undo these issues, modern mobility and visibility systems like the ones built with Zebra’s next-generation technologies can harness competitive benefits such as: 

  • Simplified enterprise-grade interfaces – Legacy systems tend to be preferred solely on their familiarity. Employee training and long adoption rates can be costly. That’s why Android’s enterprise-ready operating systems retain the ease-of-use of a consumer-grade touchscreen interface on a purpose-built device to lower onboarding time. Furthermore, Zebra’s All-Touch Terminal Emulation app can convert TE green screens into a touchscreen interface right out of the box to further minimize training times.  
  • Minimized additional hardware – Newer devices such as Zebra’s MC9300 streamline several crucial workflows within one platform, enabling workers to scan and process data while updating databases and teams in real-time without any manual data entry. Mobile devices with embedded push-to-talk capabilities can further simplify workflows by eliminating the need for extra bulky two-way radios.  
  • Expanded device functionality – Lastly, Android’s open application ecosystem facilitates new application deployment to expand your device’s functionality without too many backend modifications. For example, Zebra’s MobilityDNA apps enable remote battery management, device tracking, simultaneous barcode data capture, and independent troubleshooting for maximized uptime all through one device.   

And, with the GO Zebra Trade-In Program, you can add cash back rebates to the list. 

Further amplify modernization benefits when you upgrade legacy systems through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Between now and December 31st, your upgrades qualify for cash back rebates up to $650 per device when you follow these three steps: 

  1. Purchase your eligible device 
  1. Submit a claim form within 90 days of your invoice date 
  1. Trade in devices from any manufacturer for cash rebates 

In our commitment to innovative efficiency, we strive to eliminate all unnecessary complexities from your modernization strategy. Contact an Avalon automation expert to explore a customized optimization plan that matches your needs and preserves familiarity for minimal disruptions.  

DD8701_Avalon-Blog-7-Image-518

Imagine one day being able to offer same-day delivery across the country, from California to New York. For many transportation and logistics teams, this imagination has become a nightmarish reality. While fast delivery timeframes can bolster customer loyalty, last mile delivery is still considered the most inefficient step of the whole supply chain for over half of T&L companies. Inefficiency often stems from:

  • Lack of status visibility
  • Fluctuating labor and fuel costs
  • Inadequate delivery routing
  • Sudden changes such as vehicle breakdowns, product shortages, etc.

Studies show that 49% of global T&L companies cite outdated technology as a common factor hindering last mile efficiency, resulting in delays, missed sales, and lost customers. As a result. Over 58% of field operations see mobility investment as a top priority, yet when it comes to field services, durability must extend beyond design.

Assessing functional durability in your field-ready devices

Field teams have little time or money for additional repair expenses and slowed processing power, which is why suitable enterprise-grade technologies should incorporate the following strengths.

  1. Secured data storage – Filed teams must be able to access data remotely which means durable cybersecurity is crucial to maintain accessibility without risking breaches. Unlike Windows Mobile, Android for Enterprise equips mobile devices with government-grade protection and recurring security patches to prevent leaks.
  2. Long-range connectivity – High speed connectivity and flexible network options allow teams to remain connected to the rest of the supply chain while on the road. Zebra’s Workforce Connect bypasses the need for additional telecom services, enabling two-way communication and messaging via your enterprise device.
  3. Real-time status insight – Because more customers expect to track orders in near real-time, tracking technologies such as RFID locationing have become popular to pinpoint location of in-transit orders.
  4. Ultra-rugged design – Lastly, mobile devices must continue to be rugged, handling drops, dust, exposure to heat and cold, humidity and scratches without affecting performance. Devices such as Zebra’s Rugged Tablets exemplify superior durability by adapting to various different environments without compromising productivity.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon empowers field teams with purpose-built field-ready technologies through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Upgrade your mobile device from any manufacturer before December 31st and get cash rebates up to $250 per handheld device towards your upgrade. Simply…

  1. Buy your new mobile device
  2. Turn in your reclaim form
  3. Trade in outdated devices for cash rebates

Download the program details for the full list of eligible devices.

Empower your field teams with mobility solutions built to thrive in the last mile and beyond. Contact Avalon today for a free assessment of your mobile devices to get started.

 

 

As long as new technologies continue to be released, modernization will continue to be a redefining trend in the enterprise landscape. However, efficient warehouse modernization doesn’t have to be complex or involve drastic changes to the workflow. Small adjustments in crucial tasks such as product labeling can eliminate inefficient, costly patterns while freeing up the workforce to concentrate on other bigger areas of optimization. Although there are many ways to modernize warehouse labeling, three key components stand out as central to ensuring labeling efficiency:

  1. A printer made for sudden high-volume – Changes in demand can happen unexpectedly. As a result, warehouse printers should be ready at any notice to work longer hours without compromising label legibility or continuous uptime. Furthermore, high-volume seasons may also cause the workforce to grow, which means selected printers should strive to incorporate some form of user-friendliness to their functionality in order to lower adoption rates for new hires.
  2. An intelligent scanner – We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Manual data entry leaves room for error. On the other hand, intelligent scanners can automatically transmit one or more barcodes to your warehouse management system without paper-based reporting, essentially establishing near-real-time accurate inventory visibility. This allows warehouses to sort, pick, and move inventory based on verified stock counts reported on their inventory management system.
  3. An enterprise-ready label – Standing at the center of your optimized labeling solution, the actual tag itself must be developed with both application and storage requirements in mind. Labels that fail to do so can end up fading before time, peeling around the edges, and unsticking when temperatures change. All of these issues eliminate product identification, leading to missed delivery timeframes, order inaccuracy, product spoilage/depreciation, and overlooked compliance codes.

Where to start?

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon simplifies optimized labeling by pairing your workflows with enterprise-ready printers, scanners, and labels, creating a future-forward system that…

  • Survives in rough work environments. Whether it be high heat or cold-storage’s freezing temperatures, Zebra’s industrial printers and ultra-rugged scanners are designed with a tough exterior and intelligent productivity applications to safeguard uptime under pressure. Likewise, Zebra’s Certified Consumables can be customized from over 300 pre-tested materials to develop a tailored label that matches application and storage environments.
  • Lessen deployment time. Efficient modernization shouldn’t be disruptive. With this in mind, Zebra’s next-generation printers leverage a touchscreen interface and easy media loading to simplify deployment. Scanners, both handheld and hands-free, streamline deployment with simplistic tap-and-pair and WiFi-Friendly connectivity to get devices productive from day one.
  • Are easily upgradable without overstepping budget constraints. Zebra’s printers and scanners are available with cash back rebates up to $550 per device when upgraded through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Simply trade in devices from any manufacturer and submit your reclaim form to qualify. As for labels, Zebra’s Printhead Protection Program helps drive down operational costs by offering free printhead replacements when you make Zebra’s Certified Consumables your exclusive label of choice.

Reach out to our labeling experts for a free preliminary assessment of your workflow to target optimization opportunities in your current operations.

 

 

Connectivity, security, and efficiency are the pillars of modernized supply chains, yet as workflows become more dynamic, maintaining all three of these aspects can be complicated. A disconnected warehouse can lead to communication breakdowns and missed deadlines. Lack of data security can result in costly data breaches averaging up to $8.19 million per company. Inefficient workflows directly contribute to high employee turnover, recurrent downtime, and customer dissatisfaction. Although several devices can be used to uphold each individual pillar,  Zebra’s Rugged Tablets meets all goals at once while expanding productivity inside and outside the four walls. 

See how it’s done. 

From Manufacturing to Field Service, Expect More from Your Mobility Solution

Because every business is inherently unique, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all mobility solution. As result, solutions built with Zebra’s Rugged Tablets can easily adapt and grow in a variety of workspaces, ultimately providing six indispensable benefits:

  • Optimized maneuvering in smaller workspaces – Thanks to its versatile mounting options and form factors, Zebra’s tablets can be easily integrated into smaller workspaces without compromising performance. 
  • Android’s enterprise-ready operating system – Combining the ease of a user-friendly interface with the security strength of an enterprise OS, Android delivers faster onboarding times along with an open app ecosystem to run large applications, multiple connectivity options, and crucial programs to streamline inventory and warehouse management through one platform.  
  • Complete workforce connectivity – Equipped with flexible networking, Zebra’s Rugged Tablets connect your teams in and out of the warehouse with real-time alerts, inventory counts, and task lists. Built-in cameras and high-quality voice systems further optimize cellular connectivity for field teams. 
  • Rugged touchscreen for harsh environments – Unlike consumer-grade devices, enterprise-ready tablets sport rugged touchscreens perfected for gloved use and legibility in direct sunlight. Moreover, Zebra’s tablets increase productivity with dependable battery performance lasting over 24 hours with hot-swappable batteries for unbroken uptime. 
  • Digitized data processing and reporting – Eliminate manual data entry errors and hurdles such as accessing crucial data on the go by digitizing reports for easy sharing and storing. As less time is spent recording data, workers have more time to focus on other more important tasks. 
  • Adaptable data entry options – In addition to its modernized touchscreen, Zebra’s L10 X-SLATE and 2 in 1 X–BOOK Tablets can also come with built-in intelligent scanners and rugged keyboards to provide adaptable data entry that matches your needs. 

Dive into the full benefits of the ultimate enterprise tablet when you download our fact sheet.

 Make the Switch with the GO Zebra Trade-In Program 

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon simplifies optimization through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Experience the power of Zebra’s rugged tablets firsthand when you upgrade your mobile devices from any manufacturer. Plus, get cash back rebates in three steps:

  • Purchase your eligible device
  • Submit you reclaim form within 90 days of your invoice date
  • Trade in legacy devices for cash rebates up to $100 per tablet. 

Start optimizing your operations with technologies designed to thrive in the most challenging environments. Reach out to our modernization experts today to see how you can bring the power of Zebra’s tablets into your workforce for dependable connectivity, security, and enterprise-ready efficiency.  

In the digital age, efficient innovation can take many forms, which is why Avalon’s modernization experts are constantly watching and experimenting with the latest trends. As solutions like robotics, machine intelligence, and time-efficient automation continue to reshape the post-pandemic world, we’ve invited our team to share valuable insights as to how you can benefit from these new modernization initiatives. Tune into our podcast to learn more:

With over 70% of warehouses planning to enhance the workforce with automated solutions, there has never been a riper time to start modernizing. To see how you can start integrating future-forward technologies into your workflows, reach out to our team for a comprehensive assessment of your opportunities.