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The first half of 2021 has been marked by an ever-dwindling workforce across multiple industries. From foodservice to warehousing, businesses have struggled to attract and retain skilled employees due to growing issues such as greater job options, requests for higher wages, and limited childcare opportunities. While warehouses are slowly regaining numbers, transportation and logistics firms may still face greater demands with the end-of-year e-commerce boom brought on by the holiday season. With delivery timeframes expected to shrink even more and high turnover rates, T&L businesses find themselves with the challenge of accelerating order processing without overwhelming current employees. To do so, field teams have adopted the following strategies:

  1. Streamline operations through one consolidated workflow – Individual devices incur individual costs such as maintenance, software, and replacement fees. Moreover, new employees must then learn to operate several devices quickly to maintain productivity levels, further increasing training costs. Newer mobile computers such as Zebra’s TC72/77 reduce costs by streamlining computing, data capture, and communication channels into one device. This reduces training times and operational costs as employees only need to grow accustomed to one device.  
  2. Track worker safety to prevent more understaffing issues – Worker safety both in and outside the four walls continues to be a deciding factor when it comes to employment retention. That’s why exposure awareness systems have become increasingly more popular as they allow transparent traceability of possible germ exposure. Moreover, on the field, secured connectivity systems like Zebra Workforce Connect enable hands-free communication with warehouses in real-time, preventing accidents and facilitating precise driver locationing and delivery status through one interface.
  3. Remove paper-based reporting for zero-wait data sharing – Unlike pen-and-paper inventory management, modernized data capture preserves team connections by facilitating instant data sharing through one centralized database. In doing so, warehouses can update delivery teams of order volume, changes in ETA, and routing changes without delay.
  4. Minimize touchpoints between loading and shipping – Contactless transactions have gained popularity across the supply chain due to their speed and safety. RFID technology has led the forefront in minimizing extra touchpoints by capturing multiple barcodes in one scan and tracking in-motion inventory for maximized visibility. 

Optimizing scalable efficiency can take many shapes depending on your operation’s current struggles. Get a clearer picture on how to start safeguarding productivity in your workflows when you schedule an in-depth assessment and stay a step ahead of change with a modernization solution that adjusts to your needs.

Start gearing up your warehouse with 5 inventory management initiatives set to skyrocket in 2022

Technology advancements have facilitated faster order fulfillment and warehousing tasks by consolidating mainstream workflows onto user-friendly platforms. However, with advancements came a deeper interconnectedness amongst the different parts of the supply chain. One change in the production line affects the checkout lane. This has been consistently noted with issues like the global pandemic, escalating import tariffs, and material shortages. To thrive in the dynamic supply chain, warehouses have begun adopting new inventory management initiatives dedicated to expanding communication channels and protecting end-to-end visibility.

It started with automation, but the applications are now limitless

The 2020 pandemic served as a catalyst in accelerating advancements to meet an outburst of new and old demands. Researchers now believe the following trends will become mainstream best practices in modernized warehousing within the coming years:

  1. Multi-warehousing – Last-mile costs paired demands for same-day shipping has led companies to consider relocating closer to urban areas, yet city-based warehouses have higher operational costs and may incur zoning issues. As a result, mass warehouses have split into smaller localized segments that are monitored by a main central location. Efficient multi-warehousing depends on real-time connectivity to ensure visibility across sites. This is where intelligent devices like enterprise tablets help expand visibility while providing a scalable mobility solution for newer sites. By breaking apart warehouses, operations can provide faster shipping at a smaller cost. Multi-warehousing also amplifies flexibility since you can keep operations running even if one site is affected by a sudden change.
  2. The return of Internet of Things (IoT) – Studies suggest COVID-19 was also responsible for a halt in IoT adoption as warehouses scrambled to meet current demands. Now, as businesses are readjusting to new demands such as transparent traceability and worker safety codes, IoT can provide the key connectivity between digital assets. When mobile devices are all connected on a shared platform, warehouses can manage stock levels in real time as well as inbound and outbound operations linked manufacturing plants and retailers.
  3. Push for sustainability – It’s estimated nearly a third of today’s young consumers (ages 18 to 30) prefer brands committed to sustainable, eco-friendly warehousing. RFID tracking technologies have been gained maximum traction to both reduce paper labels and closely monitor inventory movement. Automated data verification helps minimize the unnecessary use of paper systems while preventing stock from getting lost and exacerbating expenses.
  4. Inventory forecasting – Intelligent visibility between supply chain steps is only the start to guaranteeing smoother workflows. That’s why operators are now investing in forecasting systems that synthesize purchase patterns from collected data to create possible response plans in the event of disruptions. Zebra’s MotionWorks takes it step farther by ensuring simplistic ease-of-use so your workforce doesn’t have to rely on an IT team to transform collected data into actionable insight.
  5. Real-time communication across the supply chain – Last, but certainly not least, unbreakable communication systems between manufacturers, field teams, warehouses, retailers, and even end-customers has become a centerpiece of effective modernization. This allows businesses to quickly alert team-members of changes and updates from anywhere in the supply chain, minimizing lost time and expenses. 

As new trends continue to emerge, Avalon remains committed to simplifying modernization through effective innovation. Discover new approaches to refining your competitive edge when you reach out to Avalon to learn more.

Efficient Mobile Computing

Despite the high demand for fast order fulfillment, warehouses nationwide continue to grapple with the increasing labor shortage since pre-pandemic years. As the older workforce ages out, warehouses struggle to retain younger and experienced team members, with 51% of employers citing outdated technology as one of greatest hurdles in keeping operational success. While familiar to a selected few, legacy devices can ultimately lead to:

  • Higher adoption rates for new hires
  • Increased likelihood of user errors
  • Longer processing times
  • Breakdowns in communication
  • Frustrated and/or disengaged employees

To prevent these issues and meet customer demands, Zebra’s latest mobile computers bring a new level of familiarity and ease of use to the supply chain, empowering workers to accomplish more in less time.

Meet a New Level of Efficiency

Built on a foundation of durable enterprise-grade devices and 2020’s demand for flexibility, newer mobile devices like Zebra’s rugged handhelds quickly adapted to eliminate repetitive tasks and workflow complexities by leveraging…

  • Android’s user-friendly interface – Unlike Microsoft’s outdated Windows OS, Android offers a familiar user platform that resembles consumer-grade smartphones, drastically accelerating adoption rates for fast and seamless deployment. Zebra’s EC50/55 takes familiarity a step farther with integrated push-to-talk capabilities straight out of the box for instant telephony functions and decreased TCO.
  • Digitized operational visibility – Inventory and asset identification becomes easier when paper-based systems are out of the picture. Automated data capture and intelligent scanning bypass manual data entry for updates and workflow notifications. This equips the workforce with near real-time visibility on stock counts, available personnel, and pending tasks all through one handheld device such as Zebra’s TC52.
  • Fortified data security – Besides beating consumer-grade devices in rugged durability, Zebra’s handheld computers also maximize security with government-grade encryption, two-factor authentication, and 90-day recurring security patches to keep devices up and running for as long as 10 years. Devices like the MC9300 combine design and computing strength to deliver one long-lasting mobility device that fits even in the most demanding environments.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon facilitates upgrades through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Simply upgrade mobile devices from any manufacturer and get cash back rebates towards your new device.

Modernized mobility can take many shapes. Find yours when you reach out to our modernization experts to see how you can enhance worker performance in your operations today with a new edge of enterprise mobility.

As industries continue to navigate through the “New Normal”, several distinct shopping patterns have risen to prominence such as click-and-collect. Way before the pandemic, click-and-collect had already climbed 47% within the 2017 holiday season. During the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, click-and-collect purchases skyrocketed 443%, and it is estimated to continue rising as customers adapt to a new more convenient way to shop. To remain competitive in today’s retail landscape, more and more stores are turning to click-and-collect services. However, because every enterprise is inherently unique, Avalon Integration recommends the following questions to ask yourself before committing to a new order fulfillment system.

Does your team have access to inventory visibility?

Warehouse worker using a powercart

Inventory visibility is crucial

Now more than ever, customer expectations drive engagement. Reports indicate that nearly 85% of customers consider returning to retailers who allow them to track their orders. Those same expectations carry over to click-and-collect services, which is why inventory visibility is crucial. Superior inventory visibility empowers you, teams, too:

  • Mitigate surprise out-of-stocks by replenishing items before they reach established risk thresholds 
  • Locate inventory more promptly to increase throughout 
  • Prepare for purchase surges by tracking high-demand inventory

Have you secured reliable communication between team members and customers?

Two warehouse workers checking inventory in a warehouse

Reliable Communication between Team Members is key for any warehouse

To further meet customer expectations and diminish worker stress, companies are encouraged to maintain secured communication channels within the supply chain to avoid any surprises. While there are many connectivity options available, superior options are marked they their versatility and flexibility, such as Zebra Technologies various connectivity systems:

  • Zebra Workforce Connect – Easy to deploy, Workforce Connect brings your mobile device to a new level by integrating push-to-talk and PBX capabilities and secured text messages into your devices without interruptive backend changes. Scalable and cost-effective, Workforce Connect allows users to create groups and assign roles within an adaptable architecture, streamlining communication channels into your mainstream operations.
  • WorryFree WiFi – As part of Zebra’s family of Mobility DNA applications, WorryFree WiFi helps secure wall-to-wall connectivity to enhance device performance anywhere in the warehouse, making sure your device is able to receive order changes as they come since it remains connected to WiFi. Accelerating response times, WorryFree WiFi also delivers better voice quality and network diagnostics to maximize uptime.
  • Complete cellular network flexibility – Zebra’s line of ergonomic compact touch-computers can provide safe communication channels that fit your current operations, connecting your warehouse and field teams through their current mobile devices. Choose from either cellular, Bluetooth, or WiFi connectivity all protected by Zebra’s fortified Android interface.

What is your staff size?

Two warehouse workers moving a pallet

Click-and-collect solutions generally require a smaller team to operate

Last but not least, to accommodate a smaller workforce within a more demanding market, click-and-collect solutions generally require a smaller team to operate, diminishing unnecessary labor efforts and 3PL expenses. This also allows other team members to focus on different tasks without impacting throughput. By refocusing in-store tasks, click and collect services can empower you to enhance:

  • Inventory management
  • In-store customer service
  • Delivery services
  • Online couponing

Simply put, click-and-collect opens up a myriad of opportunities if integrated correctly. To see if click and collect are right for your business, contact us today.

Whether in the storefront or on the warehouse floor, mobility and visibility have proven to be essential assets in securing dependable productivity. However, facing increasingly complex supply chains – brought about either from the rise of e-com and/or new BOPIS purchase patterns – companies must learn to maximize both mobility and visibility in order to meet demands without compromise.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration is able to explore multiple ways to leverage both mobility and visibility within today’s operations. From enterprise-ready rugged tablets to on-demand RFID mobile printers, modern warehouses can take a variety of pathways to building a mobility solution that enhances visibility. That’s why we’re exploring three mobility solutions that directly maximize visibility. 

Warehouse Handheld Enterprise Mobility Solutions from Zebra

Mobility Solutions for any warehouse

  • Enterprise Mobile Computing – According to surveys conducted by Zebra Technologies’ specialists, over 70% of warehouses are currently investing or seeking new ways to invest in mobility solutions. Failure to do so may damage your competitiveness. Operating with high-speed connectivity and flexible networking options, Zebra’s line of handheld computers secure viable communication channels inside and outside your warehouse, enhancing:
    • Inventory management
    • Order processing times
    • Efficient reverse logistics
  • Migration to Android – While migration may seem like an overwhelming task, it also opens doors to new opportunities such as secured data protecting and facilitated onboarding. Moreover, Android houses Zebra’s exclusive line of productivity applications, Mobility DNA, that allow you to:
    • Deploy push-to-talk features
    • Scan multiple barcodes simultaneously
    • Remotely manage battery performance and life cycles
    • Convert green-screen apps to touchscreen right out of the box
    • Track missing Zebra devices
  • Real-Time On-Demand Tracking – To meet new demands for faster delivery and fulfillment transparency, real-time locationing systems help track your inventory and/or assets. However, Zebra has taken tracking efficiency a step further with the all-new ZQ511/521 mobile printer, which can print 3 to 4 inches of RFID labels on-demand, virtually eliminating wait times and mislabeling errors since labels are readily available when and where needed, so you get:
    • Rugged mobile printing and RFID power fit for field service
    • Efficient workflows in and out of the warehouse
    • High battery performance that survives your longest shift
    • Adaptable printing speeds and darkness to accommodate temperature conditions

Have more questions about RFID? Ask Roi.

Avalon ROI Robot and Zebra

Needless to say, none of these solutions are mutually exclusive, which is why our modernization specialists work diligently to create custom solutions that adapt to your business.  Contact us to see how modernization can maximize mobility and visibility in your operations.

Buy-online pickup in-store purchases have skyrocketed by 500% in six months. Similarly, cyber-attacks have also been on the rise since 2018. Moreover, new technologies such as 5G networking, have further contributed to the monumental changes revolutionizing the enterprise landscape. Simply put, there are a lot of factors demanding your workforce’s attention…and your printing solution shouldn’t be one of them. However, outdated tools such as bulky legacy industrial printers can add to your workforce’s stress as they leave room for:

  • Slow printing cycles which create bottlenecks
  • Inaccurately printed barcodes that lead to inaccurate scans
  • Increased cyberattack risks stemming from outdated printing OS
  • Unnecessary travel times as workers must walk to far away printing stations

To avoid these risks and more, Avalon Integration introduces you to Zebra Technologies’ newest most rugged mobile printer, the ZQ511/21, as a foundational piece in developing a durable and mobile printing solution.

Download the ZQ511 and ZQ521 Infographic

When the tough get tougher…

ZQ511 RFID ZQ521 RFID Zebra Mobile Printer Product Lineup

ZQ511 RFID and ZQ521 RFID Product Lineup

Coming from a long line of durable lightweight mobile printers, Zebra’s new ZQ511/21 brings several game-changers to eliminate downtime, bottlenecks, and security threats that could burden your operations.

  • Designed for high-performance – Meeting MIL-STD 810G and IEC68-2-32 standards, Zebra’s newest mobile printer is designed to survive multiple drops, tumbles, and extreme temperatures. Moreover, raise IP rating to IP65 when you add an optional exoskeleton for enhanced durability.  
  • Integrated on-demand RFID printing – As the only RFID mobile printer on the market, the ZQ511/21 elevates inventory tracking by delivering and encoding UHF labels on demand. 
  • Intelligent power consumption – Equipped with high-speed WiFi and Low Energy Bluetooth, the ZQ11/21 works as hard as your team any place at any time. Plus, with a high-capacity 3250 mAh PowerPrecision+ battery, count on dependable power even in the longest shifts. Lastly, Sleep Mode further expands battery life by allowing your printer to “sleep” when not in use. 
  • Green-conscious – Reduce waste with a mobile printer that supports linerless printing, virtually eliminating the need to keep disposing of media liner. Moreover, keep your workforce focused and comfortable as they don’t have to haul around more media rolls, diminishing unnecessary travel.
  • Intelligent printing OS and productivity apps – Manage your printers remotely through one secured system. Plus, with Print DNA, expand your printer’s capabilities to integrate faster printing speeds, device visibility, and printing security.

Printing is just beginning. See what makes the Zebra’s line rugged mobile devices ready to tackle the harshest environments with maximum durability.  

download the ZQ511 White Paper

Download the ZQ511 White Paper

Start revolutionizing your printing system when you upgrade your printers through the GO Zebra Trade-In Program. Trade-in printers from any manufacturer for up to $650 in cash back rebates per device and experience the power of dependable mobile printing. 

Contact us today for a free demonstration of Zebra’s ZQ511/21 to see how seamless printing can benefit your operations.

An efficient tracking system can be the only thing standing between you and complete operational chaos. For example, an enhanced asset management system can yield unparalleled benefits such as:

  • Seamless productivity as workers know where and when to find assets
  • Maximized profits backed by accurate stock quantities
  • Increased customer loyalty

From dock to doorway, inventory must be accounted for in order to mitigate overstocks and/or product shrinkage. Furthermore, while durable hardware and labels are vital in establishing a reliable tracking system, complete visibility also depends on intelligent software. 

TC77 Utilizing Zebras Mobility DNA Reliable Tracking System

TC77 Utilizing Zebras Mobility DNA Reliable Tracking System

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration sets a higher standard of inefficient inventory management with data capture and computing software – all designed to strengthen your ergonomic device. When it comes to enhanced inventory management, Avalon equips the workforce with Mobility DNA, Zebra’s line of intuitive applications dedicated to maximizing warehouse visibility. 

Intelligent Visibility Leads to Intelligent Actions with Mobility DNA

TC51 Uses Mobility DNA to Simplify Common Tracking Tasks

TC51 Uses Mobility DNA to Simplify Common Tracking Tasks

Maximizing accuracy through Zebra’s next generation of Android devices, Mobility DNA applications simplify common tracking tasks such as:

  • Scanning – Experience the next edge of automation with SimulScan by capturing up to 20 barcodes with one trigger pull, eliminating extraneous hours of individual scanning.
  • Data entry – Reduce the errors associated with manual data entry through DataWedge. Simply capture data via scanner, camera, NFC, or peripherals to share it to your open applications.  
  • Workforce communication – Clean communication channels enhance visibility as your workforce can better operate as a team. Applications such as Workforce Connect transform your Zebra devices into efficient push-to-talk communicators with minimal backend configurations.

Plus, with WorryFree WiFi delivering enhanced connectivity, your applications stay running anywhere within the four walls, providing easy access to your inventory’s information at all times.

From RFID tags to rugged handhelds, Avalon Integration is committed to equipping you with the best solutions available. If you are not sure how to start enhancing your tracking system, get a free assessment of your current workflows for a customized visibility solution centered on your business’ unique needs.

Today’s supply chains are fast, but in a world where you can have designer shoes delivered by a flying drone in less than 30 minutes, the question remains: How much faster can the modern workflow get? Between new delivery services, changing social platforms, and revolutionary technology, the on-demand market becomes increasingly more demanding as customers expect faster service.

Serving a wide range of clients across the U.S., Avalon Integration is well aware of the increasing demands made on today’s warehouses. Integrating solutions in businesses both big and small, we can share tips and hints on how warehouses across the globe are turning fast into faster.

Peel and Present Labels Faster

Every Change Counts

Since there are several shapes and sizes to today’s warehouses, it’s only natural that several optimizing strategies have gained popularity worldwide. A few common strategies include:

  • Moving closer to customers – While costly and generally reserved for larger enterprises, moving warehouses and distribution centers closer to customers drastically reduce shipping times, giving companies a higher competitive edge. Furthermore, changes within the U.S. economy (import tariffs, lower tax rates, etc.) have also driven companies to consider new warehouse locations, possibly contributing to the 3372 new private warehouses built within the last decade alone.
  • Investing in automation – Reducing inaccurate order processing from picking to shipping, automated workflows can save companies millions of dollars from return fees, lost assets, and human error. Automation leader, Zebra Technologies reports that 61% of warehouses are already equipping workforces with automated processes designed to maximize accuracy and productivity without overworking employees. Moreover, less worker stress leads to lower turnover rates, saving operations from costly downtime and employee burnout.
  • Expanding inventory visibility – Integrating small changes, such as environment-resistant labels or large-scale RFID solutions, allows workers to quickly locate assets. This ultimately decreases wait times while capturing actionable data. From long-range readers to the latest RFID on-metal solutions, Avalon partners with Zebra to provide an end-to-end visibility solution that elevates productivity.Peel Labels Faster and Present Them
  • Maximizing worker mobility – Faster supply chains mean your workers are moving faster throughout the warehouse. Consequently, crucial warehouse technology much is ergonomic and versatile enough to preserve mobility. Devices such as Zebra’s MC9300 or TC77 are perfect examples of how multiple functions can be combined into one ergonomic device, helping workers complete different tasks without hauling several devices with them.
  • Simplifying “easy” operations – Lastly, in a supply chain, every little task counts; therefore, efficiency should never be spared. In other words, just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be better. For example, small tasks such as label application can be optimized to cut time spent labeling. Want a closer look? Check out the video below:

Innovation always continues to move forward. While we may not be able to build a brand-new warehouse, Avalon Integration can build optimization strategies centered on your workflow challenges. Stay ahead of the on-demand market when you start your optimization solution with the leaders in efficient innovation.

In Direct Store Delivery (DSD) your drivers are the face of your brand. Any misstep dings that carefully built a brand. And to deliver excellent customer service your brand ambassadors need to have the right mobile support.

Great Customer Service Begins with Great Information

Handheld Scanner Scanning a boxes barcode

Meeting customer needs in the challenging world of Direct to Store requires the agility that only comes with a complete set of mobile tools. Tools that travel wherever your delivery brand ambassador does and do whatever they need them to do. So your drivers can:

  • Fit deliveries into specific time-critical windows
  • Establish rapport with customers through accurate, timely information
  • Make adjustments and updates at the moment to provide superior customer service
  • Communicate with customers and HQ in real-time and make customer pleasing  adjustments on the fly
  • Meet the productivity and reporting needs of the organization to improve the overall process for the customer

That’s why Avalon creates front-to-back solutions that combine the right hardware and software to help your people drive success and deliver great customer service while they’re on the go. Tools that give you a real edge. Tools that help you create a competitive advantage.

Zebra gives your people access to technical specifications, inventory information, and direct customer communication on the go, to improve customer satisfaction. 

Rugged Smartphones
TC25 Printing a Label for Direct Store Delivery

Zebra TC25

Reliable, remote access to real-time data. Personal devices don’t have the durability or functionality for a day in day out business use. Rugged Smartphones offer smarter, faster tools so your brand ambassadors are always on the road to meeting customer needs.

Handheld Computers

Tablet Scanner scanning products

TC51/TC56 TOUCH COMPUTER SERIES

They may look like popular smartphones but they’re powerful handheld computers that make your workers faster, smarter and help them to satisfy more customers more completely.

Mobile Printers

Worker using Zebra Handheld Mobile Computer and a Printer

IMZ Series

Rugged wireless mobile printers tailored to what you do and how you work. Rugged machines that feature a range of the latest connectivity options and robust functionality that helps your Direct Store Delivery workers print receipts, invoice, and labels where and when your customers need them.

Software That Works as Hard as Your People with Direct Store Delivery

Added value to customers often arrives at the same time as your driver. If your driver has better access to account and product information, insights that reflect a better understanding of their business you’re in a better position to win. That’s why Avalon offers the most complete mobile productivity solution on the market.

MobiWork® is built from the ground up to be a comprehensive and seamless resource that fits the needs of Direct Store Delivery operations perfectly. It includes GPS tracking, inventory management, billing and invoicing, work order management, electronic forms, scheduling and dispatch, contact management, and more. It offers cloud-based deployment options and native mobile compatibility with Android devices.

Your delivery ambassadors complete all activity reports on their handheld devices: delivery tickets, orders, payments, and signatures received and archived. Operational efficiency drives real productivity. Real-time customer response builds loyalty.

Manage Customer Activity with Direct Store Delivery

Mobile workers can manage customer activity from anywhere, in real time: schedule, location, routing, work orders, invoicing, entry forms, online payment. Capture signatures, audio, and images.

Critical Business Information for the Entire Team

  • Complete visibility into worker location and activities  
  • Manage work orders in real-time
  • Instant alerts for schedule, route or delivery changes
  • Perform on-site transactions
  • Customers can check status or create new work orders on a branded portal
  • TRUSTe Privacy Certification Seal®

Your edge in Direct Store Delivery

Avalon’s experts are ready to help you optimize your Direct Store Delivery operation. We analyze your business and data management needs and tailor a system to fit the specific needs of your company.

Ask us how to keep you moving forward with expert implementation.

Robbie Cox, Jay Steinmetz, Doug Houser, Mike Kula and Bob Kroskie in front of a resturantWe enjoyed our time in Memphis last week at the ScanSource Mobility Conference! We enjoyed meeting with everyone at ScanSource.
 
Pictured: Robbie Cox, ScanSource
Jay Steinmetz, Barcoding Inc.
Doug Houser, Avalon Integration
Bob Kroskie, ScanSource
Ask us how Avalon can help you get and keep your competitive advantage.