Posts

Automation currently leads most modernization efforts, coming in the form of Android handheld devices, versatile rugged tablets, tap-and-pair mobile printers. In conjunction with these efforts, automated mobile robots (AMRs) have seized public interest. Current labor shortages and spikes in demand for faster and more accurate service have further fueled the need for flexible automation and digitization. Recent studies have shown that more than half of warehouses have cited hiring and retaining long-term workers among one of the biggest obstacles faced today, with 85% currently prioritizing labor optimization. Replacing the need for extraneous labor efforts, AMRs are able to empower workers by automating pallet movement, diminish travel time by 60%, and eliminate repetitive tasks without burdening the human workforce.

 

As decision-makers move towards integrating AMRs into their operations, experts recommend considering the following questions:

     1. How will you measure ROI?

Most specialists estimate AMRs should yield measurable results within 2 years at max, with order fulfillment speed being the first change to be recorded. While there are many ways to calculate ROI, a few indicators to look for include…

  • Increasing fulfillment speed – Since travel time is diminished, there should be less replenishment delays and bottlenecks impacting throughput rates.
  • Improved worker safety – AMRs are made to carry heavier loads and may sport a sensitive motion scanner to prevent collisions. This spares workers from straining themselves or running into machinery.
  • Lowered operating costs – As delivery timeframes are met and stock is quickly moved to the appropriate space, there should be less costs associated with inaccurate orders, mis-shipments, and sudden out-of-stocks.

      2. Do you have sufficient space?

While AMRs may not require a complete warehouse redesign, some solutions may require dedicated space within your operations for…

  • Navigation – Tight spaces and sharp corners can limit the AMRs’ ability to move freely around the warehouse.
  • Battery charging – Appropriate space may be required for charging different fleets when they’re not in use.
  • Maintenance – While enterprise devices are designed to withstand harsh environments, AMRs still need to be updated and serviced.

      3. Are other methods of automation already in place?

In addition to AMRs, support systems such as automated data capture and mobile computing further eliminate errors and speed up processes by enabling workers to accomplish more in less time. Before implementing robotics, set a digitized foundation with:

  • Android’s enterprise OS – Familiar and adaptable, Android enables you to add your preferred applications within its open ecosystem for easy adaptability. Its recurrent OS updates and security patches also further protect your operations from cyberattacks.
  • Real-time stock updates – By streamlining data capture and computing through one handheld terminal like Zebra’s handheld computers, your workers can update counts and communicate with each other digitally.
  • Push-to-talk capabilities – Speaking of communication, team communication goes a long way in keeping the workforce updated of any changes and emergencies across the facility.

      4. What fleet control system will you use?

Selecting hardware is only half the battle when it comes to modernization. To maintain complete efficiency, your fleet management system should be able to connect to your WMS system to receive directions and real-time inventory updates.

      5. Is your solution scalable?

The propensity for change in the supply chain is the only constant warehouses can continue to expect in the years to come. As material shortages challenge efficiency alongside labor shortages, it’s crucial to maintain integration and update simplicity to facilitate solution growth. If AMRs are unable to connect with the rest of your mobile devices, they may not be the most suitable option for your business.

 

Once these questions are answered, businesses can create a more realistic and proactive solution plan to minimize implementation hurdles. This can also help narrow down which kinds of AMRs to integrate. To explore your options or for more assistance on how to evaluate your warehouse, talk to one of our modernization experts and explore a broad portfolio of technologies to create customized and scalable solutions.

 

 

From first responders to field technicians to manufacturers, today’s workflows depend on agile performance from workers and technologies alike. Fast real-time updates prevent communication breakdowns, expand inventory control, and facilitate employee tracking, all culminating into maximized uptime and lowered operational costs. To accomplish this in a myriad of environments, Zebra’s newest 2-in-1 Windows Tablet was developed with flexibility in mind. Joining the versatility of an enterprise Windows platform with dependable security and high durability standards, the rugged tablet is expected to redefine enterprise flexibility as noted in our Product Knowledge video below:

The Delay is Over: Transform your Workflows with one Future-Forward Solution.

As supply chains and crucial operations become ever more connected, next generation technologies must aim at expanding accessibility to diffuse vital data safely and efficiently across the entire workforce. This allows workers to cultivate teamwork in any environment by:

  • Enabling remote workflow monitoring – Windows 10 delivers real-time visibility to connected devices. Moreover, the tablet’s detachable keyboard provides a laptop functionality suitable for administrators, thus standardizing device selection across the whole operation.  
  • Preventing data breaches – Multiple authentication layers, credential validation, and Windows Hello facial recognition allow users to have tiered security levels, preventing accidental sharing or cyberattacks. 
  • Unifying entire teams in and out the four walls – Connectivity is indispensable to ensure smooth workflows. That’s why the ET80/85 leverages several connectivity options such as 5G, Bluetooth, and even WiFi 6 to help teams plan and update routes based on real-time information. Further sustain team communication with Zebra’s Workforce Connect for push-to-talk capabilities and secured text messaging, all deployed through your tablet. 
  • Facilitating on-the-spot quality control – Continuing the legacy of purpose-built technologies, the ET80/85 integrates a handheld scanner along with high resolution cameras for on-the-spot data capture. For manufacturers, this means quality control can happen in multiple locations within workflows to prevent recalls and ascertain traceability. 

In addition to these benefits, expected high durability and ergonomic factors are still in place, safeguarding ease of use and device longevity. Download the ET80/85 fact sheet to see more new benefits. 

How to make it yours:

As a Zebra Premier Solutions’ Partner, Avalon facilitates modernization by removing the obstacles of device procurement, software integration, staging and kitting, and more. To see how and where Zebra’s new tablet benefits your workflows, schedule a preliminary modernization assessment with our specialists and carefully evaluate optimization areas in your facility.

The new year brings with it both the excitement of new possibilities and hidden challenges yet to surface. Navigating through several pandemic-induced challenges, last year’s warehouse technologies showcased agile adaptability to accelerate order picking with less touchpoints and manual data capture. Faster and safer picking mechanisms continued to affirm customer demands for quick and accurate order fulfilment, now in less time and with the option of free/easy returns. However, current supply chain and labor shortages are certain to keep challenging businesses, which is why the following trends are expected to reshape modernized warehouses this year:

  1. Continual push for verifiable sustainable warehousing practices – A large percentage of today’s consumers are growing more eco-conscious due to several environmental changes. To meet both customer demands and protect the environment, sustainable warehousing practices allow businesses to meet accuracy and speed demands with a smaller carbon impact. For example, Zebra’s Certified Consumables can be made of eco-friendly materials for easier decomposition and removal while still containing strong adhesives and surfaces for uncompromised barcode legibility. Other noteworthy mentions include next-generation mobile computers and tablets since they eliminate the need for additional hardware and can last beyond the standard 3-year lifecycle of a mobile device. This reduced eventual e-waste and electricity consumption.  
  2. Securing T&L drivers and ELD compliance – Delivery drivers have reported turnover rates of about 92%, causing serious delays in shipments. As order volumes increase, so does the demand for more capable drivers. Consequently, new technologies must be simple and intelligent enough to minimize stress and maximize safety. Devices like rugged tablets have proven useful in connecting drivers with real-time communication with administrators, most efficient driving routes, and voice messaging all through one large dashboard to keep drivers’ eyes on the road. Next-evolution models are even more advantageous as ELD systems running on 3G are soon to be terminated in 2022, creating a new demand for flexible connectivity options installed on newer devices.  
  3. Growing need for micro-fulfillment centers in urban areas – Same-day shipping demands have grown by 36% within the past year, especially for urban areas. This has posed a problem since large-scale warehouses simply can’t fit within bustling cities. Consequently, micro-fulfillment centers have grown within cities to cut down shipping and labor costs while preventing delays. To keep micro-fulfillment centers running smoothly, workers often depend on versatile handheld devices that can streamline multiple workflows through one digital platform. Zebra’s wearable WT6300 continues to illustrate this by replacing both scanners and 2-way communicators with an adaptable mobile computer that leverages natural muscle movement for faster integration. 
  4. Next-level automation with robotics – Order fulfillment leaders such as Amazon and Walmart have already set the standard for faster shipping rates. They are also among the first warehouses to begin deploying co-bots and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), once again raising the standards for efficient order picking.  Current labor shortages have also increased the demands for AMRs since they increase productivity by 85% when deployed alongside a human team, removing additional stress from your current teams. 
  5. Real-time communication with long-distance manufacturers – Supply chain shortages have resulted in a 250% increase in out-of-stocks nationwide. Breakdowns in communication between distributors and manufacturers further increase out-of-stocks as inventory is vulnerable to shrinkage and/or inaccurate counting while transitioning down the supply chain. Digitized data sharing through mobile devices and applications like Workforce Connect empower teams to notify facilities of quantities shipped and their location, preventing replenishment errors and additional out-of-stocks.

The key to leveraging any of these trends in the coming year is proactive preparation. Before deploying large-scale changes within your warehouse, consider meeting up with a modernization expert to explore optimization opportunities in your crucial workflows and get a closer look into the new technologies reshaping supply chains.

How much time and money are wasted searching for products, parts, tools, shipping containers, and even people? Add it up and then estimate how that time could instead contribute to productivity and profitability. No matter what you’re missing, Avalon Integration has found a solution. Find your assets in the cloud.

Let the Cloud Manage the Workflow
TC25 Cloud Manage Workflow with the help of MobiWorks

We’ve spent years working with warehouse operations, manufacturers, and distribution centers that didn’t realize how much these lost assets were costing them. In some cases, they paid to replace what they couldn’t find. More often, they paid for the labor to hunt them down.

One person realizes something is missing. He or she then asks around, disrupting other people’s workflow. Next thing you know, several workers have joined the hunt. The more valuable the asset, the larger the search group.

But remember, it’s not just time spent on the search. While your crew is on safari, the production line could be waiting, a customer’s shipment or service is delayed, a route is less efficient because it doesn’t have a full load, and so on.

When we discovered MobiWork software, our team realized we had the tools to cut out the waste here. We combined MobiWork for Asset Management with the enterprise-class rugged technology from Zebra. The result is the MWS Asset Management Solution Platform, a cloud-based approach to achieving real-time visibility of your enterprise assets.

This platform isn’t just for finding the misplaced assets. The solution enables total control over the use of them, no matter where you are. Connect to your dashboard from the cloud and here’s what you can do:

  • Proactively identify any tools or equipment that are approaching a maintenance deadline and schedule the service, avoiding downtime from responding too late.
  • Optimize routes to schedule, dispatch, and re-route with more efficiency, saving on fuel and labor costs.
  • Track your rental assets to make sure they’re maximizing usage and not sitting somewhere, draining profits.
  • Generate invoices and process payments in the field, reducing the payment cycle time.
  • Monitor labor to rein in job costs and increase workforce productivity
  • Easily generate work orders that comply with the approved format and terms.
  • Instantly update mobile inventory on vehicles as service techs use and sell parts on their routes.
  • Track shipments from origin to destination.
  • Produce up-to-date reports whenever and wherever you need them.

Pair the Right Software and Mobile Computer on a Cloud-based Platform

TC25 Courier Scanning a barcode with the help of Mobiworks

Pair the software with the right mobile computer for the job. A consumer-grade handheld won’t work in these environments. The average life of one of those tablets or smartphones is about six months. Compare that to three or more years with a purpose-built mobile computer, and you can probably see that the total cost of ownership is lower with the rugged version—as well as more secure.

The Zebra TC25 touch computer is the right choice for Avalon Integrations MWS Asset Management Solution Platform. Although it resembles a consumer smartphone, this handheld computer is much tougher. Drop it onto a concrete floor from six feet and you don’t have to worry about a cracked screen, or worse. You can even dowse it with water, leave it bumping around in a service vehicle, and the TC25 keeps working.

The TC25 also comes pre-loaded with Mobility Extensions (Mx), a fortified Android with government-grade AES-256 data encryption. As a purpose-built mobile computer, it is designed for MDM. Your IT team can remotely locate, configure, install upgrades, and lock down the device—a definite plus for improving productivity. The TC25 features two cameras (one for video calling and a high-res for documentation) and a powerful scanning engine, so it delivers the power of a 1D/2D barcode scanner/reader.

Start Your Free Trial with MobiWork and Avalon Integration Today!

The search is over—both for assets and the right solution. Avalon Integration wants to give you a closer look so you can see first-hand how the MWS Asset Management Solution Platform benefits your operational efficiency. With just one monthly fee (no licensing cost), you also reduce your capital expense. And if you have a mobile computer to trade-in toward the purchase of a Zebra, you’ll get cash back, even if your trade-in is from a different manufacturer.

MobiWork and Avalon Integration Logos

Try it for yourself. Click here for a free trial and contact Avalon Integration to learn more about the ROI of the total asset management solution.

Whether you run one facility or multiples, you have high-value assets, and you probably don’t know where they all are. From misplaced inventory to equipment that has just disappeared, finding or replacing it all is costing you in time and money. Are you still hunting for lost assets because you haven’t found a better way? It’s time for a better tracking solution. Avalon Integration has developed a mobile asset management platform to end the wasteful game of hide-and-seek.

MWS Asset Management with MobiWork
MobiWork Collaboration With Avalon Integration for MWS Asset Management

After guiding so many businesses away from the time-intensive and error-ridden manual approach to asset tracking, we sought out partners with the expertise to help us come up with a better approach—one that would deliver valuable results along with rapid ROI.

The MWS Asset Management Solution Platform combines MobiWork’s software and Zebra’s rugged mobile devices with Avalon Integration’s experience in serving the technology needs of warehouses, manufacturers, and distribution centers for more than 20 years.

MobiWork developed an asset management software program that gives you real-time visibility of your assets—products, parts, and people! This component of the MWS Asset Management Solution Platform streamlines a broad range of tasks:

  • Locate assets
  • Get asset information, including a maintenance schedule
  • Track asset usage
  • Schedule repairs
  • Submit work orders
  • Create invoices and process payment
  • Dispatch and reroute service techs
  • Access maps with turn-by-turn navigation to optimize routes
  • Update mobile inventory with parts usage and sales
  • Track shipments from origin to destination
  • Generate reports

MWS Asset Management Made Easy with the Zebra TC25

We knew that anything less than purpose-built mobile computers would limit the success of the solution. So, we chose the Zebra TC25 touch computer, a rugged handheld computer, for the hardware that makes the data easily accessible. The TC25 looks and feels like a smartphone—familiarity that appeals to workers—but with enterprise-class functionality, including Android that’s fortified for stronger security, greater data capture, more robust connectivity, and better device and app management. Plus, the unmatched ruggedness of Zebra’s design, engineering, and quality means a lower total cost of ownership because you avoid the repair and replacement costs that come with choosing a mobile computer that can’t handle the tough stuff.

You might be hesitating about investing in a new asset management solution. Think about what your delay is costing you. How much are you paying for downtime, errors, and delays? What would more efficient routing do for your delivery schedules—to say nothing of customer satisfaction? Would it be useful to know how much your high-value assets are utilized from day to day? Wouldn’t that help to identify revenue and productivity opportunities?

Start Your Free Trial with MobiWork Today!

Avalon MobiWork Both Logos

Avalon Integration offers MobiWork for one monthly fee. There’s no licensing required! And if you have outdated mobile devices, you can upgrade now to Zebra and get cashback for your trade-in—even if it’s not a Zebra. It doesn’t get more affordable to make a smart move right now.

Start with a free trial to see how our MWS Asset Management Solution works for you.