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Real-time locationing has proven vital for almost every industry’s modernization plan. With 41% of shoppers citing shortages as the top obstacle keeping them from finalizing a purchase, distributors are turning to modernized inventory management solutions leveraging RFID to monitor shortages and predict demand. As major retailers like Walmart and Nordstrom demand RFID tracking for many everyday items, manufacturers and distribution centers cannot waste time on inefficient tracking systems.

 

Is RFID Right for You?

 

Not every business requires RFID tracking to establish dependable visibility. Consequently, before you investigate an RFID solution, experts recommend evaluating several components such as:

  1. Environmental challenges

High ceilings, metal racks and thick walls are just a few environmental challenges hindering RFID transformation. Unique locations such as cold storage or manufacturing facilities require durable technologies to withstand around-the-clock usage and extreme temperatures.

 

With a better grasp of the environmental challenges, technicians can recommend durable devices such as Zebra’s rugged fixed readers and handheld RFID scanners to ensure flawless scans anywhere in the facility.

 

  1. Current wave frequencies

Furthermore, assessing environmental challenges can also reveal potential interference from current technologies. Two-way radios, WiFi, and Bluetooth create interfering wavelengths. If left unchecked, interference can prevent data from reaching your teams on time, creating blind spots within your operations.

 

Depending on your workflow requirements, a different tracking system may be more compatible with your location to accommodate current technologies. Understanding your systems may also help evaluate if a passive or active RFID system is more beneficial.

 

  1. Type of inventory being tagged

Certain types of surfaces may be harder to tag, such as curved or metal objects. These can create more wave distortion, hindering successful reads. Fortunately, technological advancements are now bridging the gap between metal inventory and RFID tags.

 

New RFID on-metal tagging solutions empower manufacturers to track tools, fixtures and other metal parts without hindering read performance. Designed to print thicker tags, the ZT411 can deliver RFID encoded tags fit for metal surfaces through one user-friendly, industrial-grade device while also providing traditional RFID tags and barcodes for vital workflows.

 

  1. Estimated training time

Employees must become familiar with new devices, workflows, software and applications. The faster they learn, the less likely they will commit costly mistakes. Therefore, systems should employ easy-to-use technologies to lower training times.

 

While every new solution presents a learning curve, user-friendly operating systems like Android for Enterprise can help minimize training by consolidating workflows onto a familiar touchscreen interface. Moreover, Android’s open app ecosystem facilitates future app integration. Seamless integration ultimately preserves your solution’s scalability in the long run.

 

  1. Future configurations and updates

Current supply chain challenges are prime examples of how unforeseen changes can radically alter entire industries. That’s why scalability and flexibility should be ensured from the very beginning when possible. When you work alongside an experienced RFID solution provider, your operation can draw from their experience and prior successful implementations to create an adaptable plan that embraces future changes.

Once these factors are covered, businesses should have a better scope of their RFID implementation process.

 

Selecting a Viable Solution Provider

 

Whether you’re using an existing solution provider or evaluating a new one, you should understand that RFID implementations require an experienced, hands-on approach. Industry experts recommend evaluating current or future solution providers to make sure they offer:

  • Complete scalability of your whole system (not just hardware)
  • Software installation and reconfiguration
  • Long-term technical support
  • Rapid label development and delivery

There are numerous processes and workflows to evaluate when considering an RFID system for your operation.  For more information or location analysis, schedule a preliminary evaluation with one of our RFID specialists.

The U.S Food and Drug Department (FDA) estimates that nearly 1 in 6 Americans suffer from a foodborne illness per year, resulting in about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Needless to say, there is no place for compromise within food safety parameters. Studies show that a mere 20% of consumers completely trust manufacturers to ensure proper safety measurements, and 60% avoid businesses responsible for even one illness incident. To combat illnesses and restore buyer confidence, the FDA has now shifted its focus to proactively preventing illnesses from festering within the manufacturing and distribution process as opposed to simply targeting system breakdowns. Per the updated Food Safety Modernization Act, supply chains will be expected to enhance track-and-trace systems to record and store data for up to 2 years by November of 2022. Data should be retrievable within 24 hours to enable quick farm-to-table traceability. To achieve this, businesses are encouraged to strengthen the following pillars of dependable traceability:

  1. Monitor growing/manufacturing process to ensure only verified ingredients are used.

The FDA’s Food Traceability List allows manufacturers to prioritize real-time visibility for at-risk foods within the very first steps of production. Freezer-ready technologies like the MC9300 can help streamline inventory control by combining data capture and processing onto one digital platform. Rugged labels should also be employed to preserve barcode readability, so ingredients can be verified during production.

 

        2. Optimize communication at the receiving dock, so products are not idly waiting in dangerous temperatures.

Just-in-time replenishment has become evermore commonplace in most distribution centers, which means teams must be able to effectively communicate when items arrive to prevent spoilage or inventory loss. Whether it be through automatic alerts via handhelds or group calls through a push-to-talk system, team communication at the loading dock ensures food safety measures are carried out the moment products arrive.

 

        3. Track handling process for at-risk foods such as shellfish, fruit, leafy greens, eggs, cheese, and ready-to-eat salads.

For real-time inventory management, RFID and locationing systems prove to be indispensable. Because RFID tags can hold as many as 40 different codes per tag, RFID systems empower teams to track multiple status points for each product at once to see if they were handled properly.  Automated data recording further simplifies future auditing since data can be retrieved automatically with less risks for error.

 

        4. Notify delivery teams and other members in the supply chain of shipping timeframes and inventory status.

These FDA changes have placed greater responsibility on the entire supply chain, which means proper tracking must extend beyond the four walls. This is where Bluetooth-powered technologies like Zebra’s Electric Temperature Monitoring Sensors prove highly beneficial as businesses can track transportation temperatures in real-time to prevent spoilage.

 

Regardless of how you choose to approach food safety, one thing is certain: Visibility is key.  Whether it be through enhanced group communication or real-time inventory tracking, businesses must quickly adopt to establish proper food safety standards. For more information on how you can optimize your workflows to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, contact our automation specialists here.

The last two years have drastically altered supply chain efficiency. The effects of nationwide lockdowns, global shortages, and international tensions have deepened a shared reliance on automated systems to stay ahead of mounting consumer demands and fulfillment challenges. However, amid recurrent and new obstacles, many businesses have shared positive workplace changes such as:

  • Improved worker conditions – Automated systems and enterprise robotics alleviate the stress placed on human workers while also requiring less muscle effort to meet demands.
  • Implemented easy technology – To truly be considered successful, a modernization solution should value user-friendliness to diminish training expenses.
  • Increased wages and bonuses – Around 45% of workers noted an increase in wages as warehouses and distribution centers sought to retain long-term employees.

Changes such as these can help foster more seamless workflows and satisfied employees. As new technologies are developed and integrated into the fast-moving supply chain, it is imperative to maintain realistic yet optimistic goals in the warehouse to correctly track KPIs overtime. Zebra’s newest 2027 Warehouse Vision Study showcases four of the most common goals today’s warehouse managers:

  1. Improving individual worker productivity – It has been estimated that nearly a quarter of warehouse operations were managed through paper-based systems. This means that workers had to spend a bulk of time updating reports, verifying stock counts, and imputing updates manually at the risk of entering the wrong data.
  2. Streamlining workflows in a standardized fashion – As fulfillment tasks became more complex with same-day shipping, higher return rates, and direct-to-customer transactions, businesses needed a way to ensure workflows were accurately tracked from door to dock. Consequently, 41% of companies began to optimize mobility in 2022 to ensure new and permanent workers stay organized through one trackable workflow managed through their handheld device.
  3. Maximizing asset visibility – From mobile devices to centralized printing stations, your warehouse assets play an intricate role in sustaining productivity across the warehouse. Consequently, maintaining device availability through real-time asset tracking systems has become a goal of nearly 70% of warehouses worldwide. Clear operational visibility further empowers warehouses to prepare for challenging demands since decision-makers have a better picture of the resources available to them at a moment’s notice.
  4. Collecting and leveraging data via intelligent automation – The prevalence of sudden changes has created a need for multiple data capturing systems to ensure nothing is ever missed. Therefore, systems featuring technologies like autonomous robots, fixed industrial scanners, and even RFID portals have proven beneficial to drive automated decision making based on real-time insights. This means warehouses can ensure the correct orders and reaching the correct customers, stock quantities are current, and workers receive the assistance they need when and where they need it.

How to make sure these goals are met

E-commerce transactions continues to be one of the largest forces behind modernization, impacting nine out of 10 warehouses by increasing shipping volume. To meet expectations within a dynamic omnichannel ecosystem, experts recommend…

  • Assessing warehouse space to target challenges in the RFID implementation process such as high ceilings, dense walls, etc.
  • Supporting migration plans to adaptable operating systems like Android to make sure new updates and patches are accommodated into current workflows
  • Consolidating workflows into wearable devices to alleviate weight and pressures from your workers while cutting back on management plans for multiple devices.

Navigating through several modernization challenges becomes simpler with a team at your side. To get a closer look into how supply challenges are continuing to affect modernizing warehouses, reach out to our modernization specialists and approach optimization with a confident yet adaptable strategy.

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.

 

 

Undisruptive Modernization – It’s possible with these three initiatives.

 

Complex implementation has long been cited as one of the leading obstacles warehouses face when modernizing their workflows. Today’s fast-paced operations leave little room for extensive training times, app alterations, and lulls in productivity; however, failure to properly modernize can also slow down efficiency as workers must navigate through higher demands with outdated devices, bottlenecks, and inaccurate data. In other words, complex modernization is almost as detrimental as no modernization.

 

So, if modernization skills must be intelligent enough to compete in today’s high-demand environments, yet simple enough to maximize uptime, the question remains: How can warehouses bridge the gap between simplicity and adaptability? Several supply chain experts and tech players suggest the answer may be:

 

  • Digitize inventory tracking through mobile devices
    It’s estimated that distribution centers have inventory accuracy rates as low as 60% depending, generating more surprise out-of-stocks for retailers as they must wait for distributors to restock. Poor inventory counting also breaks down business relationships within the supply chain as more pressure is placed on manufacturers to restock items, further fueling shortages. On the other hand, digitized stock tracking and counting enables reports to be shared instantaneously, so teams can operate with a clear view of available inventory. Zebra’s RFD90 is a prime example of efficient mobile digitization since the sled can integrate real-time RFID visibility onto any Zebra handheld to enable faster inventory locationing, trackable work-in-progress, and seamless communication between manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
  • Prioritize, OS, software, and app updates
    Devices running on Android’s open ecosystem benefit from simplistic app additions since the operating system does not require applications to be rewritten. That means workers can add their preferred apps onto their Android devices to retain some familiarity and lower training times. Moreover, applications like All-Touch Terminal Emulation facilitate app conversion, so your TE apps display flawlessly on a touchscreen interface right out of the box.
  • Secure connectivity channels for reliable communication
    The goal of a successful modernization strategy should be to unify the workforce current customer demands. Therefore, eliminating dead zones and dropped signals from your environment is crucial for optimization efforts. In addition to strengthening wireless infrastructures, consider leveraging push-to-talk features embedded within your mobile computer to erase the need for additional hardware and maintenance costs. For example, Workforce Connect enables group conferencing, secured text messaging, and emergency alerts, so your teams can stay updated of any sudden changes in demand like delayed shipments or shortages as it happens.

 

Knowing where to start

 

Intelligent modernization can take a variety of shapes. Consequently, experts recommend assessing main workflows in order to prioritize struggling operations. After starting your workflow assessment, it’s easier to procure technologies that address your specific goals while reducing the need for a mass device refresh, thus creating an simplistic yet adaptable modernization plan.

As your inventory moves down the supply chain, product identification remains crucial to avoid bottlenecks and delays. Enterprise labels have proven indispensable as they remove the probabilities of errors stemming from manual data entry. However, as consumer demands continue to rise for faster and accurate order fulfillment, printers must process many more labels within a short time frame. Reports indicate that U.S.warehouses are shipping nearly 36 million packages per day. If improper consumables are used to print labels for all +30 million parcels, even the most rugged printers may fall prey to early damage and failure, resulting in costly downtime. Fortunately, the right label will not only protect barcode legibility but also printer performance by:

  1. Mitigating printhead scratches – When labels are made from subpar materials, the label’s surface may become porous and sandpaper-like. While this surface-type may not harm a printer initially, continuous use will eventually scratch the printhead, creating faded gaps on the barcode. For high-volume operations, this could hold up entire workflows and leave room for scanning errors since the altering printhead may change the barcode’s legibility.
  2. Reducing debris build-up – In addition to scratching printheads, porous labels may also leave back small paper particles each time they pass through the printer. Moreover, tightly-wound labels may also leave residual adhesive, which combined with paper particles will create bigger build-up jams that impede the printing process.
  3. Eliminating roll slack – Lastly, when liner rolls are not at an optimized orientation, such as inward facing label rolls, they may create additional label slack within the printing mechanism, disrupting the barcode upon printing as the mechanism may tug on the roll. For a real-life demonstration of this issue, see our video.

 

Skip on your next printer jam with Zebra Certified Consumables

It’s widely established that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all labeling solution.Environmental differences and varying compliances may require different sorts of labels to maintain efficiency. Regardless of the requirement, Zebra’s wide portfolio of certified consumables offers multiple and customizable labels that…

  • Undergo rigorous testing for consistent quality
  • Meet ISO and additional compliance requirements
  • Employ pre-tested materials that minimize adhesive and debris build-up

 

Empower your operations through high demands with a labeling solution that supports more uptime and less worker stress. Contact Avalon to learn how you can take the first step towards intelligent modernized printing

Zebra’s newest wearable computer has gained much attention for being the world’s smallest wrist-mounted computer. Lightweight and fully ergonomic, the device replicates many functions currently conducted by larger handheld computers, yet it brings unique benefits to specific applications. To best harness its features, businesses seeking to implement the WS50 should consider its top use cases. Developed to simplify data capture and sharing, the WS50 has seen the most proficiency in:

  • Retail markdowns – Shifts in demands can cause rapid price changes over shorter periods of time. Team members equipped with unbreakable data accessibility through wearable devices can quickly scan and verify inventory information without extra bulky devices or paper stock counts.
  • Task management – Operating with smaller workforces under constant labor turnover, warehouse teams require real-time task management that can prioritize in-need operations in real-time based on current workforce size. The WS50’s flexible connectivity features allows teams to update task assignments on the go for less unbroken productivity.
  • Warehouse order fulfillment – Encompassing over 50% of labor efforts, order fulfillment is the foundation of successful distribution. With customers demanding consistent accuracy rates within smaller delivery timeframes, automated picking, sorting, and loading hastens the fulfillment process while increasing throughput without overburdening your workforce. Mobile computing also curbs unnecessary travel since workers no longer need to check in with a centralized desktop to update reports.
  • Accuracy verification – Lastly, whether in the warehouse, in a storefront, or even in non-traditional settings such as food service and hospitality, the WS50’s intelligent scan engine provides higher accuracy rates by verifying product data without paper-based systems.

 

How is this different from a traditional handheld computer?

While the WS50 shares many similarities with leading mobile devices, its small size and wearable capabilities increase responsiveness since workers can be expected to be wearing their devices. Wearable technologies have consistently shown to be easier to adopt since they leverage natural human movement, ultimately empowering teams to…

  1. Cut down device management costs since the device already fulfills the role of a ring scanner
  2. Further connect teams through embedded push-to-talk features on a wearable band
  3. Customize mounting and applications to create a tailored wearable solution that’s easy to grasp by new hires.

 

The road to effective modernization can take many forms. While a hardware upgrade can be essential, sustainable efficiency is developed with tested expertise and solution support. To translate the benefits of the WS50 into your workflows, consider meeting up with one of our automation experts to pinpoint bottlenecks and optimization opportunities in your workflows.

Warehouse robotics has long been pinpointed as a disruptive force to reshape the face of modernized warehousing. Now seen as an indispensable support for the changing workforce, robotics investments have surpassed $22 million worldwide, illustrating the digital transformation in today’s supply chains. While e-commerce and shortages have been responsible for most supply chain shifts, AMR adoption can be traced back to a few common factors such as:

  1. Rise in SKU numbers – As more e-commerce stores open, more products flood supply chains, increasing order throughput rates within smaller workforce pools.
  2. Steady increase in labor expenses – Studies show that labor expenses account for over 60% of total operating costs, surpassing rent, utility, and technology expenses. As labor shortages continue to affect industries, these expenses are only set to continue.
  3. Higher likelihood of worker injuries – Around five in a hundred workers are expected to get injured while on the job per year per warehouse. While that may seem like a small probability, one injury can cost companies up to $38,000 in direct costs alone.
  4. Higher likelihood of mixed pallets – With warehouse spaces also increasing in rental price, facilities are more likely to store mixed pallets and split cases to ensure greater product variety. This may create future complications as workers must travel farther throughout the facility to assemble orders.
How do AMRs fit into new warehouse challenges

As customer expectations continue to shift over time, new challenges are only expected to rise. Consequently, intelligent AMR fleets such as the ones built by Zebra’s Fetch Robotics improve modernization strategies by working alongside other future-forward technologies to…

  • Automatically differentiate similar products with RFID scanning during the pick process. Because tags store multiple codes at once, RFID data capture empowers teams by directing AMRs fleets to the correct location based on captured and shared data via the WMS.
  • Reduce employee travel time around the warehouse with roller-top AMRs that meet picking teams in designated locations. In doing so, teams no longer need to move between aisles since AMRs can just bring the order to them for picking and then move the pallet to the next step of the order fulfillment process.
  • Prevent worker injuries that stem from carrying heavy loads or traveling down the same routes as forklifts and other heavy machinery. Next-generation AMRs are equipped with sensitive motion sensors to spot workers and avoid collisions.
  • Track split cases for streamlined picking via your preferred handheld device. Since AMRs can carry up to 600 pounds per device, multiple orders can be transported at once, increasing order throughput while navigating through different pallets with less errors.

An efficient robotics solution is often accompanied by several supporting technologies to simplify deployment and streamline workflows for less bottlenecks. The first step to modernization is a careful in-depth workflow assessment to outline needed technologies and goals within your solution. To learn more about how to get started, contact Avalon’s modernization experts.

Past studies have showcased the concerning lack of trust consumers have in food & beverage companies regarding product safety. A mere 22% of shoppers have stated that they fully trust companies to accurately verify product integrity. However, as consumer expectations shift throughout time, effective traceability is no longer the only driving force behind RFID adoption.

Dynamic supply chains involving a variety of similar SKU units in a wide geographical range must not only verify product quality, but also ensure ETAs are met, order accuracy, and seamless data transmission, all with a smaller carbon footprint. For example, current research shows that 77% of shoppers now use a mobile device to initiate a purchase. This means distribution centers must be able to aggregate data coming in from multiple terminals and distribute tasks proactively across the workforce. In other words, real-time RFID visibility could assist with:

  • Reducing inaccurate handling and storage risks
  • Verifying in-stock materials as orders come in
  • Tracing manufacturing workflows to prevent recalls
  • Simplifying real-time order tracking for customers
  • Connecting order picking teams with real-time demands
  • Consolidating several data points onto a digitized form for easier auditing

When “high-speed” meets “high-volume”, only the toughest solutions will do.

Distribution centers now require flexible and durable technologies to satisfy multiple demands at once. That’s where next-generation devices like Zebra’s new RFD90 Ultra-Rugged RFID Sled come in handy. Tailored to adapt to leading operating systems and mobile devices, the sled exemplifies RFID’s strides when it comes to evolving inventory management through:

  • Ergonomic design that favors worker comfort and durability
  • Enhancing scanning performance for large workspaces
  • Flexible connectivity options to pair with Android, Windows, and iOS devices
  • Tap-to-pair setup for faster solution deployment
  • Remote device management via pre-installed WiFi 6
  • A variety of charging options to ensure around-the-clock device performance

Learn more about Zebra’s new RFD90 Sled in our fact sheet.

As consumer demands continue to grow, technology can expect to mature alongside them. Reach out to an Avalon expert to learn how you can keep optimizing your warehouse with locationing and visibility technologies designed to thrive in today’s order fulfillment challenges.

Studies show that today’s consumers are far more conscious of a brand’s environmental impact, placing a demand for complete traceability, especially in the food and beverage industry. A mere 20% of consumers truly trust brands to ensure food safety, fueling further skepticism regarding sustainable practices in food distribution. With Earth Day (April 22, 2022), being a few weeks away, companies are encouraged to revisit sustainability plans and ensure proper tracking visibility. As a matter of fact, around 96% of supply chain decision-makers agree that operational visibility provides a clear advantage. Therefore, optimizing sustainable tracking proves to be both beneficial to your brand and your customers. 

How to get started:

While there are several tools available today for sustainable distribution, very few systems prioritize ease-of-use in and out of the four walls. Though indispensable in any automation solution, hardware alone cannot carry to sole weight in securing sustainable traceability. When adding an eco-friendly layer to your visibility solution, consider the following…

1. How are GS1 standards being tracked?

Developed with the sole purpose of facilitating system communication and visibility, GSI standards help ensure products are ready for purchase by aggregating identifiers in a common language. From organic meat to processed candy, products are expected to be identified by markers readable through any system. GS1’s simplicity and compatibility have led nearly 90% of small and growing businesses to adopt its system, also confirming its cost-effectiveness. 

To best leverage GS1 standards, companies are encouraged to verify raw materials, completed products, and shipments display unique GS1 identifiers and any other necessary variable information. Production status should also be easily identifiable, so field teams and retailers know when to expect shipments. These identifiers can be recorded digitally with the help of barcoding or RFID technologies for reduced manual errors. 

2. Can the number of deployed devices be minimized?

More deployed devices per worker maximizes the risks of increased electronic waste. Although several next-generation devices have been optimized to consolidate workflows, food distribution provides additional challenges as devices must be rugged enough to survive drastic temperature changes within one facility. When it comes to field delivery teams, solutions must factor in long distances to verify connectivity is maintained. 

In addition to consolidating workflows through one rugged device, a push-to-talk communication solution may also be beneficial to eliminate two-way radios while connecting field teams and distribution centers without more devices. For example, Zebra’s Workforce Connect app provides instant communication and secured text messaging independent of cellular connectivity, so transportation teams can update ETAs and optimize routes for less wasted fuel.  

3. Are legacy/outdated devices being properly recycled?

Although e-waste composes only 2% of American landfills, it’s responsible for 70% of overall toxic waste. Every effort to minimize toxic waste empowers future generations to live on a cleaner planet. That’s why companies are encouraged to verify decommissioned devices are properly recycled according to local and federal compliance standards. Currently, 25 states are actively targeting electronic waste through mandated recycling initiatives.

As a Zebra Premier Solution’s Partner, Avalon strives to pair proper recycling with enterprise-ready upgrades through the GO-Zebra Trade-In Program. Outdated devices from any manufacturer may be traded in for cash rebates to be used on newer Zebra upgrades. Outdated devices are properly disposed of without compromising the environment or data security through our trusted recyclers. 

If you are unsure on how to answer any of the questions above, it may be time to rethink your tracking system to ensure it meets compliance standards and consumer expectations. Reach out to Avalon’s optimization experts to get step-by-step assistance in assessing your tracking system to best target optimization opportunities.