Warehouses are busy environments and seem only to be getting busier. With the growth of eCommerce and shrinking lead times, there’s more pressure than ever to move products quickly, maintain transparency in the supply chain, and elevate the customer experience.
Traditional methods for warehouse operations may no longer be sufficient to meet the growing demands of this industry and remain competitive. Fortunately, technology has stepped up to meet these needs. One example is mobile powered carts, which give warehouses a long list of advantages.
Here are seven reasons your warehouse may want to consider mobile powered carts:
1. Faster Data Capturing and Inventory Handling
One of the most wasteful elements of warehouse operations is the amount of “employee travel” required during the course of a day. Specifically, we’re referring to the footsteps taken by a worker back and forth from the office or printer station to pick up packing lists, shipping labels, pick lists, etc. Just because it’s always been done this way doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.
Mobile carts cut precious minutes off of that travel time that can add up to hours and days over time. By scanning and printing from various points in the warehouse, employees can get their work done faster. As one series of tasks (picking, storing, packaging, inventory management, etc.) are completed in a particular area, the cart can be moved to the next section to continue the work.
2. Improved Efficiency and Accuracy
Mobile carts allow warehouses to improve efficiency and accuracy in several ways. In addition to scanners, printers, and computers, a mobile cart also gives workers access to important business systems. No matter where they are in the warehouse, an employee can have instant access to the warehouse management system (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, or any other network application.
Manual processes, particularly those requiring all of that back and forth travel, can be plagued with inaccuracies due to human error. When using mobile carts, combined with other solutions like RFID tags, the inventory and picking workflow process will become much more streamlined with improved accuracy rates.
3. Better Returns Processing
Returns are a necessary part of just about any warehouse or distribution operation. How you handle them can make a difference in your customer satisfaction ratings and overall results. But returned products can come back to your location for different reasons - wrong item, damaged item, defective item, recycled item, etc. Being able to quickly and efficiently process different types of returns is a critical component of your business.
With a mobile cart, you can set up a separate area to process incoming returns. The worker who handles this function will have all of the data they need at their disposal - sales and order history, inventory, accounting, and more. In real-time, a worker can inspect returned items, decide what to do with them (return to inventory, send for repairs, discard, etc.), and issue a refund to the customer whenever appropriate.
4. Safer Warehouse Operations
There are valid arguments that traditional warehouse processes are less than safe. When employees have to travel back and forth repeatedly to get paperwork, they quickly get fatigued. This can contribute to workplace accidents and injuries. Likewise, having industrial extension cords strung around the warehouse isn’t a safe solution, either. It makes the area look messy and creates a serious safety hazard.
A mobile cart solves these issues because it reduces the travel time for workers. It also uses a rechargeable power pack, eliminating the need for a wired connection. The components, such as the keyboard and monitor, are built into the cart, eliminating the need for additional wires. With a full charge, the system is designed to last a full work shift, and you can have spare batteries on hand to extend functionality.
5. More Satisfied Employees
When employees are stuck working in an inefficient and unsafe environment, it can be frustrating. Your warehouse staff want to feel as if you value their efforts and the contributions they make to the operation. When they’re forced to walk back and forth unnecessarily or are exposed to hazards, workplace morale is likely to be low.
Mobile carts enable workers to get more done with less and use much safer processes. By providing your employees with these tools, you are making their jobs more enjoyable and comfortable as well as increasing the efficiency of your operation.
6. Simple Integration and Scaling
Adopting any new system can be intimidating when it comes to thinking about everything you’ll need to do to launch the technology and get the most benefits from it. Fortunately, mobile carts can be seamlessly integrated with your existing operations. Whether you use conveyers, robots, or other machinery for picking or use RFID tags or barcodes, you’ll find instant compatibility.
Because the carts are mobile and easy to use, they are also scalable. As your business needs grow, you can quickly expand your “fleet” of carts to accommodate your needs.
7. Lower Costs and Higher Profits
As a business, your bottom line results are critical. And using mobile carts in your warehouse can have a significant impact on those results. While employees are your greatest resource, that doesn’t mean you want to pay for man-hours you don’t need. This technology solution can allow you to get more done with fewer workers, reducing your labor costs.
Mobile carts are also space savers, meaning you use the space you save by getting rid of the stationary offices to store more stuff. Instead of having to move to a new facility to expand your operations, you can scale where you’re at.
Finally, the efficiencies you achieve with mobile carts can improve your financial results. Faster order processing and fewer errors will have a marked impact on customer satisfaction rates. When you attract and retain more customers, you’ll achieve better overall results.
In today’s warehouses and distributions centers, the pressure is on to perform efficiently and quickly to remain competitive. There’s a continuous drive to accelerate performance by finding better ways to accomplish more with less while keeping workers and customers happy. One of the ways your business can achieve this feat is by leveraging the benefit of powered carts to transform your warehouse operations.