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Increase Warehouse Flexibility, Visibility with Tablet Computers

Using mobile technology in the warehouse isn’t necessarily new, but the widely increasing use of tablet computers is changing the dynamic once again. Tablets are making the warehouse more flexible, with far greater inventory visibility.

rugged tablet pc supply chain warehouseMobile inventory control adds detail and certainty to understanding stock on hand, stock on order, inventory trends and patterns and monitoring supplier performance. Manufacturers all around the world are seeing this innovation as an opportunity to increase efficiencies by directly linking production with marketing and sales.

Robust wireless communication is what makes the system truly mobile, with a central database at the other end to capture and store data.

Tablets are especially useful because:

· Their light weight makes them easy to transport in-hand and/or in-vehicle from forklifts to delivery trucks.

· Screen size easily supports sending maps or pictures to simplify location of inventory.

· They’re powerful enough to drive a versatile variety of commonly-used and enterprise applications including wireless technology for text and data transmissions, even voice.

· They’re highly customizable, so functional features can include such options as printers, payment acceptance, barcode scanning and printing, RFID, GPS and electronic signature capture.

· They’re expandable, something that’s critical in a rapidly-changing marketplace with rapidly-evolving technology.

· They can be fully ruggedized, for dependable performance in sometimes-inhospitable warehouse or similar working conditions.

It’s not just the warehouse.

Supply chain visibility is increasing from corporate offices through regional distribution and on to local stores and consumers. That’s because a single centralized system everyone can use streamlines more than just inventory management and logistics.

Back-office operations such as purchasing, accounting and personnel can instantly capture data from mobile sources, for billing, tracking employee time and activities, monitoring vehicle movements for route planning and overall asset management.

Tablet PCs are helping improve agility and efficiency for:

· Receiving and shipments.

· Tracking movements within the warehouse – by individual item, cartons or pallets.

· Fast and accurate custom packaging.

· Stock picking.

· Returns.

· Delivery confirmation with the retailer or consumer.

· Third-party logistics planning and communication.

· Quality assurance.

As more manufacturers endeavor to gain greater control over how their products are displayed – to better attract and influence sales -- mobile inventory management is becoming an even more valuable tool. Tablets provide real-time information for field representatives and drivers, eliminating the need to rely on unseen third parties.

At the point of sale, tablets show exactly how merchandise should be displayed, for that store in that location. Delivery drivers can check and immediately correct stocking levels, saving time and ensuring consistency on the shelf.

Manufacturers are using tablets and mobile inventory technology along with their own drivers and trucks to complete the logistics loop by delivering products straight from the warehouse to the end consumer, again speeding the process and ensuring company standards are always met.

What can you gain from increased visibility and flexibility?

· Greater control over inventory and stocking accuracy.

· Reduced rush orders and mistakes.

· Better-targeted, consistent product displays.

· Increased productivity throughout your enterprise.

· Cost savings.

· Improved customer service with retail customers or consumers. Your better service enables retailers themselves to also provide better customer service.

More efficient warehouse operations, enhanced sales opportunities, increased customer service, reduced cost . . . how else can you take advantage of mobile inventory management?

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