Fad or Function – 5 steps to Designing a Wearable Solution

Feb 28, 2023

Wearable technologies have gained much attention in both the consumer and enterprise space. Praised for their ease of use, wearable devices often depend on natural muscle movement and wireless connectivity, giving users the maximum range of motion in a way that is comfortable for them. Unsurprisingly, 70% of warehouses plan to deploy wearable solutions in an attempt to accelerate productivity without risking errors. As wearable computers continue to gain traction in the enterprise front, it is crucial to outline their unique benefits for distributors considering an upgrade. Unlike traditional data capture devices, wearable scanners enable:

  • Hand-free scanning for quicker workflows – By freeing up a picker’s two hands, wearable computers accelerate order fulfillment while also reducing the number of touchpoints within the process. Studies have pinpointed a 15% increase in productivity rates when workers leverage wearable devices, empowering them to meet shipping deadlines in less time.
  • Greater situational awareness for increased worker safety – Not only are workers free to use two hands, but wearable technologies also free them from having to stare at a screen while walking. Visual engagement decreases risks of inaccurate picks while also preventing collisions and worker injuries.
  • Seamless integration with other future-forward solutions – Hands-free scanning successfully drives down training, allowing your teams to focus on learning other systems dedicated to workflow optimization. For example, wearable scanners are often paired with voice-picking systems and headsets to reduce errors by as much as 67%. Moreover, devices can also connect to your WMS and ERP system to update inventory counts and tasks in real-time, giving you the same benefits you could expect from a traditional barcode scanning systems.


Designing a Wearable Solution

Before deploying next-generation devices, experts recommend assessing your space’s connectivity infrastructure. Wireless devices will most likely depend on connectivity to function; therefore, interference and blind spots must be identified and resolved before deployment. Once that’s out of the way, most wearable solutions include the following steps:

  1. Matching devices to your team’s proficiency level – Tech leaders have now developed a full array of wearable technologies, some including keyboards, integrated scanners, and push-to-talk features. With your team’s goals and expectations in mind, a qualified solution provider should be able to match workers to a wearable solution that leverages their current workflows for seamless implementation.
  2. Integrating proper software and applications – Android’s open app ecosystem allows developers to add preferred software and applications, creating a custom user experience without extensive coding in the backend.
  3. Setting dependable data and privacy systems – Wearable devices and handheld computers can easily track personnel location across the facility. Moreover, mounts can be removed and modified to suit individual workers, allowing them to share the same device between shifts. Therefore, clear privacy policies and data security measures must be in place to prevent accidental breaches or leaks.
  4. Piloting and careful adjustments – Once devices are staged and ready for use, solution providers should be able to help your teams comfortably navigate devices and complete crucial tasks. Once again, wearable technologies’ ease-of-use reduced training times, empowering teams to be quickly productive.
  5. Scalability planning to integrate OS updates and further changes – A successful modernization plan should keep future scalability in mind to preserve longevity. For example, operating systems should be continuously supported to keep protecting device performance after deployment.

As consumer demands continue to reshape supply chains, wearable computers offer an efficient way to maximize labor without strain. Take the first step towards wearable adoption when you schedule a preliminary site assessment with Heartland.