How To Modernize Your Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Mar 17, 2020

 

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), like all technology, are constantly changing and updating.

WMS RF Menu

When companies are willing to adapt to these changing times, they’re experiencing increased workforce efficiency and more profitable businesses.

If you look at the market today, numerous Terminal Emulation (TE) products have modernized the look and feel of their WMS applications, creating more efficient warehouse environments. With enterprise TE products, companies can choose their level of adjustment to help increase the productivity of their employees and though there is an additional cost associated with these products, the ROI is clear - time saved and overall reduction of employee mistakes.  These newer applications also allow for easier training and getting new workforces operating more efficiently, even faster.

How To Increase Efficiency Through Customization

Warehouse employment is one of the most difficult positions to staff, meaning it’s critical for businesses to learn how to use TE products to increase efficiencies. One way to utilize these products is to adjust the green screen. The look can remain as the “green screen” but update something as small as the F3=Exit to function as a touch key on the screen, reducing the need to hunt through the keypad to find the F3 button. This allows customization, including images or symbols, that create quicker recognition of the device functionality.

The Scientific American recently performed a study that confirmed that a specialized brain area recognizes printed words as pictures rather than by their meaning. This means that employees are likely to recognize an image more rapidly than reading a word.  Using images in the WMS applications make it easier for employees to spot which option they need at a quicker speed. Image functionality can also be used to distinguish what product needs to be picked or shipped.  As an example, if an employee is unsure if a product ID #1234 is the brown boot or the black tennis shoe they can click, “identify”, and an image of the product can be quickly referenced. This increases the speed at which pickers complete tasks, as well as reduces the likelihood of picking and shipping the wrong product. On a ‘per employee’ level these savings may seem insignificant, but when taken into consideration across the entire warehouse staff, these small time savings can equate to drastic time and monetary savings.

Equally as important, these images allow for a more diverse work environment. Across countries, an image of a car is still a car.  Therefore, any non-native English speakers who have a difficult time identifying the word, can instead reference the image and maintain accurate picking.

WMS RF Menu Image Icons

How To Standardize Your Mixed Environment

Enterprise TE products allow companies to standardize a mixed equipment environment. Too often, companies are unable to upgrade all their equipment at once due to the high cost. Other companies use legacy equipment that is no longer available for purchase, forcing them to invest in a new version of the unit. And then there are companies that may switch manufacturers to reduce their cost or to find a better product offering. Regardless of the reason why, utilizing enterprise TE products allow them to apply a streamlined look across manufacturers or models.

A uniform WMS allows employees to toggle between different devices but still understand how to navigate each. Many situations exist where employees dislike using the same device as another person due to the ergonomics. An individual with smaller hands may not feel comfortable carrying a large, bulky unit. This could cause muscle and hand pain, leading to more frequent breaks and a slower scanning rate. On the other hand, employees with larger fingers may work inefficiently when using smaller screens. This could lead to incorrect keys being pressed, either making errors they don’t correct or the consistently re-doing work.  Having an enterprise TE product run the WMS application allows for all employees to have the proper tool for the job. 

Uniform WMS on Devices

Tips For TE Products To Modernize A WMS

When using an enterprise TE product like StayLinked, management can make changes in the background while employees continue working. This allows all employees to remain productive and not cause delays in the workflow of their operations. Once updates are complete, IT is able to test a single device and check for any issues caused from these changes, meaning any bugs found will not require the entire workforce to stop operating. Additionally, when licenses are purchased, all modernization features for that version are enabled at no additional cost to the company.

Benefits Of A Modernized WMS

Enterprise TE products allow the modernization of your WMS to be a smooth and effective process. If you have old and antiquated but still operational equipment or new Android devices, products like StayLinked allow WMS applications to be uniform and easy to use for any employee. Allowing for a more diverse work environment enables companies to hire a variety of people and fill the warehouse positions at a quicker and more efficient rate.  With higher turnover rates in the warehouse, workforce training can be standardized and bring new employees up to speed faster. 

Enterprise TE Products with WMS

Hassle Free Implementation

Enterprise TE products offer support to all their customers, providing them with the guidance they need to get the implementation up and running.  For companies who would prefer to outsource the execution of this modernization, trust an expert like Heartland to take any administrative burden off of IT and operational teams. Heartland is a StayLinked certified integrator who can take on the designing, testing, and deployment of your new end user interface. Submit the form below or contact us at connect@heartland-usa.com to learn more about how we can help you modernize your warehouse management system.

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