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The Maintenance Management Blog

June 15, 2015

The Effect of Wireless Communication on the Warehouse

Warehouse Wireless Communication

If you work in a warehouse, you know well the importance of good communication. When you are in the middle of a machine breakdown or issue with your supply chain, the ability to communicate effectively and quickly is your lifeline. The longer it takes to contact a vendor, supplier, or person in the field, the more your company"s profit dwindles. The effect of wireless communication on warehouses can be great, as can the benefits of wireless technology.

There was a time when new technology hit the market roughly every 18 months. You could practically set your clock by it. Today, however, it seems that nearly every day, some technological marvel is unleashed upon the masses. For professionals in the reliability industry, it is important to grasp the possibilities these new tech advances bring to the table and leverage it to our advantage. One such advance that is making major waves in our industry, particularly with regard to warehouse managers, is mobile technology.

Mobile tech has technically been a part of supply-chain management for decades in one form or another. Truck drivers delivering and receiving goods have used CB radio for decades now. In fact, the technology itself was invented back in the 1940s. Today, mobile devices have moved well beyond a simple one-way point of communication (hold down a button, speak, release a button, wait for a response, lather, rinse, repeat). The current crop of mobile technologies does far more, the least of which is increased reliability, production, and overall efficiency in a warehouse environment.

One particular area where mobile communication excels is inventory management. With the advent of RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, inventory managers no longer have to manually count and write down the contents of a shipment. The same can be said for bar-code labels. Simply scan in the barcode and it updates tracking software instantly, saving a huge amount of time and greatly reducing human error. This same technology is important for shipping out goods as well. Mobile bar-code label printers allow shippers to print labels on the fly and tie them into their supply-chain management system or computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of mobile technology in this field is the fact that it allows reliability managers to work from virtually any location and still have the connectivity to make split-second decisions based on up-to-date logistics information. This is key to keeping the supply chain running on all cylinders no matter where you are.

Ultimately, current mobile technologies help reduce cost, increase speed, and elevate reliability in a warehouse and supply-chain-management arena to a level well above what was possible even a few years ago. And this trend is only expected to grow as faster network technology, greater bandwidth, and more powerful storage options continue to hit the market.

Add a CMMS or maintenance management system into the mix and warehouse managers have an incredible set of tools to achieve the ultimate goal for our business: reduce costs and increase profits. And that, my friend, is best for business.


Lisa Richards

About the Author – Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards is an experienced professional in the field of industrial management and is an avid blogger about maintenance management systems and productivity innovation. Richards' undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering opened the door for her initial career path with a Midwest-based agricultural implement manufacturer with global market reach. Over a span of 10 years, Lisa worked her way through various staff leadership positions in the manufacturing process until reaching the operations manager level at a construction and forestry equipment facility. Lisa excelled at increasing productivity while maintaining or lowering operating budgets for her plant sites.

An Illinois native, Lisa recently returned to her suburban Chicago North Shore hometown to raise her family. Lisa has chosen to be active in her community and schools while her two young girls begin their own journey through life. Richards has now joined the MAPCON team as an educational outreach writer in support of their efforts to inform maintenance management specialists about the advantages in marrying advanced maintenance software with cutting-edge facility and industrial management strategies.

Filed under: barcoding — Lisa Richards on June 15, 2015