As a warehouse manager, optimizing warehouse operations is a top priority. This applies to receiving, picking, packing and shipping inventory, as well as maximizing warehouse space, and simplifying tasks for warehouse employees. At a minimum, properly utilizing warehouse space with bin and shelf labelling and location management ensures inventory is easy to find and access when picking orders. It also helps to reduce obsolete inventory and overall inventory carrying costs. It is important when setting up your warehouse floorplan to do so in conjunction with the right business management software and to consider the benefits of implementing wireless barcode scanning. Relying on technology to manage the flow of information helps to reduce human error and increase efficiencies. Wireless barcode scanning works to automate the entire receipt, pick, pack and ship process – helping to reduce fulfilment times, decrease the number of shipping errors and in turn RMAs, and it helps your business move towards a paperless environment. Technology helps to streamline operations so that you don’t have to rely on manual processes for tracking inventory – which is time-consuming and error-prone. Blue Link ERP provides wireless barcode scanning functionality specifically designed for iOS devices, giving customers the choice of which devices to use based on their requirements and budget. Below we explore some of the specific functionality available.
Blue Link’s wireless barcode scanning functionality allows users to receive inventory using a handheld iOS device. As inventory gets brought into the warehouse, users simply scan items against the purchase order with the quantities automatically updating within the device. Once all items have been scanned, the user submits the PO from the device for further processing. When dealing with exceptions – such as trying to scan and receive an item not on the PO, or when scanning too many or too little of an item – a warning message will appear alerting the user. After all items have been scanned, users simply log into Blue Link ERP to sync the received mobile quantities to the PO data in Blue Link in order to update inventory information based on what was actually received. Users can then take the appropriate steps to finish processing the PO and to deal with any exceptions – for example, keeping the PO open if an item was under-scanned but you still expect to receive it from your supplier in a different shipment.
Receiving Inventory with Lot Numbers
For Blue Link customers who manage inventory with lot numbers, the receiving process is slightly different. Items on the PO in Blue Link will not include lot numbers. Instead, as items are received and scanned using Blue Link’s wireless barcode scanning, a lot number is allocated to the inventory items which then updates the lot allocation and inventory information in Blue Link. Alternatively, users have the option to override allocated lot numbers.
Picking an Order
When creating a sales order in Blue Link, users have the option to choose from a variety of user-defined statuses as a means to track the order’s progress, such as when an order is ready for picking. Once an employee changes an order status to indicate that it is ready to pick, employees can choose to print off a physical pick slip or bring up the same information electronically from within the wireless barcode scanning device. To optimize the picking process, the items on the pick list will be ordered according to bin and shelf locations. As the employee begins to pick and scan items from the pick list, the information is updated on the device in real-time. If necessary during the pick process, users can drill down into specific inventory details to get more information such as alternative locations in the warehouse. If a user accidentally picks the wrong product or too much of an item, an error message will appear on the device alerting the employee. Once an order has been picked and submitted, it will automatically remove the pick list as an option from the device to ensure another employee does not try to pick the same order. Back in Blue Link ERP, the order will update to show any discrepancies in what was picked and what was on the original order for further action. From the warehouse shipping screen, employees can then pack and ship the order.
For all inventory items including lot tracked product, employees can easily look up inventory information from the wireless barcode scanning device. This allows users to find information about the location and overflow location and enables employees to update and edit details of a product when moving inventory to a different location in the warehouse. When looking up information on lot tracked items, users can also edit the lot information including splitting the lot. Once you have updated the information from the handheld device, this automatically updates the information in Blue Link ERP.
With wireless barcode scanning, your wholesale distribution business can significantly improve warehouse operations and fulfilment processes. Real-time updates between the wireless barcode scanners and your back-end ERP (in this case, Blue Link ERP) means you always have a single point of truth for accurate information. There is no need to reconcile data across multiple systems and you will always have a true count of inventory. Learn more about how to manage inventory with Blue Link's Inventory Management Techniques eBook.