Is your warehouse involved in the ongoing fight between clipboards and mobile devices? There are battle lines drawn between those who refuse to give up their coveted clipboards and those who want to scrap the paper and use mobile devices instead. It is important to understand why this battle is going on and which side should win.
Why Some Warehouses are Resistant to Modernization
The primary reason many warehouses have remained in the paper age is because they are resistant to change. This is the main argument on the clipboard side of the battle. The operation has run for years, maybe even decades, using paper and clipboards. Why go to the trouble of changing what is known to work?
However, there are other arguments put forth by the clipboard brigade:
- The investment in warehouse management software is not cheap. Yes, the initial investment in a WMS does cost money. However, that investment is repaid in the form of better work force efficiency, lower manpower costs, higher inventory accuracy, effective utilization of warehouse space, and better customer service.
- It would require revamping the entire warehouse operation. Adding a modern warehouse system that integrates with mobile devices is a big change for any warehouse to make. It would involve making changes to how the warehouse is set up and how it operates. However, with careful planning, this revamping can happen with minimal disruption to operations.
- Using a WMS means there is less flexibility. This is actually a bit of a myth. The warehouse management system offers both structure and flexibility. A purely paper system allows too much flexibility and freedom, resulting in a poorly organized warehouse. A WMS offers a structure that keeps the organization solid, but offers all the flexibility a warehouse needs while ensuring full accuracy.
Why Adding an Automated WMS is the Better Option
The modernization brigade takes a different approach. They recommend adding an automated warehouse management system that includes mobile devices for better warehouse management. Their primary argument is that warehouse management software makes it easier to manage regular warehouse processes when compared to managing those processes with a paper/clipboard system.
- The efficiency brought by the WMS reduces equipment wear and tear. With a WMS, workflows become more efficient. Forklifts and other warehouse equipment spend less time dead-heading to the back of the warehouse. This makes it possible to use equipment more efficiently and integrate its use more tightly into overall warehouse operations.
- A WMS helps improve inventory accuracy. One of the benefits of using such a system is the ability to do cycle counts. The system manages and schedules each cycle count. It also tracks the quantity and location of each item in the warehouse, which helps keep the inventory accurate. Having an accurate inventory reduces the need to carry excess inventory.
- An automated WMS makes the most use of existing facilities. Reducing the amount of inventory carried helps reduce the need for additional warehouse space. The WMS also makes it possible to make the most use of every square foot of space.
- The real-time reporting available with a WMS makes it easier to manage all warehouse operations. The WMS keeps track of data at real-time speed, making it possible for warehouse managers to see what is going on and make adjustments as needed.
When it comes to the battle royale between clipboards and modern warehouse management software integrated with mobile devices, there is one clear winner. If your warehouse is still in the paper age, it is time to put your clipboards down and join the other side.