Supervisors and operations managers are responsible for monitoring and controlling multiple activities, spanning multiple applications to watch and report on business processes as they unfold (e.g., demand planning, production, packaging and order selection). Thus starts the game of chase for information.
Information from multiple applications and sources is collected, enabling performance and productivity data to be delivered to the employees who are doing the work. Mobility solutions offer information that is delivered in ‘real time’ so that supervisors, managers and warehouse associates can take action immediately to impact performance.
The benefits of a mobility solution combined with bar-code scanning are accuracy and labor reduction. Accuracy is improved because a scanner now records the data. Barcode data entry has a typical error rate of 1 in 1.5 million scans compared to key-stroke data entry which has an error rate of about 1 in 300 key strokes. Labor reduction is brought about because of instantaneous data-entry and recording, as opposed to data entry back at the office.
But not everything goes smoothly. Once in a while, when an operational event needing attention occurs, data must be collected, processed and delivered to the right individual before a decision can be made and corrective actions taken. The amount of delay between the event and an action is called the “degree of latency”, seen in the figure below (Used by permission of Richard Hackathorn, Boulder Technology). As a company shortens the amount of time between an event and a decision, the delay is significantly reduced, adding value to the business. Mobility solutions, therefore, are key to shortening the time line.
Before mobility solutions, there was tremendous time required to store and process information about an event before feedback could be given and action taken. In some cases, reliable data collection never occurred. On the other hand, for example, in a mobility solution, an order selector processes a store order and when the order is completed, the shipping documents are printed in the shipping office and the store is invoiced, saving hours of time to prepare invoices. When a mobility solution is deployed, supervisors spend less time in the office, less time on paperwork and more time in engagement with the work-force out on the floor.
Bar-coded, mobile systems help you win the information game.