Feedsee Manufacturing : Paperless Warehouse : Mobile computers and Wi-Fi network in enterprise mobility solution for headwear and handbag company
In 2006, headwear and handbag company Dorfman Pacific deployed Symbol's rugged mobile computers and Wi-Fi network infrastructure at its warehouse. RedLine installed the enterprise mobility system to create a streamlined, paperless warehouse operation that has reduced errors and increased staff productivity and profitability. Paper-based processes at Dorfman Pacific's warehouse were driving costs of approximately a quarter of a million dollars a year in temporary labor. The company evaluated wireless-based warehouse management systems (WMS) and chose the Wi-Fi network infrastructure and mobile computers to run picking, packing and shipping applications. Rugged mobile computers and vehicle/fixed-mount mobile computers were selected for their ability to withstand the everyday use and abuse in the harsh warehouse environment where products are stored and shipped to retail customers.
Since then, manufacturing plants have been transitioning to paperless environments, due to advances in technology, an increasing focus on sustainability, and the need for efficient and streamlined operations. Here's how this shift is happening:
- Digital Documentation: One of the key steps towards going paperless is the transition from physical to digital documents. Manufacturing processes often require a plethora of documents such as manuals, blueprints, and checklists. By digitizing these, manufacturers not only reduce paper waste but also make it easier to access, edit, and share documents.
- Cloud Computing: Cloud-based platforms have revolutionized data storage and access. Information can now be updated in real-time and is accessible from any device connected to the internet. This reduces the need for physical records and allows for more efficient collaboration.
- Real-Time Data Capture and Analytics: By using sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, data from the manufacturing floor can be captured and analyzed in real-time. This eliminates the need for manual data logging and subsequent paper reports. The data can be used to drive decision-making, increase efficiency, and predict issues before they occur.
- Electronic Work Instructions (EWI): EWIs replace paper-based manuals and guides, providing workers with interactive, step-by-step instructions on a digital platform. This improves accuracy, efficiency, and allows for easy updates and revisions.
- Mobile Technology: The use of mobile devices like tablets on the factory floor allows workers to access information, receive notifications, and report issues instantly without having to complete paper forms.
- Quality Management Software (QMS): Digital platforms are used to manage and document quality control processes. They offer real-time visibility into production, reducing the time spent on manual quality checks and paper-based reporting.
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): EDI replaces paper-based purchase orders and invoices with digital versions. It streamlines the procurement and financial processes, reduces errors, and speeds up transactions.
- Digital Training Modules: Employee training, which traditionally relied heavily on paper materials, can be conducted using digital learning modules. This approach is not only more sustainable, but also more flexible and customizable to each learner.
The shift to a paperless environment is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution, but it offers significant benefits such as increased efficiency, reduced waste, cost savings, and improved sustainability.