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Improve Warehouse Operations with Mobile Printers

Can mobile printers dramatically improve financial performance in warehouses?

It sounds like an impossible claim. But mobile printing solutions enable workers to produce and attach barcode labels at the point of application. This changes warehouse operations by eliminating errors that create a drag on productivity and profitability.

See how you can save

According to Zebra Technologies, labeling mistakes when receiving, putting away, picking, packing, and shipping products prove costly for companies.

As seen Zebra’s 2013 cost-benefit analysis below, if companies can reduce the average time spent getting labels per year using wireless printers, they can save approximately $28,000 per year. 

Savings from Mobile Printing

Every process reaps rewards

Mobile printers are typically worn on the hip, sit on a cart, or are mounted onto vehicles such as fork lifts. This provides on-demand printing benefit that saves time, reduces errors, and improves quality in all warehousing processes.

Receiving

By minimizing the time needed to label incoming goods, you can realize significant productivity gains. For example, your company knows what items it’s expecting from a supplier. Someone in the office probably prints the labels and leaves them for a dockworker, who must make the long trip on foot to pick them up. Or, the dockworker has to request labels and wait for them to be printed. Or even worse, the dockworker may be handed the wrong set of labels.

These challenges can disappear when equipping the loading dock with a mobile printer. Outdoor and shipping/receiving employees can print off labels and ensure their accuracy – without wasting valuable time.

Quality Assurance

You can reduce quality problems with a mobile printer, which dramatically lowers the chance of misidentifying items. Rather than making ad hoc notes or hand-written labels, QA pros can rely on a mobile printer to create tracking labels for items pulled for inspection. In addition, samples can be labeled with a pass or fail status right at the point of testing.

Since the labels are created by inspectors as they work, you can be sure the right status was applied to the correct part for complete transparency across the supply chain.

Cross Docking

Because the goal of cross docking is to save time and enhance productivity, it’s key that labeling not hold up the process. With mobile printers and computers, shipping and receiving personnel can take control of the entire cross-docking process. A quick scan logs the incoming shipment into an inventory control system. Then, a mobile printer generates an RFID shipping label or barcode label. Because you apply the label in receiving, there is little chance of labeling errors or delays.

Put away

Whether on foot or forklift, workers putting items away in the warehouse can waste countless hours retrieving labels. What’s more, they sometimes apply incorrect labels if forced to move away from items to a shared printer in another location. With mobile printing, employees print and apply labels right in the aisle before placing them into storage. According to Zebra Technologies, this can lead to put away times that are 62 percent faster.

mobile-printing-in-the-warehouse

Mobile printers like the Zebra QL420 can improve warehouse operations by eliminating errors at the point of application.

Picking

Want accuracy in your picking process? Consider the power of mobile printers. Workers can print and scan a barcode label for each item as it is pulled from the warehouse shelves, or generate labels on the spot that are then scanned in the staging or packing area. With either method, you can be sure the correct items are picked for each order.

Packing

If your company performs light assembly or creates kits from parts that are hard to identify, mobile printing could be a great solution for you. Why?

In an environment where parts can be mistaken for one another, a worker packaging these items together should not be pulled away from a work area to retrieve a label. It’s simply too easy to get confused or forget key details. A mobile printer, however, can immediately create a label identifying the parts or kit, preventing errors for items that look alike.

Shipping

What if a shipping label could be easily generated right at the time of packing an order? The time savings can be enormous and eliminate an entire step from the pick, pack, and ship process. With mobile printers, the employee packing the order can quickly and easily print and stick a shipping label.

Want to compare mobile computers with other barcode printer types? Consult the System ID Barcode Printers Buying Guide.

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Jamie Duerksen

Product Manager Custom Labels and Barcode Printers at System ID
Jamie Duerksen loves challenges and enjoys the wealth of knowledge that comes from solving them. System ID customers benefit from her expertise—Jamie excels at helping organizations uncover barcode labeling and printing solutions for unique applications and environments. Outside of the office, Jamie embraces the everyday experience of being a wife and mother.

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