Everyone in the warehousing and shipping business is looking for ways to fulfill orders faster and more accurately. Two-day, next-day, and same-day deliveries are becoming the norm, which puts enormous pressure on the entire order fulfillment process to be as quick and efficient as possible – without sacrificing accuracy.
Fortunately, just as industry norms and customer expectations are rapidly evolving, so are the technologies that can help warehouses achieve faster, better, and cheaper order fulfillment.
One major breakthrough is in barcode scanning technology, where a shift from 1D laser scanning to 2D imaging is shaving seconds, and sometimes even minutes, off every scan and transaction.
The key to this improvement is the use of 2D imaging, which takes a picture of a barcode, QR code, form field, document, or signature, and processes it into data that’s transmitted to your warehouse management system and your business and labeling apps. 2D scanning allows for faster and more intelligent decoding of captured data into the precise bits of information you need.
For example, you can configure a 2D scanner to scan and decode only specific fields on an order or shipping document, while ignoring the rest. This way, you can automate more aspects of your order fulfillment and shipping processes and eliminate untold amounts of manual data entry from forms and documents.
Also, 2D scanning is omnidirectional, so you don’t need to align a scanner laser with a barcode to scan it. You can capture the barcode from any angle, which decreases scan time and reduces one of the most common frustrations with traditional, 1D laser scanners.
Additionally, with the latest 1D/2D barcode imagers, such as Zebra’s DS3600 Ultra-Rugged Series scanners, you can also capture multiple barcodes with a single pull of the trigger. This is great for using your scanner like a “wand” to capture multiple barcodes on a box or multiple barcodes on a pallet. With Zebra’s multi-code feature, you can capture up to 20 barcodes per trigger pull.
Finally, 2D scanners deliver an extended barcode scanning range of up to 70 feet, without sacrificing scanning capabilities at close range. This means warehouse workers can scan barcodes located on high shelves and easily capture data from a forklift, without having to get out of a fork truck every time.
These improvements add up to tremendous time and cost savings. And thankfully, they’re available at a time when the order fulfillment industry is facing constant pressure to increase performance in a tough labor market for qualified warehouse workers.
But better efficiency and faster order fulfillment aren’t limited to scanning technology improvements. You can also improve your shipping processes with new software solutions.
One such solution is TME 3.0, our state-of-the-art transportation management system for high velocity parcel shipping execution. TME 3.0 integrates with more than 8,500 carrier services and automates carrier selection based on preferences for cost, capacity, efficiency, and effectiveness – giving you the most comprehensive rate shopping power available within your carrier network and providing you with the optimal transportation formula for each parcel that leaves your warehouse. Shipments are automatically booked with “best fit” carriers according to your specific business rules – reducing the number of carrier stations on your warehouse floor and allowing volumes to scale without additional resources.
You also get full visibility into every customer delivery, including a complete picture of what’s happening in real time, so you can monitor carrier performance and respond rapidly to any delivery issue or disruption. You can even create smart exception workflows and automate your responses with TME 3.0 Control Tower.
To learn more about 1D/2D barcode imaging, Zebra scanners, and TME 3.0, contact us to request more information or schedule a free consultation.