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Ecommerce spending increased 18% to $109.3 billion in Q4 2016 according to                      Multi-Channel Merchant. The majority of online buying occurred on desktop computers, with $86.6 billion spent, up 13% versus one year ago. Meanwhile, m-commerce (mobile e-commerce) spending on smartphones and tablets contributed $22.7 billion, with a significantly higher year-over-year growth rate than desktop at 45 percent.

Total U.S. – Home & Work Desktop Computers, Smartphones, Tablets

Source: comScore E-Commerce and M-Commerce Measurement

Overall, mobile accounted for 21% of total digital commerce dollars in Q4 2016, which is mobile’s highest recorded share of online sales for a single quarter since comScore began measuring m-commerce in 2010. This mobile share of digital commerce dollars grew considerably from 17% a year ago and from only 4% in Q4 2010. Smartphones and tablets have become increasingly important to online buying with every succeeding year.

comScore E-Commerce and M-Commerce Measurement data shows the obvious fast-growing m-Commerce trend.

 

Quarter M-Commerce % Share

Q4 2010 3.6%

Q4 2011 9.0%

Q4 2012 11.3%

Q4 2013 11.7%

Q4 2014 13.0%

Q4 2015 16.9%

Q4 2016 20.8%

 

Extended commerce operations with mobile capabilities

Online retailers are providing a positive customer experience with mobile-friendly sites and native apps. The ability to leverage mobile barcodes to create cross-channel shopping opportunities and drive purchases through convenient, on-the-go transactions is a rapid transformational process to retail.

XPO Logistics Inc. Chief Executive, Bradley Jacobs, says the company is “benefiting from the tailwinds of e-commerce.” The operator reported strong gains in profits and revenue for the fourth quarter, Wall Street Journal’s Logistics Report’s Jennifer Smith writes, riding a surge in online shopping that drove demand for logistics businesses. The company reported $27.3 million in net profits in the fourth quarter and $63.1 million in full-year earnings, which marks a watershed for the business: the profits came as overall gross revenue for the business doubled last year over 2015, capping an acquisition shopping spree that has built the company into a $14.6 billion operation. Many of the business units were disparate operations, but Jacobs says they have been combined to save costs and drive efficient delivery of services. E-commerce trends appear to be backing the combinations, with “last-mile” delivery fitting in with warehouse operations and increasingly profitable trucking services in the U.S. and Europe.

 

Headlines:

Warehouse Scalability Vital with M-Commerce Growth

Warehouse Transformed with M-Commerce Ordering

Rapid Sales via Phones Changes e-Commerce Trajectory

Learn more about WarehouseOS

 

 

For most warehouses, order picking represents 60% to 78% of labor costs. Solutions which directly reduce order picking labor for both manufacturers and distributors is the most important aspect of a lean manufacturing operation.

While order picking methods vary as greatly as the distribution centers teams who use them, an order picking systems design is a key part of every warehouse solution. WarehouseOS (WOS) specializes in tablet-based picking, the most effective approach on the market today.

Tablet-based picking is superior to pick-to-light and pick-to-voice because tablet-based picking is faster, at a lower cost, and with less integration. Tablet-based picking has a simple visual interface, which is highly configurable, yielding a customizable and easily updated experience for the user. Regardless of SKU volume or product handling, solutions like WOS are designed and implemented as a comprehensive picking system to meet unique requirements with reliable, flexible, and intelligent solutions.

It is critical when selecting a tablet-based solution to ensure that the system interfaces with most common Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Warehouse Control Systems (WCS) and that sufficient Pick/Put locations are available. Depending on the size of the operation, some customers will want a stand-alone solution or one that is integrated with an intuitive graphical interface.

Eliminating pick and put errors, increasing efficiency, and reduction of labor are the key variables to consider. Since labor represents such a significant part of warehouse and distribution costs, a reduction in manpower demand is achieved with increased throughput.

Being compatible with new material and legacy systems, and scalable to accommodate future growth are equally vital elements to consider.

The bottom line is that paper picking cannot keep pace with tablet PCs when it comes to piece picking and packing.

The labor costs of picking are spent walking to retrieve each piece. That accounts for two-thirds of total picking time alone, often trying to fulfill multiple orders in one trip. Kaizen events often demonstrate that effort must be made to ensure pickers are taking the quickest pick route and collecting the accurate SKUs the first time. Mobile technology is much more efficient in managing this process than requiring employees to reference outdated paper lists that can cause delays in shipping – or poor customer service outcomes.

WOS has seen many companies transition to the tablet-powered cart solution. These customers are responsible for distributing thousands of SKUs, across many states.  

Sometimes an acquisition or a move can cause a dramatic uptick in warehouse workload. In these cases, customers may quickly outgrow the push cart and paper picking ticket method, and then find matters compounded by moving to a larger warehouse. The result is more walking and decreased productivity among workers. These growing pains are solved with tablet-based picking.

Learn more about WarehouseOS

E-commerce growth shows no sign of slowing down. The year over year growth trajectory is gaining speed with digital (online) retail sales predicted to reach $632 billion by 2020. Online sales will continue to eat into in-store purchasing, placing pressure on brick-and-mortars to remain profitable.

Digital is moving to the core of retailers’ strategies, and existing real estate can be leveraged to support a digital business. Large retailers’ stores are densely distributed, providing an opportunity for them to serve multiple purposes.

The remainder of 2017 e-commerce will dramatically expand from social media networks. The integration of Facebook Dynamic Ads on Instagram, and Facebook’s launch of product tags are just a couple of examples of how social media platforms took the industry forward to continued rapid growth.

Social media trends are fluid, liquid, and mercurial. The social media scene changes daily.

Robert Allen of Smart insights says that customers will be harder to win, easier to lose and fussier on price and user experience in 2017. He also notes that to avoid falling behind the ever-fiercer competition, e-commerce enterprises must be aware of the latest trends in e-commerce. These megatrends are global, have huge implications, and are not going to go away anytime soon. E-commerce marketers are integrating these elements into planning for the remainder of 2017.

 

Getting ready for Q4: NOW!

Data released by comScore showed once again that Cyber Monday is the highest spending day amongst shoppers for the second year running. Interestingly, the day following Cyber Monday came in as the second highest shopping day. Just over 10 days before Christmas, December 13th, ranked last in the list of top 10 e-commerce shopping days.

The top 10 e-commerce shopping days of 2016

As an example of ecommerce growth, CampSaver is an online destination for outdoor enthusiasts to find the best gear at the right price quickly and easily. Today, CampSaver employs over 75 people and has grown into a leading online retailer of fine outdoor merchandise.

On the heels of a great 2016 holiday season, CampSaver needed to become more efficient. Tyler Shurtleff, CampSaver Director of Operations, explained, “Our biggest issue was bin utilization and not having the multi-bin functionality. Our previous problem was having one SKU per bin and that was it. With WarehouseOS we were able to do multi-bin and now we are able to scan and item in to multiple bins anywhere in the warehouse. The system will tell us where to pick it and it has increased our efficiency from a put-away stand point and it has increased our bin utilization.”

A truly good customer experience begins in the warehouse. WarehouseOS helped streamline CampSaver order fulfillment, improve customer satisfaction, making the company poised for the best holiday season in 2017 by rigorous scalable preparation in Q2 and Q3.

Learn more about WarehouseOS

Order fulfillment requires accurate picking. Reducing the time it takes to get an order to a customer’s home and replenish its stores is every company’s desire, but while faster fulfillment and small order sizes make customers, and store managers happy, faster fulfillment comes at a cost, reported Russ Meller in Supply Chain 24/7. The bar has been raised. Almost every company is working to reduce the time it takes to get an order to a customer’s home or to its stores. They are following Amazon’s lead in offering next-day, and even same-day delivery. A recent survey showed that 65 percent of buyers want next-day delivery. And another survey showed that 24 percent of online buyers said same-day delivery was important to them.

BI Intelligence “E-Commerce Briefing” reported the results of a new study from L2 which found that a quarter of shoppers would abandon a cart online if same-day shipping was not available, indicating that customers increasingly expect short delivery times.

That is a problem for most retailers, since only one-fifth of sellers offer same-day delivery, and those that do tend to charge exorbitantly high prices for it. As shipping windows continue to narrow — 96% of customers consider “fast” to mean same-day shipping — there is a clear demand for cheap, same-day delivery that retailers could capitalize on.

The Business Insider reported that while Amazon is the clear leader in addressing this demand, the gap is narrower than one might think. Amazon opened 23 new fulfillment centers in the second half of 2016 and plans to invest heavily in warehouses and logistics in the year ahead. The company also launched its Prime Now service, offering one- or two-hour delivery windows, in an additional 18 cities last year. Having a strong logistics network means Amazon will have more control over delivery times and costs, however, building out an efficient network will take time. Amazon’s same-day delivery is still only in 27 cities, which leaves room for other retailers to compete.

All of this customer urgency is putting pressure on retailers as well as industrial distributors to rev-up their cycle times for fast, faster, and fastest fulfillment times compared to competitors. While Amazon is in the news, this is not just an e-commerce arms race. Companies are moving faster to replenish stores too, in order to keep less inventory at each retail location and cut inventory across the entire network. It is not just cycle and fulfillment times that are changing; there has also been a fundamental change in the profile of those orders being fulfilled. E-commerce orders are typically one to two items. Store replenishment order profiles are also getting smaller, and are beginning to resemble e-commerce orders, as stores receive cartons and mixed cartons several times a week rather than pallets and mixed pallets less frequently. One specialty retail client now carries only a single unit of its slowest-moving products on its retail shelves, which is a case for inventory overage. The speed of order fulfillment may not be at the cost of accurate order fulfillment.

The results from these cutting-edge technologies are increased customer satisfaction, increased ability to supply products, and process transparency. Traditional picking methods are one of highest expenses when operating a warehouse. Fast-growing e-commerce companies need scalable solutions to grow as rapidly as the sales trajectory.

Learn more about WarehouseOS

Avoiding Costly Mispicks Possible with Improved Technology

Mispicks are extremely costly. Even when one incorrect SKU is shipped in the B-to-C (Business to Consumer) e-commerce space, the corrective action often involves reshipping using costly overnight delivery services, to keep the customer happy. A mispick occurs when the customer does not receive exactly what they ordered. This can occur by selecting alternative product or missing ordered merchandise.

Avoiding mispicks is critical if outsourcing order fulfillment, according to Tim Hoj with WarehouseOS®. Hoj noted that, “Businesses large and small are outsourcing their order fulfillment requirements and successful outsourcing can actually play a very significant role in helping keep tabs on operational costs. It is crucial to choose a drop shipping wholesaler with care. Dealing with unprofessional companies can have a negative impact on relationships with customers, especially avoiding product mispicks.”

Even more costly is when new customers have a bad experience (a mispicked product), their likelihood of reordering drops as much as 80%. The cost of customer acquisition is often very high for smaller new e-commerce companies. Keeping those newly acquired customers happy and reordering is essential to growth and success.

If outsourcing to external warehousing, Hoj recommends checking the provider’s warehousing capabilities. If the company does not have sufficient square-footage, it simply means that they will not be able to meet inventory needs. If looking to expand business, ask the company about future growth in terms of space availability and the timelines for the same. Understand what ordering methods the company processes. Check on the start to finish order delivery process. A well-established company will have a documented process. Check how the company handles outages and recognize that location is all-important. The company chosen must be able to deliver products to customers with accuracy and promptness.

Whether internal or external, the importance of sequencing in warehouses cannot be over-estimated. One aspect of warehousing that is readily overlooked is the order in which tasks are performed. In many warehouses, the sequence is dictated by tradition, or the attitude that “we have always done it that way.” Often, the sequence is fine and should not be changed. In many others, however, a change in the order in which things are done can have a material effect on warehouse operations. A diagnostic examination of warehouse operations should include the consideration of five questions:

  • Who does this job?
  • Where is this job done?
  • How is the task performed?
  • When is it performed?
  • Why is it done that way?

Learn more about WarehouseOS

Inc. magazine reported that shipping things is a necessary evil for most internet retailers. As much as people like buying things cheaper online, they will not wait to receive the merchandise, especially if shipping costs significantly increase the final cost. It is now possible for small businesses to offer free shipping, next-day shipping, reduced rate shipping and so on. Research shows whenever possible, free shipping is a necessity for retail sites; a useful tool for promoting a site, improving customer service, and encouraging consumers to spend more.

Consumers expect free shipping at many retail sites. Either as a bonus for buying a certain number of items, or as an automatic feature of the site. Consumers actively seek free shipping when they search for sites to shop. According to Accent, data marketing research company, 88 percent of consumers would be more likely to shop at a site online if promised free shipping.

 

The appeal of free shipping is easy to see. In many cases, shipping costs can greatly increase the final price paid for an item bought online. If an item costs $25 and the shipping costs are $5, the shipping costs have raised the price by 20 percent. Price savvy consumers on the internet are searching for ways to save money and as the various research survey shows, people turn to coupons and free shipping as the fastest way to cut their final costs.

Increasing pressure on retailers to offer fast and/or free shipping is seen through promotions from Target, L.L. Bean, and Nordstrom this past holiday season. However, last year, Amazon spent approximately $6.64 billion on shipping while only receiving about $3.1 billion in payments for shipping, which raised concerns over how offering free or cheap shipping can become a significant cost.

Tim Hoj with WarehouseOS emphasized that the cost of free shipping places an important need to implement best picking practices.

Leaders are looking for a competitive advantage, have dynamic and experienced sales forces, and a corporate culture which is customer-focused and intent on building long-term relationships with satisfied customers. This is spoiled when picking costs are a larger percentage of the overall fulfillment process.

As retailers examine the costs versus the gains of offering free shipping, profit margins need to be evaluated. The good news is that consumers act to utilize free shipping offers, including adding more items to the cart to qualify for free shipping. In this case, the cost of free shipping becomes offset by higher average order values. Hoj noted that large orders to qualify for free shipping can also represent a great opportunity for mispicks due to the increased number of SKUs packed.

Learn more:  Dedicated link to landing page.

Additional headlines, tweets, and threads to attract to the landing page to learn more.

  • Free Shipping Means More SKUs and Increase Chance of Mispicks
  • Internet Retailers Must Offer Free Shipping, But at What Cost?
  • Retailers Offering Free Shipping Must Tighten Fulfillment Practices
  • e-Commerce Customers Order More with Free Shipping but punish vendors for Product Shipping Orders

Learn more about WarehouseOS

Research and Markets announced in the Global IT Spending by 3PL (Third Party Logistics) Market report that global IT spending by 3PLs is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.5% over the next two years. The 3PL market is growing because it involves low-cost labor, robotics, and improved infrastructure starting with the demand in the e-commerce business model.

With consumers demanding next day (even same day delivery), companies are engaging 3PLs closer to their customer base. Often West Coast e-commerce companies are engaging 3PLs in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest to meet next day customer expectations.

Because 3PLs charges are based on product picked, packed, and shipped, the commitment from new e-commerce issues is lessened. As the demand is substantiated over time, new DCs (distribution centers) will be acquired. Until that data is demonstrated, 3PLs provide an effective alternative without disappointing the customers.

The global IT spending market by 3PLs can be segmented into six elements: SCM and procurement, warehouse management, transportation management, field service management, freight management, and others.

As 3PLs are anticipated to ship more than half the holiday packages in 2017, e-commerce companies are capturing a significant share of the small and mid-sized 3PL market. Tier II third-party logistics providers are finding their niche; they come in many shapes and sizes. The “not-too-big and not-too-small” proportions of Tier II 3PLs make them just right for many shippers. Bigger is not always better. Tier II 3PLs generally bring in revenue of less than $250 million annually, and often offer some specialization in mode, vertical, region, or technology that allows them to carve out their own niche. Volumes handled by 3PLs will be 100% higher this holiday season and terms of engagement will be required before the end of Q2 2017.

According to Tim Hoj, at WarehouseOS, “Fulfillment systems whether at a 3PL or a small manufacturing distribution, operations must be part of a lean process, offering shorter throughput times, fewer errors, and significant cost savings.” Hoj added, “The result is increased customer satisfaction, a faster ability to supply products, and process transparency. Traditional picking methods are one of highest expenses when operating a warehouse. By lowering that cost through leading edge ready-to-use solutions we are seeing customers experience huge growth in hundreds of business sectors throughout North America.”

Learn more about WarehouseOS

Salt Lake City, UT — (SBWIRE) — 11/03/2016 — A warehouse challenge that companies are facing today includes increased need for 100% accuracy. With the transition to eCommerce fulfillment comes the need for 100% accuracy. Consumers educate themselves more than ever. In a world where next day (even same day) delivery is common place, if an order does not arrive on time with the correct items, consumers will likely go online to write a bad review. Accuracy is imperative.

Warehouse Mobile Solutions, makers of WarehouseOS, created an Inventory Management App that helps companies address these common challenges. Founded by experienced material handling professionals, Warehouse Mobile Solutions has been changing the landscape of Distributing Centers by implementing innovative processes through visualization on a tablet. Deployed as a native app through the Apple App store, WarehouseOS has an extremely simple interface that allows faster and more accurate picks. In many cases, WarehouseOS has cut the amount of time it takes to fulfill daily orders in half through its patented visual processes.

In today’s world of eCommerce fulfillment, businesses have to make a big shift, not only on the marketing side but on the fulfillment side. For years companies have used large warehouses to ship their product to “big boxes” such as Walmart, Target, REI, etc. As sales slow in brick and mortar stores, companies have been forced to reevaluate their business model to shift to today’s market demands.

About WarehouseOS
The RF gun, constant verifications, small keypads, and hard to read screens are quickly becoming yesterday’s technology. Tablets are replacing the RF gun. WarehouseOS, a new tablet-based Warehouse Operations System brings warehouses into the future today. Warehouse management systems have been around for a long time with too many companies still using the RF gun to conduct inventory management, scan in new items, and pick orders. The RF gun solutions typically cost double what modern solutions offer. WarehouseOS and associated apps have been developed to make everything about the warehouse easier and better. Apps allow small or large companies to receive products, manage inventory, perform cycle counting, conduct single picks or do batch picking, verify items picked and pack them into boxes.

An easy to navigate user interface means warehouse personnel need almost no training before performing warehouse tasks. Receiving, put-away, picking, and packaging quickly become the easiest jobs on the floor. A team of experts in material handling equipment and solutions developed WarehouseOS to maximize the throughput of warehousing and distributing facilities. From small eCommerce, to high volume SKU facilities, from omni-channel companies to FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), WarehouseOS is equipped to handle everything. From small startups with simple needs to complex, large distribution centers, WarehouseOS is the tablet solution which enables manufacturers and distribution centers to be a step ahead of the competition.

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Consumer demand, and the demanding consumer, for the holidays

thanksgiving

By Thomas R. Cutler

Consumer spending trends suggest this holiday season for retailers and logistics companies will drive an improvement of 15 per cent year-over-year.

With retail sales in the US expanded 0.8 per cent in October after a strong 1 per cent gain in September, the Wall Street Journal’s Josh Mitchell reported, in the best two-month stretch of sales in at least two years.

The brisk spending is a strong sign that the economy is picking up steam, with both wages and employment rising. The expansion, mostly e-commerce, proves that once again online sales are growing at triple the rate of overall retail sales. 

Commerce department figures show the pace of internet sales growth is accelerating with more Americans heading online to shop.

Retailers and logistics operators are adjusting inventories and operations to e-commerce more than they predicted for holiday planning.

Achieving effective inventory management

Picture credit: Davis Turner photos)

Picture credit: Davis Turner photos

From determining optimal inventory levels, to selecting the best storage methods, to ensuring inventory accuracy, the margins despite rapid growth must improve productivity and profitability through better inventory management.

The basics of effective warehouse management, including techniques for determining the best material storage methods, barcoding, cycle counting, reducing damage, protecting against theft, improving housekeeping, are being questioned this holiday season.

Methods for determining when stock should be replenished, including: techniques for determining future demand, the best forecast formula for each item, adjusting for unusual situations, forecasting far into the future are just some of the elements that warehouse managers in the e-commerce space are analyzing during this very busy shipping time.

Determining rapid reorder quantities, including techniques for determining average lead time and safety allowances, order cycles and line points, the most economical reorder quantities, the cost of carrying inventory are all needed considerations.

Without these accurate data, e-commerce warehouses will fail to verify on-hand quantities, including details on how to conduct a full physical inventory, geographic cycle count, and rank-based cycle count.

As the year ends, the total 2016 retail sales across the globe will reach $22 trillion, up 6 per cent from the previous year.

eMarketer estimates sales will top $27 trillion in 2020, even as annual growth rates slow over the next few years, as explored in a new eMarketer report, Worldwide Retail Ecommerce Sales.

Nowhere is retail growth as great as the e-commerce sector. Nowhere is the old warehouse paradigm anachronistic. The old warehouse is no more as the radio frequency gun, constant verifications, small keypads, and hard to read screens are quickly becoming yesterday’s technology.

Tablets are replacing the RF gun. New tablet-based warehouse operations systems bring warehouses into the future today.

Warehouse management systems have been around for a long time with too many companies still using the RF gun to conduct inventory management, scan in new items, and pick orders. The RF gun solutions typically cost double what modern solutions, such as WarehouseOS, offer.

Apps allow small or large companies to receive products, manage inventory, perform cycle counting, conduct single picks or do batch picking, verify items picked, and pack them into boxes. Even smaller eCommerce operations must scale rapidly during the upcoming holiday rush.

Warehouse control system solutions required as holidays approach

warehouse-os-solutions

WarehouseOS from Warehouse Mobile Solutions

A warehouse control system (WCS) acts as a real-time “command center” to ensure that the right information is available at the right time to allow the equipment to run at the speeds required in today’s operations.

During the holiday season, and year-around, the WMS communicates the production schedule in batches every hour, and a conveyor control system (CCS) communicates in milliseconds; a WCS allows business systems to send order information on its regular schedule, and coordinate the rapid routing decisions required by material handling system needed instantly.

Automation via WCS is critical because it adapts to changing business requirements. Whether a quick change in business rules or significant growth in order fulfillment, software must integrate with existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) or WMS (warehouse management systems).

WCS automation integrates business rules allowing tasked to be performed as needed and is adaptability of seasonality and future growth.

Bill Maple, director of software solutions at Hytrol Conveyor Company, says: “Customers demand product at quicker and quicker speeds, and a WCS helps to deliver those products at the pace needed by creating a more flexible operation that will allow greater speed and efficiency.

“A WCS provides operational visibility by reporting where products are located as well as the efficiency of processes.”

In a situation where a truck is being loaded from a shipping sorter, a WCS communicates the number of cartons shipped to each route and the number of times products were recirculated due to the downstream conveyor being full.

A WCS provides item-by-item tracking as product flow through the warehouse facility is measured, reported, and managed.

Support lean supply chain initiatives part of the WCS automation paradigm

hytrol

WCS is a no-brainer for lean supply chain initiatives because of business-rule-driven designs.

When business rules dictate how the software is configured, it is much easier to create those rules that reduce waste in a process and refocus on customers.

A warehouse control system is an automation tool for the material handling industry to create and monitor faster and more efficient processes.

A month from now we will know if these were indeed Happy Holidays for consumers who expect every order to be filled accurately and shipped immediately.

Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., (www.trcutlerinc.com). Cutler is also the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 6000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler authors more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector and is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide. Cutler can be contacted at trcutler@trcutlerinc.com and can be followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler.

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For holiday shoppers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great days to get a bargain. For retailers, they are critical days that can make or break their holiday season. And just as tablets and apps have changed the way people shop, they are changing the way warehouses activities operate. The Inventory Management App offered by Warehouse Mobile Solutions is helping warehouses prepare for the busy holiday season.

One of the biggest challenges faced by retailers during the holidays is a dramatic increase in order volume. For the period including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, companies can see those volumes increase by as much as 400 percent. To meet this demand, many businesses must bring in temporary warehouse workers and get them trained and working quickly. The tablet-based Inventory Management App, which runs on the Warehouse Mobile Solutions WarehouseOS, is helping companies meet this challenge. By using a tablet-based solution instead of an RF gun, workers can quickly get up to speed. Warehouse Mobile Solutions CEO Tim Hoj said the easy-to-navigate user interface means warehouse personnel need almost no training before performing warehouse tasks such as receiving, putting away, picking and packaging.

A temporary worker can be shown how to use the system in 10 minutes, and then they can go out and pick. They can be productive the first day they are on the site,” Hoj said. “In the traditional model, that temporary worker might need to go through a day or two of training before they would be productive on the floor.”

Just as consumers have become more comfortable using tablets in their personal lives, warehouses are becoming more comfortable with the idea of tablet-based solutions.

“When we started the business five years ago, a lot of people were saying an iPad didn’t belong in the warehouse,” Hoj said. “Today, touchscreen technology is seen in so many different environments. It’s a pretty big paradigm shift, and the efficiencies are speaking for themselves. People are saving a lot of money processing this way.”

Hoj says RF guns can cost double what new solutions offer. Constant verifications, small keypads and hard-to-read screens make them yesterday’s technology. Easy-to-learn tablet systems lead to greater productivity.

“What we like about the iPad is that workers already know how to use the touch screen and the GUI interface. So out of the gate, that worker is much more productive,” Hoj explained. “We do a lot of tests of the iPad against existing technologies and routinely find the pick rates are doubled. One hundred percent improvement is a very common outcome from our tests at warehouses currently using our technology.”

For busy warehouses this season, tablets might just be the next best thing to Santa’s elves.