Lansdale Warehouse made the decision to utilize a RF (radio frequency) wireless barcode scanning system several years ago because we recognized the importance of improving productivity and inventory accuracy. We wanted to:
- Avoid mis-shipments
- Avoid difficulty locating material
- Avoid inaccurate information entered manually
By using RF, we’ve improved operation and have the ability to easily and immediately track items from when they are received until they are shipped to the customer. We use RF technology through integration of our warehouse management system (WMS), wireless networking, barcodes and RF barcode scanners.
Product is identified with bar codes on the pallet and in some instances on each box, case or piece. Locations within each of our facilities are identified with a barcode for each row, shelf, slot, bin and rack position. The RF scanners are used to read the barcodes and transfer product information, quantities and location information directly into the WMS via wireless networking.
During the receiving process, product barcodes are scanned and the system verifies correct items and quantities arrived at the warehouse.
During the put away process, when an item is placed on a shelf, slot, bin or rack location the user scans the barcode on the unit and scans the barcode for the storage location. The WMS is updated showing what items are in inventory and where those items are being stored within the warehouse.
Pick – Pack – Ship
When it’s time to pick an order, the WMS transmits the necessary information to the scanner. The scanner screen will display the order information including storage location, description, item code and quantity for each item to be picked.
The barcode for each picked item is scanned as is the barcode of the storage location it was picked from. Scanning the item bar code and location barcode ensures that the picker is filling the order with the correct quantities of the correct item. The WMS determines the picking sequence of the items and knows the location of each item stored so orders can be picked according to customer policy, such as FIFO (First In – First Out).
When the pick is complete, the system can generate a packing list containing the information on what was physically picked.
Physical Inventories and Cycle Counts
Annual inventory counts and cycle counting time using RF scanners has made identifying and counting items a quicker and more effective process.
Counting involves scanning the barcode for each item and scanning the barcode location where product is stored. The process is quicker and more accurate than the use of paper reports. Using RF scanners for counting eliminates writing down product numbers and counts and then manually entering count information in computer. Mistakes can not be made because wrong item information was written down.
The benefits Lansdale Warehouse has experienced since switching to RF scanning include improved accuracy and efficiency and improved real-time visibility to inventory.