Despite the advances made in distribution center operations over the years, many of today’s “automated” DCs are not even close to being fully automated. Even though the role of the DC has evolved to meet the faster pace of retail and to adapt to more flexible fulfillment options, much work remains.
In fact, some areas of the DC are still labor intensive and, as a result, error prone. This article reviews three challenging warehouse tasks and how RFID can be a major part of the solution.
While it’s true that some distribution centers run by companies like Amazon and Walmart are highly automated, most continue to have manual processes. A prime example is picking orders. In many cases, the basic processes that we see today are similar to what existed two decades ago. Back then, you printed out the order, ran down an aisle, found the goods, brought items back to your area, packed it up and shipped it out. The problem is that beyond this being time consuming, there were opportunities for errors to creep in at every point.
Add to this challenges today imposed by rush shipments and an increasing number of omni-channel orders — which must be picked at the individual level and then shipped directly to customers – and it’s easy to see why problems persist.