How to respond when your boss says mobile warehouse computers are too expensive

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Warehouse managers have their work cut out for them in the current inventory management sector. Many small- to midsize warehouse operations (46 percent overall) either don’t have processes in place to manage inventory or use legacy manual processes. Often, the decision to hold back on upgrading to mobile warehouse computers revolves around the cost of the investment. When decision-makers point to cost efficiency, there are a few ways to effectively respond. Consider these talking points the next time you discuss mobile warehouse computers with your manager:

Mispicks and mis-shipments cost more than computers

Mispicks and mis-shipments happen. No system is 100 percent bulletproof. But with manual processes or a lack of tracking, these mistakes take place much more frequently than they would with mobile warehouse computers, and can become incredibly costly for the organization. On average, a mispick can cost between $22 to $100, including the price of labor and the costs associated with reshelving and repicking. But mis-shipments can be even costlier, particularly when mistakes are made involving the delivery of critical spare parts or time-sensitive materials. In a worst-case scenario, a customer that receives the wrong item could decide to return the merchandise for a full refund instead of an exchange. In these situations, the business misses out on the opportunity to correct the mistake and must deal with the consequences of this negative customer experience. Mispicks and mis-shipments can easily outweigh an investment in mobile warehouse computers. In fact, many businesses earn back the cost of their mobile computers in as little as one to three inventory counts. Besides, mobile computers actively prevent mispicks and mis-shipments from happening. If an incorrect item is picked, users are alerted as soon as they scan the barcode, thus stopping the wrong merchandise from ever reaching the shipping department. “It’s time to ask the real question: Can we afford to operate without mobile warehouse computers?”

Limiting the potential for profitability

In addition to ensuring accuracy for warehouse picks and shipments, mobile warehouse computers also add efficiency and save time during inventory counts, cycle counts and when receiving shipments. When these processes are carried out manually, companies open themselves up to data entry errors and many other kinds of mistakes. In addition, completing these processes by hand is time-consuming and can prevent workers from putting their energy toward high-priority pursuits. Mobile warehouse computers enable employees to skip the data entry process altogether. Because these solutions are directly integrated with the warehouse resource planning and management systems, data is entered and stored automatically. One company that replaced its manual processes with mobile computers reduced its inventory counts from 144 hours to just 12, a savings of 90 percent. Check out this success story to learn more. Armed with these points, it’s time to ask your manager the real question: “Can we afford to operate without mobile warehouse computers?”

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