6 Steps to Modernizing Your Government Warehouse Operations
Discover the best practices for integrating mobile, data capture and tracking technologies for faster, smarter operations.
The warehouse and distribution center is the nucleus of a diverse set of government operations. Soldiers at the edge rely upon supply chains for necessities, and nurses at the VA rely upon the supply chain to provide critical life saving devices. Government agencies, by and large, depend upon the sound and safe delivery of supplies to function.
For example, organizations like the Defense Logistics Agency manage more than $41.8 billion in products. The DLA and others must move quickly to fill orders and meet a rapidly evolving mission set: And an integrated system of secure mobile data capture and tracking technologies can help them achieve this goal.
Mobile data capture and tracking technologies debuted in the private sector in the late 1990s. This technology was the catalyst for companies like Amazon, who revolutionized the warehousing and shipping industry with their promise of two-day delivery.
“In the federal government, there is massive daily pressure to improve,” said Mark Wheeler, Director of Supply Chain Solutions at Zebra Technologies.
Pair this pressure with the rapid pace of engagements on the world stage, and the need for modern, mobile-equipped warehouses couldn’t be any clearer — supporting dynamic government operations requires modern warehouse and distribution centers. However, doing so requires agency leaders to conquer age-old challenges like technical fragmentation.
Addressing Technical Fragmentation in the Warehouse
Technical fragmentation — the application of inconsistent technology — blocks warehouse operations from keeping up with the escalating pace of operational demands. Across its millions of square feet of warehouse space, agencies can feel the impact of technical fragmentation at the operational and financial levels. And stakeholders often pay the price when orders are unfulfilled or arrive incomplete.
“In a fragmented process, a lot of times what we see is you have more touches in both inbound and outbound operations. That generally means more errors, higher cost, and potentially more damages,” Wheeler said.
To combat fragmentation and keep pace with operational demands, forward-looking logistics professionals can employ digital warehouse management systems to increase efficiency, accuracy and visibility.
These digital solutions can help:
- Reduce reliance on paper processes
- Improve accuracy in item selection, packing and shipping
- Increase reliability with tracking of materials and assets
How Modern, Mobile Solutions Can Assist Agencies
Greater efficiency starts with better front-line solutions. To fill orders with greater speed and accuracy — whether that’s delivering warfighter capability to soldiers or medical supplies to areas impacted by a disaster — frontline workers need tools that facilitate efficiency and precision, item-level picking and inventory visibility. Upgrading to modern mobile devices that combine scanning accuracy with touch-screen efficiency and ease of use enables them to validate data in real-time and instantly locate the correct items.
Despite the benefits of digital solutions, digital transformation is no easy process: Bridging the gaps left by legacy systems and technologies is challenging and may result in errors and omissions as agencies switch over to new processes. So, how can government-decision makers effectively pursue warehouse modernization?
State-of-the-art technologies can help, including:
- Multi-modal technologies that allow users to perform multiple tasks on one device
- Handheld, vehicle-mounted, wearable and hands-free devices for scanning, tagging, voice picking and more
- Fixed and mobile printers to support tracking of assets and inventory
Download this informative whitepaper to learn more about the intricacies of warehouse modernization and the six steps your agency can take to successfully make the jump to digital.
This content is made possible by our sponsor, Zebra Technologies. The editorial staff of Defense One was not involved in its preparation.