Mobile printing in the warehouse allows operatives to print out wherever they are. Whether they are printing labels, barcodes, receipts or tickets, your workers aren’t restricted to a certain location when they want to print. Instead, you can equip them to be more mobile and to print on demand.
A range of printers is available – from those that may only be used occasionally, to more rugged models that keep your operatives connected and functioning in the most challenging of situations. Some are small enough to be carried in a pocket, and others can be worn on a belt or hung across the body. Printers can also be mounted on carts or trolleys and then wheeled around the warehouse.
These are the benefits of mobile printing for warehouses.
1. Increased employee productivity
Mobile printing reduces how far operatives have to travel. And every step that’s saved in the warehouse is a boost to productivity. With mobile printing, workers don’t have to walk right across the warehouse to print a new label. Instead, the labels and printer are immediately to hand. This makes working faster and more efficient.
Zebra Technologies manufactures a number of mobile printers. They made a study of receiving operations and compared efficiency of body-worn printers with a situation where the warehouse operatives only had to take nine steps from the receiving point to the fixed labelling workstation.
With mobile printing, labelling was achieved in 42 percent less time than with the short walk to a central printer. Now depending on the volume of printing required in a warehouse, this sort of time-saving could easily represent significant productivity gains for a warehouse.
2. Improved accuracy
Eliminating superfluous trips also cuts down on the distractions that a worker is faced with. This makes them less likely to make errors due to having their attention diverted away from the task at hand. With fewer opportunities to have their concentration interrupted, a worker can better remain focused on the task and therefore accomplish it right first time.
Some common operator labelling errors can be prevented by printing at the point of activity. For example, when a shipment is expected, labels are printed for affixing to the products. These must be collected from the main office and then walked to the receiving dock, which will take extra time. But on top of that, there is a greater chance of operator error where the labels are not printed just before they are affixed. Mobile printing can reduce these errors. Mislabelled stock can cause all manner of issues with orders and stock control.
3. Reduced printing costs
Because mobile printing brings greater accuracy, it also eliminates the costs that come with having to reprint to correct an error.
Mobile printing is also extremely cost-effective. Zebra Technologies estimates that mobile printing can deliver a positive return on investment in less than a year. This is especially so where a warehouse already has a wireless LAN in place, because the only additional costs are the printers and labels.
4. Streamlined operations
Mobile printing allows workers to label in convenient locations. This can streamline operations. For example, if goods need to be quality assured, tracking labels can be created and applied as needed, clearly identifying samples and their assessment status. Labels can even serve as work orders, indicating the required tests.
Another use case where mobile printing can streamline operations is in cross-docking. Cross-docking is a means of speeding up receiving and redistribution. Mobile printing is a great solution in this case, as workers can receive goods and book them into inventory, then can quickly print barcodes or other identification labels that include all the necessary cross-docking information, such as shipping labels.
If you’re considering adding mobile printing in your facility, Balloon can help with identifying any procedures that you could improve with mobile printing and determining the likely return on investment for your operation. If you’d like to know more, call us on 020 8819 9071 or get in touch.