Wearable computer boosts confidence

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Technology suppliers SCC has a growth plan that would see it increase its shipping from 500 orders a day to 1,500. Expanding the size of its warehouse from 20,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet was just the first stage in dealing with the growth. With the numbers of pallet locations increasing from 750 to over 8,000 SCC needed to get smart in how it monitored the flow of good through its business.

SCC adopted a scanning system from Motorola that would allow the team in the warehouse to wirelessly connect into its Red Prairie based supply chain software.

National distribution centre manager Greg Crow says: “Linking employees in real time to the warehouse data allows SCC to direct pickers to exact product locations making the process faster, more efficient and more accurate. In our smaller warehouse, you could see where everything was but, as we grew, we needed a much more sophisticated solution that would effectively manage all stock movements, log locations and direct pickers to their locations. The warehousing system helps us to monitor the locations and scanning all of our items as they are picked using the Motorola devices means that we know exactly what’s left in the warehouse, when it went and where it’s gone.”

As part of the deployment, SCC selected Motorola wearable computers. Linked to a ring scanner worn on the operator’s finger, the WS1200 allows hands-free use of the mobile computer giving pickers the freedom to scan, lift and move products using both hands without having to continually pick up and put down a scanner.

“Giving our employees computers that they can wear on their forearms not only improves the speed and convenience of item picking, it also reduces the incidence of damage to the devices,” said Crow. “Hand held scanners are easily dropped and knocked as warehouses are tough environments and even the most rugged devices can develop faults over time if they are repeatedly dropped. Making the computers wearable protects them from this and ensures the uptime and availability of the solution to support our business.

“We expected the system to impact the speed and efficiency of our warehouse but we were not expecting some of the other benefits,” said Crow. “For example, our sales team can now be confident that they can sell every last item that’s listed as being in stock.”

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