Importance of warehouse apps
Today, warehouses go far beyond storage. Through smart technologies, warehouses have become digitally-connected and data-driven powerhouses.
Modernizing your warehouse starts with choosing the right technologies. After all, 27% of warehouse leaders cited “inadequate information systems” as a big challenge.
In particular, apps can help connect your warehouse workflow and streamline your internal processes. Let’s go through the top challenges for warehouse apps and potential features to resolve them.
Challenges of warehouse apps
Warehouse apps can do a lot, but they’re not foolproof. As warehouses go digital and make use of automation, IoT sensors, AI and AGVs, apps will need to do more to keep up. Here are six main issues that warehouse apps should address with key features.
Challenge #1: Collecting accurate data
Data is essential to streamlining warehouse workflows and ensuring accuracy in the manufacturing, packing and delivery of goods. A few key features that help collect accurate data include:
- Real-time inventory
- Sensor-tracked items
- Built-in barcode scanner via mobile device camera
- History of warehouse transfers by item
- Custom fields for items (i.e. notes, multiple quantities, etc.)
- Product-specific alerts for below-minimum inventory
Challenge #2: Integration with existing software and sensors
You can use all the cutting-edge software and IoT sensors you want, but without key integrations, your digital warehouse won’t stay connected. Warehouse apps can help bridge integration gaps through features such as:
- Sync data across multiple devices
- Integration with predictive maintenance software and other tools
- Data import/export via CSV, XML and Google Drive
- Pull or upload any PDF or doc in-system
- Create and restore backup copy
Challenge #3: Worker-friendly UX design
At the same time, a warehouse app is only effective if workers know how to use it. It’s important to have excellent UX design that makes daily tasks easy. Some UX design features that can boost worker productivity and reduce human error include:
- Offline use
- Multi-user environment
- Photos by each item to verify
- Glove touch-screen
Challenge #4: Optimizing picking tools
Another big deal for warehouse efficiency is the picking process. Fulfilling orders warehouse-wide can be time-consuming without a tool that optimizes lists and routes. To get better picking, warehouse apps can offer these features:
- Quick creation of pick lists
- Optimize warehouse via picking velocity heat map
- Suggest efficient inventory layout and routes
Challenges #5: Getting visibility into data
Accurate inventory data is just one part of data-rich warehouses. Data and insights about warehouse processes are just as important. The best warehouse apps will harness this information into easy-to-read reports and offer insights for improvement. Key features may include:
- Extensive real-time statistics
- Regular reports on payments, delivery time, accounting, etc.
- Instant updates on orders during packing, shipping and delivery
- Tracking warehouse metrics and KPIs
Challenge #6: Improved customer service
Finally, warehouse apps should power better customer service through data-driven notifications. Nowadays, customers expect instant communication about their orders, which is why warehouse apps should integrate with other tools to provide:
- Push notifications for users about their orders
- Use product images for a digital showroom
This is just the beginning for customer service. Down the line, customers may even want more communication during the online ordering process.
More challenges of warehouse apps
Of course, warehouse apps should also keep in mind best practices beyond these challenges. For example, apps could also be used to support areas such as:
- Safety and security: The best warehouse apps will allow workers to be more productive and ensure their daily safety as they use machinery and move around the warehouse.
- Training and support: It’s vital to train workers on how to use warehouse apps. You might even localize your app so that multilingual options are available for your crew.
- Quality control: Improving pick accuracy, delivery times and other areas requires having top-of-the-line QA measures. With a data-driven warehouse app, you can improve these processes for better results.
At the end of the day, warehouse apps can bring all the information you need to improve internal processes and boost your workers’ productivity and safety.
Get results with a warehouse app
As online shopping becomes the norm, the warehousing industry just keeps growing. In fact, the global warehouse automation market is predicted to reach $30 billion by 2026.
Warehouse apps make sense as a way to keep your goods, workers, and processes interconnected. Though there are still challenges to overcome, the suggested features above can do wonders for modernizing your workflow.
Remember that your warehouse app will be used across your inventory floor, which means it should be designed for workers. Download our checklist for warehouse UX design and contact the Onsharp team for a personalized warehouse app consultation.