The possibility of a Paperless Environment with ERP software
In the fast paced warehouse environment and in the face of growing environmental concerns the move towards paperless environments continues to grow.
Completely paperless warehouses are not as impossible as it might sound, says Anthea van Breemen. And it does not necessarily have to be expensive achieving it either.
“Radio-frequency Idenfitifcation (RFID) is here and can achieve that paperless warehouse environment, but bar code scanning is still the less expensive option.”
According to Van Breemen bar code scanning has long been the performance booster of the warehousing industry, possibly more so in cold storage, and can be used very successfully across the supply chain – even in container tracking.
“Bar code scanning gives you better accuracy through elimination of human error, versatile rapidly available information and data integrity. Scanning improves inventory control when used correctly as every movement in or out of the warehouse, cold store or container depot is recorded at actual inventory item and not the planned item,” she explains. “What happens in non-scanning environments is that the planned inventory item cannot be located, so a similar item is dispatched, but the original is taken off the computer system. With bar code scanning, planning is just that, a plan to move specific inventory items, but at dispatch the actual items moved are scanned and the system is updated with the correct inventory leaving the premises.”
Van Breemen says bar code scanning also improves the speed of transacting, with variance reports for checking and balancing before closing off any documents and updating inventory.
“We have taken this a step further and moved towards eliminating paper even more. Fork lift truck drivers have now got tablets in their vehicles. Instructions for picking or to put away are automatically sent to their devices. These are listed by priority, where a priority can be changed or re-organised by the operations manager should this become necessary instead of giving them instructions on paper.”
Automatic e-mailing of all documents and reports, she says, has long been an integral part of the Macro 2000 ERP software that only contributes further to a paperless environment.