At Wills Transfer, we invest heavily in technology and hardware to make the job of processing our customer’s items into and out of our warehouses quicker and more efficient. One ongoing investment is the consistent upgrading of our RF Scanners.
What is an RF Scanner?
An RF Scanner is a handheld terminal used to read barcodes, QR codes, and RFID tags. Essential devices in any warehouse facility as they transmit the data they collect to the warehouse management system reliably, accurately, and in real-time. Picking is probably the operation that benefits most from the help of an RF Scanner. But these “Swiss Army knives” of logistics are capable of much more.
Regardless of the facility’s level of automation, practically all warehouses have RF Scanners. Without them, operators would have to resort to pen and paper, entailing more mistakes, more returns, and ultimately, disappointed customers.
In this post, you’ll learn why this smart device makes it possible to control stock and ensure product traceability with no margin of error all while saving time and resources.
How do RF Scanners work?
There are two aspects to take into account when employing an RF Scanner:
First, the device must be linked to the company’s warehouse management system or WMS. Communication between the RF Scanner and the electronic server is wireless, via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Next, the facility must label products with barcodes, QR codes, or RFID tags. Remember, the RF Scanner reads the label which in the WMS is directly associated with that item.
Because of these two aspects, RF Scanners make it possible to work in real-time. When working in real-time, the WMS knows automatically where the goods are, in what quantity, under what circumstances, and in what process. That is, you have perpetual inventory, which translates into intensive product traceability.
Types of RF Scanners
Modernized over the years, today’s market offers RF Scanners in tabletop (for fixed workstations) and wireless (for free movement) modes with diverse functionalities. Several feature a touchpad, while others support SD cards (Security Digital) and have a USB port. The most common RF Scanners operating systems are Android and Windows.
Most recently, RF Scanners can even react to speech through voice recognition technology. The same technology that is used by Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Siri.
What are the advantages of using an RF Scanner?
One of the biggest advantages of these devices is they’re typically wireless. They allow the operators to work with complete freedom of movement and without losing efficiency in data capture. And when these RF Scanners incorporate a screen, the employee merely has to follow the instructions of the WMS and confirm as he/she completes each task.
Which operations can RF Scanners optimize?
RF Scanners can have applications in many logistics operations, among which include:
- Goods receipt. Operators inspect the pallets they’ve received in the docking area. The WMS verifies that the pallet received is the same as the one previously entered into the system, thereby ensuring error-free goods receipts.
- Location management. Where should I put the goods that have arrived? Thanks to the RF Scanners and instructions from the WMS, all operators need to do to carry out efficient slotting is to follow the instructions that appear on the screen.
- Picking. This is probably the operation that benefits most from the help of an RF Scanner. Why? Because errors in order processing are drastically reduced with these devices. In fact, advanced models reflect product SKU, location, number of units to pick, and the box in which each order is to be packed in.
- Order dispatch. The RF Scanner transmits orders to the WMS, respecting the sequencing and organizing them according to destination or transportation route. When everything is prepared and waiting, order dispatch is sped up.
Additionally, RF Scanners perform other operations such as inventory replenishment, returns management, stock control, and so on.
Advantages of using RF Scanners in the warehouse
Employing an RF Scanner to support a facility’s logistics operations provides the following benefits:
- Increased productivity. This device is ideal for accelerating any warehouse operation related to the identification of goods, especially order picking. With RF Scanners, operators no longer need a piece of paper to consult the information they require, as they have all this information on the screen.
- Reduced errors. In addition to streamlining processes, these devices eliminate the possible misplacement of papers containing the information as well as errors from manual management and operations. Operators’ tasks are much easier, as they only have to follow the instructions on their devices to avoid making mistakes.
- Rigorous stock control. RF Scanners let you know at any time where a specific product is located, in what quantity, etc. You’ll be provided with streamlined, accurate, real-time logistics information not only to record all movements produced but also to prevent unforeseen events and anticipate problems.
- Cost savings. You’ll noticeably cut costs by accurately managing resources and minimizing the time spent managing processes. RF Scanners boost productivity and effectiveness in warehouse operations to offer top-quality service. Moreover, the technology curbs the use of paper, as orders arrive directly on the operators’ RF Scanners.
- Easy staff training. In fact, employees can perform any logistics process in very little time and without error. This means increased efficiency and lower costs deriving from personnel training.
A must-have device for any warehouse
RF Scanners have marked a turning point in the logistics management of any organization. Practically all facilities rely on these devices to carry out their logistics operations, instantly, and without errors.
So, now you know why Wills Transfer invests heavily in technology and the hardware that makes us an industry leader in our field.