Location Management from the iPod App, the Compass of the Fulfillment Process

Apr 18, 2017
On my first tour of ProPack, I was impressed by the organization in the warehouse: row after row of product, all arranged numerically and alphabetically. With thousands and thousands of products on the shelves, it must take ages for the fulfillment employees to learn all of the locations.

After I started working at ProPack, I noticed that the fulfillment team, specifically the pickers and packers, walked around with a handy device: an iPod Touch with a scanner attachment with access to ProPack’s custom developed App. The iPod can be seen as the compass that guides the pickers and packers through the fulfillment process, and eliminates the need for unnecessary memorization.

As Albert Einstein once famously said, “Never memorize something that you can look up.”  When there are hundreds and hundreds of scannable locations in each warehouse with thousands of different SKUs, it would be unrealistic and inefficient to expect the fulfillment team to memorize each location.

The iPod scanning device helps the pickers and packers in many different ways, but its biggest asset is our App within the device that provides product locations and inventory levels with the simple scan of a barcode. Before this technology, all of this information had to be recorded manually with pen and paper.

This is where the iPod App’s location management streamlines many processes, and is what sets the precedent for ProPack’s fulfillment services. The internal benefits of this device are immense to each person in the warehouse.

From the picker’s perspective, all they need to do is scan the pick ticket, and the App provides the location on-screen.  For example, it could say “F-14-E-5-H.”

 All the picker needs to do is walk to that location, scan the pick bin bar code and the iPod will beep once. Scan the item(s) in the bin, and it beeps again. Once all items from that particular SKU have been scanned, the iPod will make a three-toned beep, notifying the picker that the order is complete.

 If you scan the wrong bin, the iPod will make a significantly different low-toned beep noise to make it clear that they scanned the wrong location, and need to double-check the bin numbers shown on the screen.

The iPod App is also intuitive enough to know where the next closest pick bin is to their current location, so the pickers don’t spend too much time covering the same ground.

Once the order has been closed out, it is moved into the packer’s hands.

The packer scans the pick ticket, and is then responsible for assembling the box, securing it, padding it with packing paper, and placing the product into the boxes. Once they have placed everything into the boxes, the packer closes out the order and indicates how many boxes will be shipped, so the manifesting specialist knows how many boxes need to be labelled before getting shipped out.

In addition to streamlining the fulfillment process, the iPod App is an integral tool for quality control, accuracy, and ease of use. It minimizes the chances for human error, and maximizes the amount of orders to be processed and shipped to your customer’s door in a timely manner.  By minimizing the amount of memorization, each fulfillment employee can achieve more fulfillment from their job, and find ways to provide suggestions into making processes more efficient.

To learn more about ProPack’s 3PL services, please contact us at 360.332.2555, or on our website at http://www.propack.com/contact

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