Achieving ROI Through Mobile Inventory Automation

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One common challenge Clients face when sourcing mobile inventory automation is presenting management with their findings.  Looking strictly at price is common.  Understanding ROI (Return on Investment) is less common.  Oftentimes it is difficult to put $ savings to a concise spreadsheet in an easy to understand format.  The results of a well-constructed ROI can be impactful and remove internal “red-tape” barriers that once seemed impossible to overcome.

For starters, consider these hard and soft savings for your warehouse/supply chain operations:

-  20% labor savings in the warehouse function.

-  Duplicate data entry in many functions of your operations

•  Hard Justification

o             Elimination of Physical Inventory

o             Elimination of Order Checking

o             Improve Operator Efficiency

o             Reduction in Staff

o             Order Turn Around Time

o             Improved Order Accuracy

o             Reduction in Inventory Reduced Backorders

•  Soft Justification

o             Improved Customer Service

o             Improved Inventory Turns

o             Improved House Keeping

o             Improved Work Environment

o             Improved Supplier Relationships

o             Reduced Order Errors

o             Improved Quality Control


In simple terms, we can break your ROI down into 5 key areas to consider:

1.  Labor

- Front office – Data entry, extra report preparation via paper and pencil, research and analysis are most common.
- Warehouse – Find the aisle, find the bin, find the item, grab the pencil and write the quantity and write the lot, find the next aisle, find the next bin, and repeat over and over.  Picking labor can be improved 20% on average through mobile automation.  Eliminate paper, optimize foot traffic, and drive receiving, put-away and picking speed and accuracy.

2.  Shrinkage/Loss

What is my seek-time to find certain items in the warehouse?  Have you ever walked up and down the aisles wondering who moved an item that you thought you just saw plenty of yesterday?
Every warehouse has a few “gremlins” that hide or completely remove inventory.  The Appolis WithoutWire™ Warehouse Management software is designed to shine a flashlight on these gremlins.  And typically we can completely remove them through advanced user training!

3.  Decision making

- Real-time – means no latency.  Having true and accurate inventory improves picking, but it also improves purchasing, shipping and manufacturing.

- Reporting – What is my ability to accurately identify all product in question of a recall within the next 30 minutes?  What if I want to know all of the items that I will be “out of stock” on by the end of the day?  You will want to know what is on hand, what is on order, what is in-transit, and what sales orders are planned to be picked today?  What if you could mount a flat screen TV in your warehouse showing todays KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)?  How do you put a value on productivity tools?
- Manufacturing Production – make-to-order, make-to-stock, Discreet or Process Manufacturing are all going to experience problems if you run out of raw materials!  A common problem can be the transposition errors from hand written lot numbers … the quickest way to eliminate major inefficiencies  in manufacturing is through wireless automate … but the challenge is to quantify the gains through automation.


4.  Ease of Use

Like any tool, the WithoutWire™ system is only as good as the users who follow the best-of-breed process workflow.  That is why Appolis puts such an emphasis on ease of use with the industry leading UI (using traditional rugged or semi-rugged smartphone and tablet devices):

any device
But a friendly mobile device is not the only answer … you conduct much of the intelligence of our system through our WithoutWire Web console.  We take a lot of pride in a friendly interface … familiar to Microsoft Dynamics users.  Easy navigation, ready access to base reports and any custom reports via Sequel Server Reporting Services …

Web Console1
… and a one button link to our complete Mobile Inventory Automation Knowledge Base!

5.  Microsoft Azure Cloud vs On-Premise

This is equally important to consider the impacts to your IT investments, elimination of Maintenance, upgrades, and ongoing support.  Pricing has become more innovative as well in terms of unlimited users, fully scalable on-demand priced models.
Ask us for our ROI tool today!  You enter your specific data into this tool … and it provides you with presentation ready information to present to your Executives for their approval.  Whether your ROI is 3 months, 6 or even 9 months … don’t let a good story go un-told.  For additional assistance, call your Appolis professional today at 612-343-0404 x109.


by Steve Dwyer, VP, Appolis, Inc

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