Most people aren’t aware that RF (Radio Frequency) technology is a part of our everyday lives. However, RF is also at the heart of a warehouse picking revolution. When used along with technology tools such as pick-to-light and put-to-light systems and a warehouse management system (WMS), RF scanners can knock a picking key performance indicator (KPI) right out of the park.
What is an RF Scanner?
Barcode scanners use radio frequencies to scan and transmit data to a central database as part of a real-time inventory management system. These can be as simple as a pen-style or gun-style scanner paired with a tablet or laptop, or more complex devices such as mobile units that are either handheld or mounted in a vehicle. There are also wearable units that strap to a wrist, with a smartphone-like screen and a scanner onboard. Some newer barcode wrist units and guns can even attach to a mobile phone and become one unit for scanning and transactions.
Why Use RF Scanners?
The two biggest inefficiencies in a warehouse are the time spend picking goods and the paperwork generated. The only paper generated in a highly efficient operation is the invoice contained within the shipping box. From order generation, picking, and then packing, an efficient operation can eliminate paper waste and optimize efficient order picking. Faster picking times translate to faster order turnaround, which makes B2B or B2C clients happy.
Additionally, sales staff might not be the first people that come to mind when thinking about using RF scanners. They should be one of the first! Any sales rep knows that a faster order turnaround time (turnaround = the period from when the order is entered to the time it arrives at the customer’s door) means more orders in a shorter time-frame.
Additional Benefits of RF Scanners
Real-time inventory tracking is just part of the big picture. Using RF barcode scanners can speed up cycle counts, annual or quarterly inventory, and in conjunction with a pick-to-light or put-to-light system can make the maintenance tasks much less onerous. For example, a warehouse worker is guided to the items that need cycle counting by a light module where items are scanned into a cycle count, which is then reconciled with the live inventory. The result is a much more comprehensive view of a true and accurate inventory.
It’s just like a keyboard!
Scanners connect to a PC or tablet and behave just like a keyboard. Scanning a barcode is like typing keys into a keyboard, and for this reason, they are extremely easy to integrate with your existing systems.
Of course, the main question to ask is “What ‘keys’ should be encoded into the barcode?” The answer is typically, “Whatever the pickers have a difficult time entering.”
Scanners can be set (using a special barcode) to either add an enter key after each scan or not to add an enter key.
We recommend using Code 128 B.
Using RF Scanners with Pick-to-Light
Learn what pick to light systems can do for you with a demo from Voodoo Robotics. Our devices are like no others in the industry, with a full five line display, wireless deployment, and a power source of two AAA batteries.
Our devices display custom barcodes or QR codes that can be read by any scanner. They can also display direction arrows or hazard icons.
Even better, we integrate with everything from Microsoft Excel to top-of-market WMS’ and inventory tracking systems.
Combine two potent technological inventory management solutions, and see what your KPI’s can tell you as early as your next cycle count.
Let’s have a conversation so we can better understand your needs. Schedule a demo or contact us and get control of your mispicks!
If the system avoids just a few mispicks, it’s paid for itself!