The warehouse and fulfillment environment is hectic: From managing day-to-day operations such as orders, stock availability and quality, to receiving new inventory, employees constantly are engaged with detailed activity. Oftentimes, these back-end warehousing and fulfillment tasks are hindered by retailers’ legacy data collection systems that are slow, inefficient and cumbersome in size.
By employing Motion Computing’s Motion F5 Tablet PCs, Poundland, a single-price discount retailer based in Europe, has evolved to fast and sophisticated back-end technology in two warehouse hubs in the U.K. Among its benefits, the mobile technology has been significant in helping Poundland’s warehouse Quality Assurance (QA) teams streamline day-to-day tasks, make the cross-checking process less daunting to complete and be more mobile in carrying out obligations. The implementation has led to a surge in productivity as well as a considerable cost savings for hardware upkeep, according to Mick Corbett, IT Solutions Leader of PoundLand.
The primary duty of Poundland’s QA teams is to ensure the supply chain is keeping pace with demand and new shipments. Within the retailer’s two warehouse and fulfillment hubs, QA teams ensure stock availability and efficient delivery to nearly 400 Poundland stores throughout the U.K. Daily tasks include opening every box and checking samples of goods, as well as cross-referencing and analyzing item type, quantity, color and content against the database.
Prior to partnering with Motion Computing, Poundland’s QA teams relied on a trolley-based system that carried oversized and outdated laptops, cameras and scanners. Equipment was bolted to an unwieldy stainless steel trolley, which was pushed along as needed, with only an unreliable, limited-life mobile battery pack to power the PC. When that battery died, the laptop went offline and was swapped out for a new one while employees stood idly waiting. These and other drawbacks led Poundland to “find a solution more fitting to our QA teams,” Corbett noted.
Since deployment of the Motion PC tablets, Poundland’s QA teams have leveraged more seamless operations to achieve daily tasks and have improved warehousing-related productivity significantly.
“In a nutshell, the Motion Computing tablet PCs are lightweight, portable, durable and allow QA workers to carry in-office features and programs with them, wherever they need to go in the warehouse,” Corbett said. “Our new mobile package of warehousing programs, PC tablet, camera and barcode scanners also provides the flexibility for employees to expand out into the field,” Corbett said. He added that the Motion tablets’ long battery life and “hot swap battery” feature has further reduced downtime, adding to the surge in productivity.
“Using high-powered mobile PCs is a great separation from our previous strategy, for the better” Corbett emphasized, noting also that the legacy systems required too much space. “For example, when trucks come to the warehouse to drop off a shipment, the QA team had to halt all activity and make room for the drivers to complete their tasks.”
In addition, although QA obligations are expected to occur seamlessly, inefficient hardware and time-consuming manual processes greatly hindered productivity, Corbett added. For example, when errors or discrepancies are found, team members must take photographs for documentation, and entered updated information manually into the Poundland database. The entire process was inefficient and time consuming. Corbett said that now, with an integrated camera, digitizer pen and barcode scanner, the Motion F5 Tablet PC creates a streamlined warehouse task management and fulfillment completion system.