July 6, 2021
As we help more and more companies roll out a digital inventory solution, we see that the biggest internal resistance has to do with the fact that a lot (or sometimes all) packing crews are sub contractors. Subconsciously it translates to a deeply rooted reservation that they won’t learn a company system such as digital inventory. This origin of this reservation is well understood - not a long time ago a packing crew tasked with creating digital inventory would carry around a small suitcase with a company issued tablet and a mobile printer. Picking up job specific labels would automatically mean coming by the warehouse before each job. The very use of the digital inventory system amounted to long training as the tablets and the apps were a novelty observed at swanky coffee shops. There was also a common fear that most of the tablets handed to the crews would disappear on a surprisingly regular basis.
Here is how we go about addressing these challenges (whilst fondly remembering the good ol’ days of teaching crews how to align a tablet’s infra red port with the Cannon printer’s one to make sure one can print out all pages of the packing list in one go).
For starters, subcontractors have their own phones and all they need is the Voxme Inventory app, which they can download from the App Store and then set it up using a QR code sent to them.
The jobs are downloaded by scanning a barcode on the work order.
The Inventory app will guide them with regards to all the mandatory information that needs to be captured on top of the packing list.
Once the job is done and everybody signed on the screen, the app will upload the data back to the company’s back-end system. There’s no need to email or fax or print anything.
If a transferee insists on getting their packing list right after sign off, they can get it via email, WhatsApp, Telegram or even a memory key if they happen to live in a happy internet free zone.
When it comes to label printing (if it's required at all, that is), the subcontractors have two options:
Option 1: print the labels at home from any Internet browser to a desktop label printer
Option 2: print the labels from the Inventory app on the go via Bluetooth using a mobile label printer
Obviously, the hybrid option is always available - print some labels from the Internet in advance, then add more on site.
Robots, smartphones or artificial intelligence will never replace humans, but they can surely assist in highly non-trivial tasks. Fortunately, a digital inventory is rather mundane by modern standards;)