Modern warehouses are a hub of smart devices and hardware solutions, which are employed in different ways to speed up warehouse processes, reduce errors during order picking or dispatch, and make the life of a warehouse worker easier. While these devices provide a ton of benefits to your warehouse, managing them can become a hassle. If you are a company that has multiple warehouses spread across different locations, things can be especially complex as you need to manage and sync multiple devices as well as warehouses, to ensure maximum productivity and the best business outcome. Ensuring device safety and keeping the software updated are other important tasks for a warehouse. This is the reason why you need the right device management software in 2021. But first let’s understand the challenges warehouses face when it comes to device management.
4 Device Management related challenges faced by warehouses
If your warehouse uses a variety of devices, managing them efficiently is always going to be a challenge. Manually keeping tab on a device's performance, health, and issues can prove to be a complicated task and lead to several errors. Here are some common challenges faced by warehouses while handling and managing multiple devices.
1. Complex Integration
As the number of devices used in a warehouse for various processes increases, managing them becomes more complicated as well. Integrating with the hardware becomes a more sophisticated task that requires months of custom coding. If your warehouse doesn’t have experienced coders, which is usually the case, you need third-party solution providers who can study your warehouse system and write codes for integrating every device efficiently. Not only is this a time-consuming process, but it can also be expensive. Since the code isn’t written in-house, fixing a bug can also take a lot of time, ultimately hurting your warehouse’s productivity. Hopstack's platform solves the same by integrating the robots and devices into its no-code/low-code ecosystem.
2. Lack of Data
RFID scanners, barcode scanners, robots, and other warehouse devices can generate large amounts of data at any given point in time. This data contains valuable insight into warehouse processes and is key to optimizing these processes to get the best results. Lack of integration with warehouse hardware makes it difficult for your warehouse managers to collect and analyze this data. With no actionable insights into how a device is performing, it can be tough for managers to figure out where the device is lagging, identify areas for improvement, assess its working condition, and understand whether the device being used is an asset or a liability. Not knowing the health or uptime of a device can lead to abrupt downtime, bringing your whole warehouse operation to a halt.
3. Improper Onboarding or Decommissioning
Any hardware device that is supposed to be used in your warehouse needs to be onboarded to the system. Onboarding a device can be a complicated endeavor, especially if best practices are not followed. The same goes for decommissioning old or damaged hardware. If your warehouse employs temporary workers, it can be even more difficult to ensure proper onboarding or decommissioning of any hardware.
4. Use of Third-Party Tools
Although you might have several workers and executives to ensure proper working of a device on the floor itself, warehouse managers and IT admins will generally access these devices remotely. This is a challenge on its own as sometimes they are unable to gauge the accurate condition of the device and the complexity of the issue. Having different third-party tools for logging in and observing every device also makes it difficult to record device-level data and compare them with each other. These tools seldom integrate efficiently and can cause gaps in the data collected from different devices at the same time.
What is a warehouse device management system?
A warehouse device management system is a combination of software and applications that helps in monitoring, managing, and analyzing every hardware deployed in your warehouse. This can entail everything from a regular scanner gun to cameras, robots, and material handling equipment. A mobile device management system allows your warehouse managers or IT admins to tailor devices over the air and easily change their configurations to match business requirements on the fly.
4 Benefits of a Device Management System
Being able to monitor and manage every device used in your warehouse is not the only reason why your business should opt for a device management system. These intuitive and easy-to-integrate systems, when used properly, can provide a plethora of benefits to your warehouse. Apart from that, these benefits can trickle down to end customers and your employees as well.
1. Improved Device Knowledge
A device management software lets you keep a track of all your warehouse devices through a single platform. Warehouse managers can get accurate information about the lifecycle of a device, how long it has been used, its history of maintenance and upgrade, and replacement requirement.
Every device inside your warehouse can act either as an asset or a liability, depending on how it is managed. The good news is that a device management software provides complete information about every warehouse device. It alerts the user and the system if a device is likely to fail so that proper assessment can be done before any malfunction or disaster occurs that holds up warehouse operations.
2. Central Device Management
In case your warehouse uses a lot of resources either on central campus or spread across various locations, a central management system can help manage them efficiently. An IT admin or a warehouse manager can maintain a full fleet of warehouse hardware and help minimize onsite support requirements. This will help reduce your warehouse costs.
A central management system also helps in keeping every software-related device up to date. Moreover, these updates can be scheduled to happen at a time when your employees won’t be interrupted. Upgraded hardware is less prone to unnecessary downtimes as well.
3. Remote Repair
Not every issue that crops up in a warehouse device needs to be physically checked by a technician. With the help of remote device management, IT professionals can understand the problem and even resolve it without having to go near the device. This prevents unnecessary travel and downtime.
4. Multi-Platform Support
Your warehouse undertakes multiple processes every day. These processes further employ multiple devices that have varied operational methods. Devices can be hand-held, fixed-mounted, or vehicle-mounted and might be running on different operating systems. A mobile device management system will give you greater control over this mixed ecosystem of devices.
How warehouse device management systems address typical pain points?
Easy Onboarding and Decommissioning
Forget hassle-prone onboarding or decommissioning processes that take up a lot of time and are difficult to perform as well. With the help of a device management system, your warehouse can onboard any new device easily by dragging and dropping the equipment in a smart interface to start the onboarding process. The same thing happens with decommissioning where a device can just be dragged from the required interface and the decommissioning process starts immediately.
Capture Real-Time Data
With the help of a robust device management system incorporated into your warehouse, capturing real-time data about a device becomes easier. Data can be captured not just from the scanner guns, but also from the sensors and robots employed throughout your warehouse. Warehouse managers can now capture data about a hardware’s working condition, efficiency, issues faced while operating, total objects scanned, and much more. This provides deep insight into whether a specific hardware is working properly or not and alerts warehouse managers in time, so that they can prevent device downtime and hindrances in warehouse operations.
Seamless Data Flow
Ensuring seamless data flow between devices and software interfaces is an important part of a warehouse device management system. AMRs and AGVs employed across the warehouse for picking or packing tend to work independently without much human interaction. Data from these devices, as well as other hardware and software interfaces, gets captured in the system and can be accessed easily by your warehouse managers.
Built-In Logging and Observability
A complete device management system eliminates the need for accessing different third-party applications for handling and observing each hardware used inside your warehouse. A central platform with a built-in logging and observability feature makes it easier for warehouse managers or anyone else to keep an eye on every hardware or device and facilitate round-the-clock operational connectivity. This reduces the hassle of maintaining multiple applications and login credentials for the warehouse manager and improves warehouse productivity.
Why Hopstack could be the best device management software for your business?
Hopstack’s advanced digital warehouse management system encompasses everything from inventory management to device management on a single platform.
It can be easily integrated with any hardware present in your warehouse and doesn’t need you to build a custom code. Hopstack not only reduces device onboarding and decommissioning hassles, but also keeps your devices healthier and functional for a long time.
Here are the main features of our device management software.
As the number of devices inside your warehouse increases, the struggle to manage them all will increase too. If you want to know more about how a robust device management software like Hopstack can help your business.
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