Published April 25, 2014
Picture this: the packing area of your warehouse is backed up. This is creating a backlog throughout your entire system. What are your options? How can you resolve this issue quickly?
That’s where Mobile Tompkins Control System (Mobile TCS) comes in. It puts everyone from distribution center (DC) managers to supply chain executives in the driver’s seat through a mobile platform available anywhere with Internet access.
When a warehouse is backlogged, mobile TCS allows management to increase staffing in packing operations and potentially reduce picking until the bottleneck is relieved. It can also change lane assignments or priorities on the sorter if one area is backed up.
“Mobile TCS saves time and helps DC managers increase system throughput to make service level commitments,” says Kelly Reed, EVP of Material Handling Integration at Tompkins International. “We find that users-from maintenance personnel to DC supervisors-access it as frequently as 8 to 10 times a day.”
How Is Mobile TCS Different?
While many facilities utilize a warehouse management system, its capabilities are often not enough. Facilities need flexible, economical warehouse control systems that monitor automated system status, look at important key performance indicators (KPIs), and manage operational performance.
Today’s users expect real-time control of the warehouse and full visibility of operations, from the status of equipment, to how labor is running in the facility. Not only is Mobile TCS reliable, but it is easily accessible.
Without mobile TCS, warehouse personnel would have to use an area controller to view a graphic and then take action to resolve any issues. Mobile TCS has the capability to view a graphic on a mobile device from anywhere on the network and take immediate action to resolve issues, such as reallocating labor or changing system priorities to improve material flow. Supervisors and managers can also view system reports to understand how various components of the system are performing and make adjustments to account for system imbalances.
A mobile warehouse control system allows users to monitor their operations from their mobile device, which improves reliability and flexibility, and is an overall faster way to get products to the customer.
Mobile TCS visualizes DC operations and provides critical event reporting through email and text alerts, keeping management up to date 24/7.
Some of its key features include:
- Receive summary operational status (e.g., orders shipped vs. plan, time to completion)
- Understand summary material handling equipment health in a graphical system overview
- Access detailed material handling status by area and component with ability to drill down and diagnose system faults
- Receive management reports
The Emergence of ‘Smart Watches’
Recent buzz has focused on the “smart watch” concept, which would replace the mobile warehouse control system application. While this potential product is receiving a lot of attention, it does not work from a usability level. Smart watches have small screens and low storage capacity, which would leave users with a device not strong enough to support the required capabilities of a warehouse control system. In addition, a smart watch does not have Internet access, so it would be required to ping data back to a mobile device.
In time, the smart watch and other wearable technologies may be suitable devices, but they are not realistic for today’s DC. Mobile TCS is the most economical and efficient way to get the right information to the right people so that the best decisions can be made right away.
The Smart Decision for Warehouses
The overarching goal of every warehouse is to meet customer expectations, but it needs the right applications to ensure that happens. In today’s competitive landscape, it has never been more critical to utilize an application like Mobile TCS that promises the most stability, reliability, scalability, and flexibility.
“Mobile TCS is the connecting puzzle piece between someone’s warehouse management system and the equipment on the floor,” says Reed. “It’s one of the most important features of a facility.”