insignia helped Aussie packaging supplier Signet reduce pick time and future-proof their national warehouse operations with Zebra’s wearable scanning solution.
Australian-owned and operated by the Winson Group, Signet is one of Australia’s leading distributors of warehouse consumables, packaging, safety and cleaning supplies with six distribution centres Australia-wide. Known for delivering customer excellence for more than 50 years, Signet dispatches over 6,000 carton picks for their customers every day.
With more than 5,500 products held in stock, Signet needed a way to standardise its day-to-day picking process, while solving the issue of Microsoft ‘end-of-life’ support for Windows embedded handheld devices.
Previously Signet’s warehouse operators used handheld mobile computers to pick and scan cartons. These devices relied on a Windows enterprise operating system that would no longer be supported after January 2020, exposing Signet to a potential data security risk. Also, Signet believed that a switch to wearable devices would reduce manual handling incidents and increase efficiencies.
‘End-of-life’ technology presents an industry-wide challenge, and Signet also had to factor in how changing an operating system would affect productivity, particularly as staff become familiar with new systems and processes. Equipped with the right solution, Signet could decrease pick times and increase volume, giving them a critical edge in a competitive industry.
Faced with the challenge of ‘end-of-life’ software, and as part of their drive to continually increase efficiency, Signet ran a time-in-motion study to determine the efficiencies to be gained by upgrading its technology. Based on the findings, Signet approached its sister company insignia, an Australian leader in labelling, identification and data capture solutions. After an initial consultation, insignia recommended Zebra’s Android-based industrial wearable computers: WT6000 and RS4000 to support the rollout. These devices mount on the wrist and finger, allowing workers to have both hands free during the picking process.
insignia was confident in calling on Zebra’s collaborative, customer-committed expertise to quickly scope, develop, test and roll out the new solution. “We have a very strong partnership with Zebra and rely on their technology to be best in class, so we can offer the right solutions for our customers,” said Matthew Mooyman, Product Manager at insignia.
The deployment was rolled out in early January 2019 across four Signet distribution centres with the remaining two up and running by October 2019.
Running on an Android operating system, the WT6000 computer is smaller and lighter than other wearables in the market. When worn with the small and lightweight RS4000 1D Bluetooth ring scanner, workers are free to keep their hands and eyes on the items they are handling.
The new wearable hands-free devices brought a 40% reduction in the picking times for the warehouse workers, which translated to an operations annual saving of $67,000.
“The use of wearable scanning and mobile computing technology has significantly improved our order pick time and picking accuracy. The Zebra wearable technology allows our team members to have both hands free whilst picking orders, reducing risk of manual handling incidents. On average, this has saved each operator around 8.3 hours a week and an operations annual saving of $67,000,” affirmed Allen Notley, Warehouse Manager (QLD) – Signet.
In addition to reducing the potential for physical strain, the solution was supported by Zebra All-Touch Terminal Emulation (TE), powered by Ivanti (formerly Wavelink). This provides an easy-to-use interface, that future-proofs Signet’s fleet changes without any changes to their back-end warehouse management systems.
“With Zebra’s Android-based industrial wearable computers, we have an exceptionally powerful and easy-to-use device. It has radically improved staff efficiency, allowing our teams to complete tasks on the floor at a much faster rate,” says Notley.
For more information on insignia’s wearable scanning solutions, visit www.insignia.com.au/scanning-and-mobility/wearables.