Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wireless Warehouse

How do you measure return on investment in technology? One of the crudest forms of measurement is reduction in payroll through implementing new technology; in other words, if we deploy this technology, who can we lay off? But even when we refuse to use crude measures, we often want to talk about traditional quantitative economic measures like productivity and ROI, normally by reviewing dollars saved.

Sometimes, even in traditional manufacturing sectors, we need to focus on the benefits of investment rather than financial ROI. The difficulty is in monetizing those benefits. How, for instance, do you monetize reducing keystrokes by the hundreds or thousands each day? How do you monetize reductions in the number of times a material handler or shipper has to walk to a computer workstation to enter transactions?

At Pano Cap, in the next couple months, we will be implementing a new module for our ERP system from IQMS called IQ Wireless Warehouse Management. We have done our site assessment for access points, analyzed upgrades required for our data network, reviewed implementation in the context of other affected or related information technologies, and we’re ready to go. Personally, I can articulate the investment benefits of deploying a wireless warehouse, but I cannot readily calculate the ROI.

  • Easy access to inventory data from handheld devices

  • Increased data accuracy by scanning barcodes

  • Lowering of data collection costs

  • May reduce returns

  • Should reduce costs for physical inventory and cycle counts

  • Easier implementation of serialized label printing

  • Improved production reporting

  • Verification of fixed asset inventory

By the end of March, we should be ready to go.