Every day, warehouses and supply chains experience technology issues that grind production to a halt and eal major blows to bottom lines. In such fast-pacedenvironments, where demands are constantly evolving andproductivity is everything, there is no room for downtimecaused by technical issues.
Since warehouses and supply chains are always pushingfor faster operations, there is a growing need for networksthat can keep up with current and future demands. Here arethree warehouse technology issues to examine as you seekto improve network performance:
1. Wireless Network: Look For Instabilities
The issues: Instability in the warehouse is the most common warehouse technology issue for the industry. Wireless instability can cause poor coverage throughout thewarehouse, often leading to network connection issues.A sure sign of instability is when handheld computersand devices are regularly disconnecting, which triggersincreased downtime.
There are several things that can cause wireless instability,such as connection dead zones, which are a critical indicator that your network was poorly planned from the start. Alack of standardized equipment or configuration are furthercontributors to network instability.
If the original technology provider was not well-versed inimplementing a wireless network specifically for warehouses or supply chains, they may not have been familiar withthe challenges of connectivity in these environments.
The solutions: A wireless site assessment of your facilityshould be performed by a qualified wireless network specialist. An assessment will pinpoint the cause of these issues, and a reputable networking provider can address thesewarehouse-specific issues and standardize your network.
The issues: IT infrastructure is comprised of the computers, servers, software, and devices that your team uses everyday, so without a functional infrastructure, operations cansuffer. A bad infrastructure means it can be more difficultto collect, process, store, and share mission-critical data.When overlooked, warehouses can experience slow network speeds, unreliable devices and software, poor computer and server performance, and security breaches.
If the infrastructure was poorly constructed or incorrect-
ly implemented, devices can potentially fail. Many times, the
reason for this is the result of trying to reduce costs, which
leads to operational deficiencies. When this happens, even
the most cutting-edge devices can be sluggish and finicky.
The solutions: To rectify the situation, a wireless site sur-
vey can help. A technology consulting expert will help you
identify ideal locations and the number of access points
required for adequate coverage.
It’s also critical to select the right IT platform and ar-
chitecture. A warehouse’s needs are more complex than
a traditional office network, so industrial-grade access
points are required to withstand the warehouse environ-
Even though we’re talking about a wireless network,you may also want to assess your WLAN and networkcabling infrastructure. A survey of these components canpoint you towards further IT infrastructure issues.
3. Tech Management: Support for
The issues: Once you have all the components of yourwireless network in place, you still need to manage it. Witheffective management and maintenance for your technology solutions, you can limit downtime and unexpectedmaintenance while monitoring wireless network activity.
The Solutions: Whenever your operation is live, you
should have a tech support team available—either in-
house or via on-call service. With a tech support team on
guard, you can ensure your system and staff are online and
running at full speed.
For security issues, it’s important to catch breaches early.
With the right technology management system and staff in
place, these can be identified early and resolved.
According to a Compuware study, 52% of respondersclassified supply chain operations as critically dependenton technology operating effectively. This means that anyissues with technology that reduce downtime can be detrimental to operations. It’s crucial to ensure that your warehouse has a management system in place to detect issuesbefore they arise, maintain tight security, and keep software up-to-date.
With the above checklist in hand, you now have a startingpoint for reassessing the quality and functionality of yourwireless system. At Peak-Ryzex, we deal with these reassessments all the time and know it all boils down to what theoriginal installer did or didn’t do to ensure long-term functionality. The key is to plan for future growth and have thecapacity for new demands to be made of the network.
Troubleshooting theLogistics of IT
Common warehouse tech issues and how to solve them.
By Edwin A. Ringle III, Sr. Solutions Consultant,Peak-Ryzex