As the region’s largest independent electrical supply company and official distributor to the Boston Red Sox, Granite City Electric currently operates 27 warehouses across New England. While shipping and receiving thousands of electrical supplies each day, the distributor sought a solution to eliminate associates’ unnecessary footsteps—to and from a stationary printer or other departments—within their 90,000-square-foot warehouses.
Through an internal study, the electrical supply company discovered that workers walked an average of 3.5 miles a day, which is 910 miles, 293 hours or 7.3 weeks a year.
“We never realized how often we were asking our people to walk on a cement floor from one end of the building to the other for no billable reason,” says Steve Helle, president of Granite City Electric. “A customer doesn’t pay for us to walk back and forth to print labels. It’s extremely wasteful and unnecessary. The problem was we never had a portable power source.”
To improve efficiency, Granite City Electric recently deployed a wireless warehouse solution through the introduction of mobile-powered workstations with integrated lithium power. The shift to paperless processing reduced motion and cut down on steps, improving productivity considerably, as each worker has gained an extra 250+ hours a year to allocate to value-added tasks. The company now uses the workstations for receiving, picking, packing and cycle counting. Their mobility allows warehouse associates to move to wherever their work requires them to be.
The carts’ batteries provide more than enough power to operate for the entire shift, but they’re also hot swappable should the need arise for more power. With mobile-powered workstations, associates now have access to all the necessary equipment to do the job, including full access to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems through computers or laptops, RF scanners, printers, boxes, pens and pencils, waste baskets and more. The combination of mobile power with warehouse management systems (WMS), manufacturing execution systems (MES) or ERP software reduces the need for paper.
Mobile-powered workstations provide floor associates with the mobility they need to complete tasks efficiently. The workstations give staff members the information they need on computer screens and “on the go,” as opposed to paper, which slows everything down. By replacing paper and implementing mobile power, warehouses greatly reduce the amount of wasted motion that occurs on their floor. And, the elimination of waste positively impacts the bottom line.
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