What to Consider When Implementing Mobile Devices and Bar Coding for your ERP

You are implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or doing a major upgrade to your existing ERP. You want to get the maximum return on your investment. Are you up to speed on the potential benefits to your organization of implementing barcode technologies and mobile devices?

Industry-watcher Gartner says that your ERP and enterprise mobility strategies need to evolve together to give you maximum ROI. Popular ERP providers in Canada such as SAP, BAAN, Oracle, Syspro, Sage and Microsoft Dynamics have all embraced barcode and mobile technologies as a vital long-term component of ERP. Going forward, all these major ERPs are embedding a barcode and mobile component in their platform, so you should ensure that you understand how these technologies can benefit you. Here are a few points you should consider as you look at your own ERP implementation:

Workforce Productivity

One of the most obvious benefits to implementing devices such as barcode readers, mobile printers and handheld computers in your ERP is a gain in worker productivity. Deployed correctly, these technologies can reduce error rates on tasks such as inventory management, and they can free up your employees from data manipulation tasks that are better handled within your ERP. Barcode and mobile enabled dispatch and work tracking systems can also allow you to track how long your employees spend on tasks, and GPS and locator technologies let you track important assets and employee movements within your environment.

Real-Time Data Collection and Traceability

Handheld and fixed devices can quickly and easily locate and track assets, equipment and inventory with a simple pass of a scanner over a barcode or RFID tag,. This enable the enterprise to capture vital information (which is encoded in the barcode or RFID tag), track the asset’s location through GPS or wireless locating, and monitor the asset’s movements throughout your processes. This information is stored and accessed centrally in your ERP and is available to you in real-time, allowing you to access important information and the locations of your assets instantly. It also provides detailed information required for reporting or troubleshooting.

Improved Customer Service

We’ve all seen the videos of the Amazon warehouses, where robots put together and ship customer orders accurately and in minutes. Barcode technology and mobile devices integrated with your ERP allow you to track customer order information during all stages, from picking the order in your warehouse, to moving it, shipping, to tracking the order while it is being shipped, and to tracking customer acceptance at delivery. Customer service is also improved by productivity gains within your organization, such as reduced error rates and faster data rates.

Industrial Strength Wireless

To realize the benefits of barcode and mobile technologies in industrial environments, you may need to consider moving to wireless systems designed for these environments. Most commonly these WiFi networks are designed to provide uninterrupted connectivity while taking account of factors such as intermittent coverage due to changes in the environment, electronic interference and other interference like devices moving large distances inside and outside buildings (or between buildings), power outages and operation in a harsh environment. In many cases, hybrid wireless strategy is adopted to include cellular to enable teams working over wider geographic areas.

Integration with Existing Systems

One of the greatest challenges of integrating barcode and mobile technologies into an existing ERP is integrating devices, software and networks into your existing ERP system and your IT and mobile networks. You may also need to consider what platforms you are using for each network, especially if your mobile network includes smartphones, tablets or other smart devices or if you allow employees to connect their own mobile devices to your network. It pays dividends to engage a wireless integration specialist to ensure that the parts of your systems can communicate and hand off information to each other.

Mobility and ERP: A Clear Front-Line Advantage

A properly designed, integrated and implemented barcode and mobile device strategy can give your business a strong competitive edge by making it run faster and cheaper with less errors and improved factor productivity. The technology delivering these benefits will require smart analysis of your current situation and advanced knowledge of the technologies in the ERP and mobile marketplace.

Nova Communications has implemented many barcode and mobile computing solutions for Canadian public and private sector customers, and can bring you a wide range of design and implementation services to meet your specific ERP project. We also bring leading, market-proven devices and barcode technologies and products from industry leaders such as Cisco and Zebra Technologies.

Contact us today if you would like help to get the most out of your ERP investment.

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