Zebra Technologies Savanna with Arm Mbed is transforming the supply chain using Internet of Things technologies
Zebra’s Savanna Enterprise Asset Intelligence Data Services Platform leverages the Arm Mbed IoT Device Platform to enable the digital supply chain and omni-channel fulfillment for Fortune 500 companies
Many industries are looking to leverage the IoT to improve their products and services, and supply chain logistics is no exception. Gartner estimates enterprises will allocate 20 percent of enterprise digital transformation costs to the supply chain and that “visibility or event management applications” are a top priority. In this business, it’s crucial that locating, packing and shipping inventory is done quickly and accurately, particularly in retail.
Order fulfillment processes in retail stores and warehouses are designed to meet a single objective: shipping large orders of identical items in volume, typically on pallets or in containers to a few destinations. But with the advent of e-commerce, these legacy systems are stretched too thin as they try to orchestrate omni-channel fulfillment, where far greater number of smaller orders of different items in small lots or packages are shipped to individual consumers. To help their customers transform and digitize their supply chain, Arm partner Zebra Technologies provides solutions that include ruggedized mobile devices, barcode printers and RFID readers. These devices are connected via Zebra’s Savanna Data Platform, which uses the Arm Mbed IoT Device Platform for device management.
Efficient warehouse management is critical for optimizing the supply chain.
Prior to e-commerce, warehouse and retail workers were given print outs of tasks assigned to them to fulfill during their shift. Fortune 500 companies have realized this system cannot scale in an omni-channel world. To make the process more efficient, warehouse employees now carry ruggedized Zebra mobile devices that let them pick, pack, scan and print new barcodes and ship to fulfill individual orders, while also enabling mangers to track a worker’s progress and location. No longer restricted to pulling just what was on their order lists at the start of their shifts, retail and warehouse workers can now have their tasks updated in real-time based on their location. For example, if an online order for a new sweater to ship overnight is received, an IoT-connected system could locate the worker closest to the sweater’s location and update their task list to make picking and shipping that sweater their next task.
To maintain an efficient warehouse order flow, it’s imperative that workers’ mobile devices perform flawlessly during their shifts. Time is money, and if a device’s battery expires or the portable printer runs out of ink or paper, the worker must stop their order fulfillment to get the device replenished so work can continue. To prevent this, Zebra’s Asset Visibility application allows store managers and support staff to monitor a mobile device’s power levels, supply and other functions that need to stay active to keep a worker productive, and replace faulty devices between shifts so workers arriving for the next shift have a device that’s ready to go. During busy days, when ruggedized mobile devices are often misplaced, Zebra’s Savanna platform enables the operations staff to find and retrieve them quickly.
With the improved operational visibility that comes from connecting their retail stores and warehouses using IoT techniques, Zebra customers are finding new and innovative ways to transform operations, learn more about their businesses and customers, and empower their workers to be more productive.
In the future, Zebra expects to be able to provide support for new data-centric IoT applications to help retail customers transform their supply chain, including two primary concerns for all brick-and-mortar retailers: shrink reduction and asset protection.
“The exciting thing about the IoT is that by connecting systems and gathering data, customers will develop new processes to improve their operational efficiencies in ways they haven’t even dreamed of yet,” said Michael Horne, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, IoT Services Group, Arm. “When those applications are discovered, our Mbed platform’s device management capabilities will make the installation of new applications on mobile devices a much faster and easier experience.”
For more information about the Arm Mbed IoT device platform and additional IoT use cases, explore www.mbed.com.