How switching to tablets can revolutionise your despatch department

How mobile ERP software can help in your despatch department

The despatch department is where the collective fruits of your company’s labour are prepared for their journey to your customer. Yet, in a time where tablets are commonplace, many despatch staff are shackled to desktop ERP systems. Here, we discuss how the despatch workflow can be improved by switching from desktop to mobile devices.

Common problems in despatch

If your ERP system does not support mobile devices or, worse still, you have yet to make the leap to ERP, then there are a number of issues you are likely to face. There will be a lack of visibility of goods coming through to despatch. As a result, operations can be inefficient. For example, multiple deliveries may be made because staff were not aware that they would be ready at the same time. Not only does this use more resources, but it will cost the customer more (or you if the customer complains) and has a negative environmental impact too.

The process of physically despatching items may also be disjointed if no ERP is in place. Multiple systems might be in place, and staff may be required to manually write out labels or, at the very least, enter data in multiple systems. As a result, errors can creep in, which will affect reporting further down the line.

For those that do have a well-implemented ERP system, while you will likely have good visibility and control, being tethered to a desk can constrain workflow, as staff will have to travel back to a terminal and may even need to share it with others.

How tablets can help despatch workflow

The very nature of a despatch department means that there will be various items that need to be located, packed, perhaps combined, processed, and labelled. Therefore, placing that information directly in the hands of staff as they perform these functions connects them directly to the ERP from wherever they are.

Being able to identify what can be despatched is the first hurdle. 123Mobile provides a traffic light system, highlighting each line item on a sales order that can be fully issued, partially issued, or that cannot be issued. Once you’ve established which items need to be despatched, you can choose the amount to despatch for each line.

Next, you need to locate and pick the items. When you create a despatch note in 123Mobile, it presents you with a picking list. This can be sorted by various criteria, such as part number, batch, bin or location, guiding staff through the quickest path to retrieve all required items. All the details are in front of them, rather than them having to return back to a PC.

Once you have all items ready, all that remains is to enter your weights and sizes, courier details, and any additional text that you want to appear on the despatch note, and you’re done – the despatch note is completed and ready to be printed. 

This is a workflow that traditionally would require staff to flit back and forth between locations as they prepare orders. Now, they can process information on the move, and can be guided to the right bins. While this may not sound that significant, it actually changes the entire culture of the department – information is moving to the user at their location, rather than the reverse.

Why mobile is more cost-effective than desktop

In addition to the time and legwork that going mobile can deliver, there are several other tangible savings. 123Mobile licences are more cost-effective than their desktop counterparts, and tablets are considerably cheaper as well. In such a high-traffic area, any type of hardware is likely to be at risk of damage, so having a low-cost device that can also be slipped into a ruggedised case limits that risk. Running costs are lower too, as they will cost less to power and less from an IT support perspective.

Summary

In an area of your business where there is a constant flow of products and data, having an ERP system that controls it all is not enough alone. It needs to reach directly into the hands of staff, putting the information they need in front of them at exactly the point they need it. The fact that this can be done on lower-cost licencing and on cheaper hardware means that it’s an easy decision to make the switch.

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123Mobile extends the reach of your 123Insight implementation, by putting your ERP data right in the hands of your staff - wherever they are. Read more about 123Mobile, build an instant quote, and request your 1-1 online demo.