Voice over Wireless LAN in the warehouse

VARs and systems integrators should consider these selling points when presenting Voice over Wireless LANs to warehouse customers.

Warehouses involve a host of functions where VoWLAN systems can provide significant benefits. Clerks end up being scattered throughout the warehouse facility, which can be quite expansive, and communication with other clerks and managers is essential to perform various functions. In most cases, having the clerks and managers meet face-to-face to communicate is not practical. In fact, being able to even find each other is often not possible, due to the numerous rows of bins and products. For example, an order may come in for the shipment of a particular item to a customer. Rather than waiting for a clerk to return to the main office, having the shipping department call a clerk directly and have him pick the item is much faster and more productive.

As with retail environments, many warehouses already have existing wireless LANs. However, because these wireless networks primarily support relatively low-performance bar code solutions for implementing inventory management functions, the wireless LAN may not have enough capacity to support a large number of VoWLAN phones. A company must analyze the wireless LAN and ensure that adequate data rates, signal strength and roaming exist to support wireless voice applications.

Warehouse deploys VoWLAN phones to speed up operations

A relatively large warehouse was experiencing delays when processing orders. For example, when assembling an order for shipping, warehouse clerks would pick items from shelves based on lists prepared earlier in the day. Orders would often change, though, which would require the clerks to not pick certain items or pick others that were not on the list. To communicate this information, the warehouse manager would page the applicable clerk through an overhead loudspeaker system. The clerk would then walk all the way back to the manager's office to learn of the changes to a particular order. This process would incorporate delays, which significantly decreased the warehouse's productivity and order placement time.

The solution was to install a wireless LAN for supporting VoWLAN phones. As changes to orders take place now, the warehouse manager can call the clerk directly on the VoWLAN phone and explain the change to the order. This call avoids the need for the clerk to walk back to the manager's office, which speeds up the picking operation. In addition, the installation of the wireless LAN also makes setting up a wireless bar code system for performing inventory management functions possible. This solution will also save the company a tremendous amount of time and money when performing inventories.

Learn the role Voice over Wireless LAN can play in the following environments or download Chapter 1, VoWLAN applications and benefits from Deploying Voice over Wireless LANs by Jim Geier, and learn the history of Voice over Wireless LANs and how to calculate ROI.


Voice over Wireless LAN: Opportunities for VARs and systems integrators

  Introduction
  Healthcare
  Enterprise
  University
  Retail
  Warehouse
  Manufacturing
  Small office and home
  How to calculate ROI

This was last published in April 2007

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