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News | Oct. 26, 2018

Distribution tests out wireless technology

DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Warehouse modernization is necessary in the logistics business. In order for the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution network to keep up with the Amazon’s of the world and remain cost effective, modern technologies must be introduced into the mix. Two such items have recently been introduced into DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania’s Eastern Distribution Center: wireless tablets and printers.

Working with Distribution’s Future Operations directorate, Distribution’s Information Operations deployed wireless tablets and printers to test sites across the Distribution network. The purpose of the test was to identify, prioritize, procure and test technologies in warehouse operations, outside storage and remote locations.

Mobile technology can increase efficiency, improve accuracy and reduce the issue and resolution loop. The need for tablets in a warehouse environment is to ensure full functionality, durability and usage.

Susquehanna’s tablets and printers were initially placed in Safety, Quality Assurance, Stock Readiness and Denials. After two 10 week evaluations done in the areas of Re-Warehousing and Stock Readiness, the technology proved to be effective and efficient. 

During the initial assessment, efficiencies were noted and volunteers selected, trained and asked to submit survey forms on a weekly basis of the functionality and durability of the tablet and printer.

Once the assessment was completed, Distribution Headquarters conducted a return on investment.

Testers discovered a wealth of advantages to the tablets and printers during the testing period. The mobile printers were designed to allow process workers to print labels on location during the processing of materials. They found these technologies reduced travel time, improved end-to-end process time and enabled process completion in one location.

On the technical side, the compatibility between the tablets, printers and scanners as well as the sustainable battery life assisted with the processing time. Additionally, they found the tablets to be lightweight and durable, while the printers printed labels in record time.

Overall, the same results for percentage of improvements that were observed at DLA Distribution Susquehanna can be expected to be seen across the network.