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UNICEF Uses Mobile Warehouses to Increase Aid Efforts, Keep Workers Safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Whitepaper: Connected Worker Strategies to Embrace Social Distancing in the COVID-19 Era - Challenges and Opportunities
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UNICEF (short for United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) has been on the forefront of many disasters and crises since its founding in 1946. It has aided countless children – and adults, too – over the years, often in dangerous conditions in remote, hard-to-reach areas. Now UNICEF faces a new foe, one that also threatens its workers: the coronavirus. 

Fortunately, UNICEF already has something that lets it continue its mission uninterrupted. With it, the organization can quickly set up and efficiently operate mobile, temporary warehouses. These so-called “pop up” warehouses help UNICEF better distribute needed aid in places lacking infrastructure or where it’s been destroyed. What’s more, this tool comes with an extra side benefit. It also helps UNICEF workers practice social distancing and avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus now sweeping the world. Any asset-intensive company or organization that operates warehouses of any kind or size as part of its business can also use this solution.

mInventory, from mobile-first connected workforce provider Innovapptive, uses the power of digital transformation to alter the way warehouses conduct their receiving, storage, picking and shipping procedures. mInventory replaces slow, error-prone paper-based processes with accurate, efficient digital ones. It also eliminates employees from having to touch paper forms, which could place workers at considerable risk of infection. 

Recent research in the American Journal of Nursing suggests that test organisms placed on paper survived on it for a considerable time. If someone were to later touch the contaminated paper containing the virus, it could be transferred to that person’s hands, raising the risks of spreading the coronavirus and contributing to the COVID-19 pandemic spread.  

UNICEF needed to improve its supply chain productivity and was interested in a mobile-first solution to:

  • operate in remote locations
  • process transactions in offline mode
  • access and update information with and without network availability
  • record transaction data in SAP
  • allow more informed decisions to improve operations

It came to Innovapptive looking for answers to the above challenges.

With mInventory (Watch Video), mobile devices replace risky, cumbersome paper forms. UNICEF warehouse workers can now more efficiently receive goods and materials into the temporary pop-up warehouse. They can scan barcodes or utilize optical character recognition (OCR) technology to process purchase orders and receipts, enter data into the system of record (such as SAP), and assign items to storage bins. mInventory also adds greater control during movements within a warehouse, such as putaway and transfers. Warehouse supervisors can track goods receipt and movements in real time. Should an error crop up, immediate action can be taken to correct the situation. Finally, with better tracking and access to information, picking and goods issue to the field is more accurate and faster. When someone in the field needs a item (for example, powdered milk), the UNICEF pop up warehouse can check its inventory, determine stock levels, retrieve items, pick them and issue them with greater speed and precision than before. For UNICEF, this means needed aid can be brought into the warehouse, processed and shipped quickly and efficiently, getting needed aid where it needs to go.

UNICEF achieved the following results by adopting mInventory for its pop-up warehouses:

  • 60% reduction in time spent on receiving and shipping
  • 70% elimination of manual and paper-based processes
  • 50% cut in warehouse cycle count times
  • 30% increase in planning efficiencies per warehouse operator 

Watch a video on UNICEF’s experience with mInventory here

The principle is the same for an industrial parts warehouse, a food and beverage distribution center, an electronics storeroom, an agricultural supply depot, etc. For each of these and more, mInventory:   

  • Provides efficiency and control to all inventory work including receiving, transfers, returns, data entry, and more
  • Enables users to receive goods and process a purchase order without paper
  • Lets clerks execute stock transfers from one storage bin to another within the same warehouse
  • Manages stock efficiently across all warehouses, tracks inventory across all locations and streamlines the movement of inventory between sites
  • Reduces data entry errors through barcode scanning or OCR and increases inventory accuracy and worker productivity
  • Saves time, effort and cost with a simplified inventory counts process 
  • Adjusts inventory quantities quickly to ensure inventory accuracy
  • Achieves seamless integration with any enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, enabling warehouse workers to perform transactions and directly enter them into the ERP
  • Offers an easy to use mobile user interface
  • Compatible with all operating systems and is compatible with all mobile devices

Warehouse accuracy and productivity are always important. However, thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, employee safety is more paramount than ever. mInventory’s mobile-first digital platform removes paper from the warehouse process. By employing smartphones, tablets, scanners, wearables and drones, workers never have to be exposed to paper that may have been touched and handled potentially dozens of times. They can also practice social distancing, performing key functions with a safe six-foot or more buffer between them and other staff. This ensures workers remain safe at work and helps stop the thread of the coronavirus. It also enables your warehouse to remain operational and productive at a time of potential worker shortages.

See an online demonstration of mInventory in action by clicking this link. This demonstration showcases mInventory’s features and illustrates its benefits. To learn more about how Innovapptive’s mInventory can help increase warehouse productivity and enhance employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, call 888-464-6668. Our experts are standing by to answer your questions, listen to your needs and to configure a solution to overcome your warehouse challenges.

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