How Arrow Electronics ‘Mobile’-ized its Workforce With Intuitive Warehouse Apps

Arrow Electronics

Arrow Electronics is one of the largest distributors of electronic components and computer products in the world, serving more than 125,000 manufacturers at 465 locations in more than 90 countries.

Despite being the world’s go-to source for advanced computing solutions and other technology, Arrow was saddled with a woefully outdated Warehouse Management System (WMS). The archaic WMS tethered Arrow’s operators and supervisors to their desks, making real-time data collection and analysis cumbersome.

In order to bring its systems up to speed with the pace of its business, Arrow knew it needed a modern solution to enable warehouse staff to make smart, data-driven decisions—and to address its global distribution channel today and years down the road. The company turned to speciality mobile solutions provider Shockoe to deliver a series of native mobile apps built with Axway Appcelerator’s Titanium SDK to make warehouse operations simpler and more efficient.

From Heavy Scanners to Handhelds

With Arrow’s WMS built in the 1990s, it was becoming increasingly difficult for warehouse employees to deliver fast, efficient orders for customers. Without a system upgrade, workers relied on a hefty RFID scanner to identify, categorize, ship and track inventory. Each of these old, 7-pound scanners had limited functionality, and marooned workers to their offices when managing work orders and processes.

Shockoe leveraged its supply chain expertise to develop innovative, native apps for Arrow that rapidly scaled with mobile-optimized APIs. In addition, Arrow introduced lightweight handheld scanners and tablets that warehouse staff use to access the apps.

Real Data, Real Quick

Shockoe’s series of user-friendly apps offered a robust, mobile solution that enabled greater agility and efficiency for warehouse employees. With the new mobile connectivity, Arrow’s operational teams are no longer chained to their desks and can utilize the new (more compact) scanners to get out of the office for data collection “on the go.”

In addition, the apps allow warehouse supervisors to access real-time information to create custom reports from anywhere, including shift schedules and customer orders and inquiries.

But those aren’t the only improvements Shockoe built into the apps. The company revolutionized Arrow’s corporate collaboration with Arrow Connect: a custom-built, mobile chat tool. Arrow Connect is a gamechanger for the company’s communications strategy since it enables easy, integrated instant messaging across Arrow’s worldwide distribution facilities within the WMS.

Next Up: Warehouse Wearables

The rollout of the new mobile-focused WMS initially took place across three key Arrow locations. But once company leaders saw the efficiency boosts and reduced costs, the company decided to deploy the series of apps across warehouses and regions. Worldwide deployment is still in the works, with Shockoe continuing to partner with Arrow on those efforts, as well as defining more ways that mobile app implementation can further improve business flow and efficiency.

Now that Arrow has transformed its warehouse operations with an intuitive new mobile app framework, the company has its eyes on implementing other new technologies, including wearables for workers.

Want to read more about Shockoe Enterprise Mobile Solutions’ portfolio of cross-platform apps? Check out their website here.