Case Study: Parcel Tools Cubetape deployment at Wayfair.com
Universal, mobile measuring for inbound products in Receiving
In 2015 Wayfair.com searched for a dimensioning system to capture the measurements of stock items and returns. Their requirements were:
- The dimensioning system must be able to measure very large items like sofas, tables and desks.
- The system must measure smaller, parcel-sized products.
- Because each Wayfair distribution center has 10 to 15 dock doors, the cost “per door” had to be justifiable.
- To reduce the high labor costs of “travel time”, the system should not require that staff members transport products more than a few feet to the closest dimensioning unit. An initial thought was to have two side-by-side dock doors share a single dimensioning unit.
After researching parcel and pallet dimensioning systems, Wayfair realized that only one dimensioning system met all their needs and it just happened to be the least costly by a wide margin. Wayfair chose Cubetape from Parcel Tools. Cubetape is the barcode scanner that measures. It a handheld, mobile, cordless barcode scanner that incorporates a novel, accurate and efficient measuring system called Barcodes on Tape (BoT). Roughly the size of a thick Smart Phone, Cubetape is mobile, easy to carry and is always handy for barcode scanning and measuring tasks.
All barcode scans and measurements made by Cubetape are automatically recorded without the time and errors of manual data entry. With Cubetape’s tape withdrawn inside its chassis, Cubetape operates just like any handheld barcode scanner. When the BoT measuring tape is extracted from Cubetape’s chassis and pulled from edge to edge of the product, Cubetape’s scanner instantly reads a barcode on the tape that corresponds to the correct measurement. The accurate measurement is sent automatically via Bluetooth to whatever host computing device with which Cubetape is paired with.
At Wayfair with Cubetape, products large and small are measured “where they are encountered”. Some are measured while still inside the inbound trailer and others are measured on the receiving dock just outside the trailer.
Wayfair teams Cubetape with mobile, consumer-grade, Android tablets. The tablets are connected to their wireless network and run a browser-based software application suite that works with their High Jump WMS.
All inbound dock personnel use Cubetape as their barcode scanner, even for tasks that do not involve measuring. Wayfair has found that the Cubetape’s aggressive Zebra scan engine is much faster and easier to use than the tablet’s own scanning capabilities.
When product measurements are required, the process at Wayfair is as follows:
- Cubetape scans the stock number barcode. The SKU is received instantly by the Android application and applied correctly regardless of the cursor position at the time of scan. The Android app then displays an image of the product and other known information about the SKU.
- The user extracts Cubetape’s measuring tape from one edge of the product to the other and then touches Cubetape’s SCAN button. Cubetape reads the corresponding barcode and sends the correct measurement to the application where it instantly appears in the Length field. Wayfair uses increments of 0.1” in North America and 1 mm in the rest of the world.
- The user measures the other two dimensions (width and height) and completes the process by accepting the entries. The application automatically re-sorts the three dimensions so that the longest is the length and then sends the SKU and the dimensions to the WMS system. T
- When the put-away staff arrives, the WMS has already applied the dimensions to “slot” the SKU into the appropriate storage location or direct it for cross-docking needs.
- The SKU dimensions are also used by Wayfair’s TMS to determine the lowest transportation costs and carrier for subsequent shipments of that SKU.
With total hardware costs of under $900 per user, including the tablet, Wayfair measures any of their products quickly, accurately, and immediately upon receipt with no costly travel time to and from a centralized dimensioning system. Wayfair currently has over 1,000 Cubetape units deployed across their system.
Cubetape is reliable and requires no periodic maintenance. In practical terms, Wayfair installs Cubetape as a barcode scanner but receives a dimensioning system for free.
Contact Parcel Tools USA for information about Cubetape and how it is deployed easily in both mobile and workstation applications. Cubetape may not be the answer for every dimensioning need, but it may be the only solution that most applications will ever need.