Location Technologies for Food and Beverage and Cold Storage


Nearly every industry is looking for ways to streamline workflows, increase efficiency, and lower operating costs while delivering better customer service. That includes food and beverage manufacturing as well as cold storage operations, where location technologies are completely rewriting the rules of how well companies can perform and manage their critical goods, assets, and people.

A great example of this is Zebra’s MotionWorks solution. It’s a location-based software platform that helps automate workflows, track and locate business-critical assets, and provide remarkable visibility into plant and warehouse processes, so you can accelerate your business.

MotionWorks uses hardware to capture real-time, quantifiable data not only from Zebra’s many sensing, tagging, and mobility technologies but also from popular third-party solutions as well. It uses that data to track and locate assets, work in process, and even the movement of people, so you can better manage and control everything that’s happening in your operations.

By pinpointing asset location, status, and motion, you can achieve significant gains:

  • Increase visibility into your goods and operations
  • Minimize downtime and maximize performance
  • Streamline workflows for better efficiency
  • Ensure replenishment and expedite shipping

Also, monitoring your workforce empowers you to ensure safety and enhance compliance processes. When you’re able to do all of this tracking and collect all of this data with MotionWorks, you can also automate more processes and increase productivity.

Here’s how MotionWorks helps you achieve these gains and how the technologies behind it work.

Zebra’s MotionWorks platform collects the data, location path, and status of each asset, good, or person you need to track by using one or more types of location and data collection technologies. These include mobile devices you may be using throughout your operations, such as barcode scanners and mobile computers, as well as temperature and other types of sensors, ultra-wideband active radio frequency identification (RFID), active RFID, Bluetooth low energy beacons, passive RFID, and more.

MotionWorks then aggregates and stores the data so that it is accessible through web data services. It presents your data in easy-to-use dashboards, reports, and alerts for better decision-making and workflow optimization.

MotionWorks also uses advanced cloud-based analytics with combinations of both location and other data sources to augment any application. The application layer integrates or interfaces with multiple customer, third-party, or enterprise applications through open standard protocols and APIs.

By being able to track and locate assets, goods, and people, MotionWorks helps automate transactions for better efficiency and fewer errors, and it delivers unprecedented visibility into what’s happening across your business.

It’s particularly beneficial in plants and warehouses where MotionWorks data can be used to help automate and streamline orders, receiving and replenishment, work-in-process tracking, inventory management, cold storage and temperature monitoring, picking, packing, shipping, and more.

For example, you can use the data and insights from MotionWorks to make meaningful improvements:

  • Trace food and beverage ingredients, products, and assets from receiving and putaway through production and, ultimately, to picking, packing, and shipping.

  • Automatically monitor temperatures and cold storage environments and issue alerts when any potential issues arise.

  • Provide an auditable chain of custody and eliminate mis-shipments.

  • Track inventory and work-in-process to help automate and error-proof processes.

  • Automate processes and trigger alerts to ensure goods make it to the right place at the right time, without human errors.

  • Validate shipments and distribution against electronic manifests for greater accuracy.

  • Use data-driven insights to optimize processes and drive continuous improvement.

In future articles, we’ll talk more about the different technologies that are used with MotionWorks and explore the specifics of how it works on the plant floor and in the warehouse.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about MotionWorks, download our Food Industry Operations Guide Ebook to explore location and automation solutions for your food and beverage or cold storage operation.

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