Retailers, Distributors, small businesses are looking at building automation that allow for functions such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, heatmaps, and intelligent routing, etc. Looks like you’re playing catchup with them. Time to change?
The days of the foreman walking through a warehouse holding a clipboard and smoking cigarettes, shouting orders are gone. Let’s not start with you putting your hand up to say, “We don’t allow smoking at work anymore.”
This was the warehouse operator’s everyday scene at least a decade ago. For those who missed it, this was even considered romantic.
What’s wrong with this picture? It’s the almost-dirty word “manual” if you haven’t already guessed. It may not be four letters but it is a dreaded swear word in today’s warehouse and fulfilment world. Customers complain about missing items, clients go elsewhere, or worse, the swear word can be used to describe your facility.
Coming back to the (less romantic) reality of today, we are seeing many retailers and brands equipping themselves with artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the like. Science fiction? It’s a nightmare for anyone not moving in the same direction.
We are, my friends from the warehousing and fulfilment business, talking about automation – and we don’t mean the drinks vending machine.
Automating your business is a serious consideration. You should catch up fast, just like your customers, such as distributors, retailers, and brands, who are moving up in the technology chain.
First, let’s look at keeping your customers updated; in real-time, anytime. This means setting up what is called a customer portal. They will pay a lot to have your space, and they look forward to receiving the next shipment when they arrive. They need to know what inventory they have, and where it is stored. Organizations are constantly operating a business. So, knowing all this with accuracy and in real-time is crucial. With consumers trends changing in the blink of an eye – accuracy and speed is the most important thing.
Mobile barcode scanning
Using an electronic device that registers a whole range of data by merely scanning the SKU is infinitely useful. The data is instantly stored in the system unlike paper recording, which can lead to errors and loss of sheets of paper. Imagine being able to pull out data on demand or sharing it with customers instantly – the machine helps you do that.
How many times have you heard people say, “Have I billed company X or not?” Billing not made means not charging for services rendered. Time cost added to not receiving payment equals to losing money. When billing is automated, the machine never forgets and it even sends reminders if payments are not received.
Prepare for the flood of orders
Customers are quickly moving to multi-channel or omnichannel distribution. When business is good, a rise in order processing will have stretched your limited resources. Orders that rise by more than two hundred percent will cause chaos.
WMS will help you prepare for large volumes and inventory allocations. WMS will help you to smile from ear to ear as the money comes in, rather than trying desperately to keep up.
Like the Dutch building levees in anticipation of the big floods, you too should get digital help to prevent being drowned by the “big event”.
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