Digitalize your warehouse operations and ride the tech revolution

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 time of the foreman walking around the warehouse with a clipboard in hand, cigarette in mouth shouting out orders are long 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.

Is there anything wrong with this image? 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.

We are seeing more retailers and brands investing in artificial intelligence (AI), robots, and other technologies. Science fiction? No, nightmare for those 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.

If you’re not automated, this is the time to consider it seriously. You should catch up fast, just like your customers, such as distributors, retailers, and brands, who are moving up in the technology chain.

Customer portal

Let’s start by looking at how to keep your customers informed in real-time and anytime. This is what’s known as a customer portal. They will pay a lot to have your space, and they look forward to receiving the next shipment when they arrive. As organizations running a living, breathing business, they need to know how much inventory they have and where it’s stored. 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

An electronic device can register a wide range of data simply by scanning the SKU. This is extremely 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.

Billing automation

How many times have you heard people say, “Have I billed company X or not?” Billing not made means not charging for services rendered. Paying in cash is more expensive than not getting paid. Automated billing ensures that the machine does not forget and sends reminders to you if payment is not received.

Prepare for the flood of orders

Your customers are swiftly moving into omnichannel or multi-channel distribution. If business is strong, an increase in order processing will strain your resources. All hell probably breaks loose when orders go up by two or three hundred percent.

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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